(Dec. 26, 2019) Of seven candidates vying for a trio of open seats during the Ocean Pine Association Board of Directors 2019 election, the top vote totals were compiled by Tom Janasek, Larry Perrone and Camilla Rogers, who joined the board in August.
Garnering the top total to serve a three-year term was Janasek at 2,160, closely trailed by Perrone at 2,131, while Rogers earned the third board opening with 1,753 votes. Falling short of the mark were candidates Paula Gray (1,407), Greg Turner (478), Shawn Kotwica (235) and Edward Solum (191).
The results of the 2019 election followed a number of board resignations earlier in the year.
The changeover started in late March when director Ted Moroney resigned his seat on the board. Moroney had been appointed to his position in September 2017 in the aftermath of Director Brett Hill resigning. He was elected to a one-year term in August 2018.
Moroney cited family matters as his reason for stepping down.
“I have watched board members serve out a term and basically go through the motions,” he said. “That is not my style nor in my mind acceptable. Therefore, I am submitting my resignation effective immediately.”
In short order. former board member Jeff Knepper was tapped to fill the vacancy left by Moroney, receiving a 6-0 vote in early April to assume the vacancy.
Knepper had filled in before, having been named the replacement for Dan Stachurski following his resignation in 2014.
Knepper also had served on the both the budget and finance, as well as the bylaws and resolutions advisory committees.
“I enjoy the meetings,” he said. “I understand a lot of it … [and] I have a pretty good working knowledge of the bylaws.”
Existing chips continued to fall when director Slobodan Trendic resigned effective April 10, after months of contentious budget discussions about capital expenditures, which he argued should be decided by association via referendum.
Elected in 2016, Trendic was finishing the last year of a three-year term that was set to expire in August.
Again dipping back into its pool of community resources, the board in May nominated Tom Piatti to fill the vacancy left by Trendic.
Piatti has resided, at least part time, in Ocean Pines since 2002 and previously served on a HOA board in the Parke neighborhood, as well as being a member of the OPA Search Committee in 2017-18.
While introducing Piatti as the most recent unanticipated board addition, OPA Vice President Steve Tuttle noted his wealth of community and professional qualifications.
“Mr. Piatti has significant experience with The Parke HOA, and will benefit this board as it moves forward,” Tuttle said. “He also brings specific expertise in the areas of new capital enforcement, preparation and restrictions.”
With the last day to file for candidacy scheduled for May 10, the contender picture started to come into focus, with Paula Gray tossing her hat in the ring by early that month.
In the 2018 board election, Gray fell two-dozen votes shy of topping
for an open seat by a tally of 1,526 to 1,549.
As the remaining candidates announced their intentions leading up to the filing deadline, Diller resigned from her board seat. Elected for a one-year term in 2018, Diller said health issues were behind the decision.
“I would like to take this time to say I think our board did a lot of great things,” Diller said in a press release. “The right decisions are usually the hardest and after several years of ‘kicking it down the road,’ this board made those difficult decisions.”
The candidates gathered for a pair of election forums in June to discuss their campaign positions. Ballots were mailed in early July ahead of an Aug. 7 deadline.
Ballot counts were completed two days later, with results announced during the annual homeowners meeting on Aug. 10.
While originally slated to be confirmed during the homeowners meeting, finalizing the results was delayed as the gathering failed to garner the required quorum of 100 lot owners, with the technicality completed during a specially convened meeting the following Wednesday.
In late August, newly elected board members Janasek, Perrone and Rogers were vetted on homeowner association guidelines and OPA-specific governing documents during an hours-long informational session.
After spending his entire adult life living in Ocean Pines since moving to the area in 1984, Janasek immersed himself in advisory committee work following an unsuccessful board bid in 2016.
“I realized I didn’t know enough about the ins of the board and the mini government that we have within the Pines,” Janasek said. “So, I have involved myself in a lot more of the politics and a lot more stuff going on behind the scenes.”
During that time, Janasek took part in reinvigorating the golf committee and later served on the natural assets committee, eventually rising to chairman.
“What I realize is that you need to know somebody on the board of Ocean Pines in order to get stuff done,” Janasek said. “I want to get back on it and help people get stuff done.”
Although elected for his first board term, Perrone is no stranger to Ocean Pines or the association inner workings.
Besides spending more than half his life in the area after relocating to the pines 36 years ago, in recent years Perrone has served on the OPA Budget and Finance Committee, including a stint as chairman.
During his campaign, Perrone highlighted financial expertise he had gained, while also espousing support for several proposed capital projects and noting the importance of providing quality amenities to bolster profit and loss statements.
“If you’re going to run for the board, you need to understand the finances here, because this is a $14 million operation on a yearly basis,” Perrone said. “You need to understand where the money goes and how it’s being spent.”
While still a relatively fresh face after moving to Ocean Pines in 2018, Rogers brought a solid resume to the race.
After charting a professional path as a registered nurse, and later earning a masters from the University of Maryland followed by a Nurse Practitioner’s certification, upon reaching the half century mark Rogers shifted gears and entered law school.
Rogers campaigned on the importance of transparency for board and association leadership.
“This community has a lot going for it and I think it’s very important for the board to maintain a transparent relationship with the people that are here,” Rogers said. “This is their forever homes, and … if we had more forums [where] we had some involvement, it … would help people understand what the board is trying to achieve.”