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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Letters to the Editor

Pines planning lacking
The following letter was read during an Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors special meeting, on Monday.
OPA lacks a strategic planning component, and frankly multiple boards have focused too much on short-term political matters, and not on long-term policy guidance and direction, which is the job of the board. A year or so ago, I supported the development of a comprehensive plan with the understanding and hope that the plan would be married with the reserve study.
At that point, it would become a blueprint for the future, not set in stone, but at least a beginning. It is obvious today that once again the OPA board and at least one board committee has failed in the effort to develop a comprehensive plan or vision. Some of that can be attributed to ineptitude, some to an almost maniacal desire in this community to criticize every effort and micro-manage from afar, and finally some on the board failing to set deadlines and/or a lack of will to push through and make decisions.
Regardless, it is a failure and that failure lies with the board. I would recommend simply abolishing the comprehensive planning committee and stop wasting time. We are currently a dysfunctional, opinion driven organization, drifting without direction.
That said, at some point an OPA Board needs to get off the dime and focus on the future of this community. You asked the GM to provide a CIP and he did. Ask yourselves what have you done, what substantive action has taken place in the three months since he provided it? Nothing! You cannot abdicate your responsibility as a board by simply ignoring the hard part of the job.
Stop looking to see which way the wind is blowing; bending to the whim of those who yell the loudest; to those potentially running for reelection. Stop pandering to every interest group, and provide the fiduciary and mission driven leadership you were elected to give this community. In the absence of a strategic comprehensive plan, take the CIP recommendations of the GM and then actually act on those recommendations, either approving, disapproving or modifying them, assign a rough dollar value, insert those in the reserve study, and develop the funding plan, including reserve percentages and the capital component, moving forward. Stop pushing down the road decisions that need to be made and planning that must be completed.
Today, we get a draft reserve study that shows by any measure we are inadequate in our funding. It highlights a bigger problem, and that is we need to use reserves for what they are meant for, we need to look perhaps at borrowing as a method of funding large new projects, versus reserve funds for existing replacement and upgrade projects. I expect today a series of in-the-weeds questions regarding classification, rather than a substantive discussion centered on policy. I hope you surprise me!
To cut to the chase I recommend four steps today:
1. I trust you have already done this, but if not, direct the GM to provide a report and recommended percentage funding/threshold levels of each of the four sections of the reserve study, and a projected timeframe. My guess is Bob [Thompson] likely will have a funding stream already calculated that will justify OPA remaining below the minimum threshold percentage amount in one or more reserve funds.
2. Do your homework. Get online, look at similar associations, HOA trade groups, etc., and determine what best practice target percentages OPA should be aiming for in each of the reserve categories. Before I ever looked at the study, I did this to verify the parameters provided in the report.
3. Receive the GM’s recommendations and, coupled with your own independent research, commit that at the next regular meeting after the report is submitted the board will set policy for each of the reserves.
Once policy is enacted step four:
4. If you decide to continue with a comprehensive planning committee, give them until September 1, 2016 to present a plan to the board. If you eliminate the committee, or receive a report from comprehensive planning, pledge to take action [no later than] October 1, 2016 on the CIP or comprehensive plan. This allows the association to plug in long term expected depreciation, coupled with anticipated reserve needs, and allows the budget to be set based on policy, not fantasy.
On a different matter, yet much the same, get educated and prepared as a board. Do your own research homework, study issues, ask questions, but stop playing gotcha at every meeting. It does not equate to progress, and makes us look petty.
Last, whether it is board deportment, or board committee talk, everyone needs to remember that actions in open sessions travel far beyond meetings. It affects public opinion and, more importantly, it affects relations with elected officials. Our board, our committees need to influence, educate and cajole our elected officials. That doesn’t mean when we exhaust our options that we don’t go nuclear and public if we feel mistreated or underfunded, it simply means we must first work the system, control our emotions and lead by example.
Ted Moroney, Ocean Pines
Celebrate Volunteer Week, April 10-16
Volunteer Week is celebrated nationally from April 10-16. This is the ideal time for us to thank the 280 Coastal Hospice volunteers who open their hearts everyday to the patients and families we serve in Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties.
Our volunteers perform a myriad of indispensable tasks, whether they are visiting patients in their homes, or helping out in countless other ways.
Coastal Hospice’s patient care volunteers are generously welcomed into patients’ homes, and always strive to fulfill whatever request they receive from a patient or family member, no matter how big or small.
They take patients shopping, to the hairdresser, to the bank, or to go pet a horse. They walk dogs, read stories, make a cup of tea, look at family picture albums, reminisce, give caregivers a break, or simply hold a hand.
Other volunteers stuff envelopes, water plants, put equipment together, attend health fairs, or work in the Coastal Hospice Thrift Shop in Berlin. 
One dedicated volunteer gave us 635 hours of time in the last 12 months, a heroic accomplishment.
Our volunteers are a diverse group — young, and in their 90s, professionals and retirees, lifelong shore residents and snowbirds. But, they all have one goal in common: to help those who are going through a very special time of life.
We thank them for their dedication and service.
Judy Hunt-Harris
Manager of
Volunteer Services
Coastal Hospice & Palliative Care