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Letters to the Editor

High expectations for Pines Board
With the recent resignation of Brett Hill and the appointment of Ted Moroney as his replacement, the lot owners of Ocean Pines can, and should, look forward to a year of progress under a new board majority and leadership.
From a personal standpoint, I would like to thank Doug Parks and his fellow board members for considering me as a potential replacement. I would also like to congratulate Ted on his appointment, which I support 100 percent.
As a lot owner, my expectations for the new board are high. I expect them to provide the strategic leadership and oversight that the past board leadership totally abdicated. My expectation is that the new board will work diligently with Mr. Bailey to provide transparent, efficient, and trustworthy governance to our Association.
And, as a lot owner, I expect the Board, working with the new General Manager, to address three very specific and pressing issues that currently cloud our community. Those issues are:
1. Conduct an immediate forensic audit of our HOA operations
2. Develop a plan to address the operating fund YTD negative variance to budget of $745,911
3. Develop a viable strategy for the entire OP Food and Beverage Operations
Over the past year, the prior Board leadership and majority collectively turned blind eyes and deaf ears to calls for a forensic audit by Director Slobodan Trendic.
Red flags were present – unexplained losses, senior employee turnover, “bad optics,” questionable contracts and transactions that, at best, reflected questionable judgement. Yet the Board Leadership, in a clear failure and abdication of their responsibility to provide effective oversight to the Acting General Manager, led the effort to vote down the request.
I expect the new Board Leadership and majority to revisit and approve Director Trendic’s call for a forensic audit. Three law-enforcement agencies showing up at your workplace to investigate theft should be a real attention grabber to the Board and eliminate any doubt as to the validity of this request. That, coupled with an obvious need to regain the trust and confidence of our 8400-plus lot owners and to give Mr. Bailey a clean slate to work with, demands a unanimous vote.
The operating fund YTD negative variance to budget of $745,911 should also be a major focus for the new Board Leadership and majority. Some in the community have already sensed, and heard, the typical old refrain – bad things happen to good people, but these bad things can be covered by an assessment increase.
As a lot owner, I expect the Board to take a different approach.
I expect the Board to step up to their responsibility and provide budget guidance that calls for a reduction in 2017/2018 expenditures to mitigate any potential assessment increase from the disastrous operating decisions made by Mr. Bailey’s predecessor.  
In other words, I expect the Board to instruct the GM and his staff to conduct a line-by-line budget review with a targeted reduction in actual expenses for the upcoming fiscal year.
Tough stuff. But somebody has to pay for the ineffectiveness of the past leadership and that responsibility should not fall 100 percent on the shoulders of the lot owners.
I believe that the new board, working with Mr. Bailey and his staff, can find ways to cover any potential assessment increase resulting from the operating fund negative variance. This is not the easy way out; that would be raising the assessment.
The third area that requires immediate attention and action is the Food and Beverage Operations. The OP track record with these operations is dismal at best – big year-after-year losses, coupled with mediocre quality and service. I expect this Board, working with the input of the GM, to develop a viable strategy for the entire F&B operation that makes sense, is measurable in quantitative terms, and takes into account all possible options including leasing the entire F&B Operation.
Ocean Pines continues to be a great place to live. As a lot owner, I expect the current Board and GM to put the 2016/17 abysmal year behind us and to move forward with positive proactive steps to benefit all lot owners and residents.
Frank Daly
Ocean Pines