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Lakernick denied committee post

Directors cut off discussion of why former candidate was rejected for 2nd time

By Greg Ellison

(March 31, 2022) Lingering political tension from the Ocean Pines Board of Directors 2021 election was on display at last week’s meeting, as the directors denied former candidate Stuart Lakernick a seat on a committee for the second time.

After recently being denied entry on the Strategic Planning Committee, two-time board candidate Lakernick hit the same resistance when applying for the [Elections] Search Committee.

Lakernick, who campaigned last year alongside Director Rick Farr, missed winning one of two open seats after losing by 60 votes to incumbent Frank Daly.

Election totals remained shrouded in mystery after then-candidate Farr was disqualified in late June, with a subsequent lawsuit in Worcester Circuit Court generating a mandated ballot count in October.

Ultimately, Farr finished first with 1,629 votes, followed by Daly with 1,571, Lakernick with 1,511 and David Hardy with 941.

Stuart Lakernick

During the last Wednesday’s meeting, a trio of applicants for the Search Committee were up for consideration.

While both Sherrie Clifford and Michelle Stewart were approved without contention, Lakernick was a different story.

After noting Search Committee Chair Tom Piatti supported Lakernick joining due to his outgoing nature, association President Collette Horn voiced a different opinion.

“I did not endorse this applicant as having the skills and attitudes that inspire confidence in the quality of advice to be given,” she said.

Horn said the lack of approval was not tied to “political statements or statements made in public.”

“It has to do with failure to follow the constraints on candidates when Mr. Lakernick was running for the board,” she said.

Director Doug Parks, however, questioned Horn’s assertion.

“So, in this case you did have a set of criteria you used in order to determine this individual did not have the skills and attitude?” he asked.

Without permitting a response, Director Larry Perrone cited procedure to cut off discussion.

“Are you putting forth a motion?” he asked Parks. “Then there’s no discussion needed.”

Parks rejected Perrone’s argument and reiterated his curiosity over Horn’s decision.

“When a topic comes up for discussion, whether it’s a motion or not, it can be discussed between the members of the board,” he said.

Pressed for a response, Horn said Lakernick was cited for breaking rules prohibiting the distribution of candidate materials on association property during the previous election.

Parks declined to press further.

“I don’t know that that’s factual, but I’ll take your word,” he said.

Perrone backed up Horn’s assertion.

“It was reported to the Elections Committee,” he said.

Attending the meeting remotely, Farr attempted to speak but was not acknowledged by the chair.

“May I make comment?” he asked.

After a brief period of silence, Horn cut off the conversation.

“That subject is closed, and we’ve moved onto the next applicant,” she said.