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Gazette Editorial: OPA ‘transition team’ a source of confusion

By establishing a transition team to help replace departed General Manager John Bailey with a different management approach, the Ocean Pines Board of Directors risks confusing what should be a straightforward matter.

Understandably, the board and Bailey parted company this week in the waning days of a budget struggle that frequently veered into left field without notice or a reasonable explanation.

Wisely, the directors decided Tuesday to take their top two administrators and push on with what they hope will be a more efficient management arrangement. In effect, the board has divided top tier supervisory responsibilities between a chief finance officer, a job to be assumed by Finance Director Steve Phillips, and a chief operations officer, which will be handled by Director of Aquatics and Recreation Colby Phillips.

That makes sense, as the directors’ first priority is finishing the budget, which should be easier with finance officer Phillips translating the board’s goals into workable numbers.

In the meantime, work goes on in Ocean Pines’ other departments and someone will have to direct and coordinate it. Aquatics Director Phillips, who has proven herself repeatedly, is the obvious choice for that job, which will be made less complicated by separating it from the distractions of budgeting.

In this respect, the board has set itself up as the association CEO, which is fine, as long as the directors limit their involvement to setting a course for the managers to follow, and don’t view this transition as an opportunity to insert themselves in departmental affairs.

That’s where the risk is, according to the new organizational chart, which lists the board as the “transition team,” with each director assigned responsibility for specific departments.

Hopefully, these assignments will entail providing the new managers with advice and board-approved guidance, and will not include “helping” to run departments themselves.

If this approach is going to work, the board needs to eliminate the possibility of confusion by keeping things simple and assuring employees that they will have one of two bosses, and not nine.