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Ocean Pines Board tables GM executive search motion

Ocean Pines directors Slobodan Trendic, left, Frank Daly, Esther Diller and Association President Doug Parks last Saturday consider a motion for an executive search for a new general manager. The directors ultimately decided to table the motion.

By Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(April 11, 2019) While Ocean Pines Board members agreed last month to explore outsourcing management, the same panel on Saturday tabled a motion to seek an executive search firm to identify individual general manager candidates.

John Bailey departed as the association’s general manager in February and, last month, John Viola was appointed to become the fourth person to fill that role in four years.

However, as Viola is assumed to only be temporarily filling the vacancy, board members have openly debated whether they should fill the position, outsource it entirely, or seek a hybrid approach.

Each board member, on Saturday, seemed to have a different opinion on the subject.

Esther Diller said she did not favor hiring an executive search firm, joking they probably still had a file cabinet full of applications from the last round of searches.

Association Vice President Steve Tuttle added the fact that Ocean Pines needed a general manager was “already on the street,” and they’d just received a resume from someone in Pennsylvania.

Jeff Knepper also did not support the motion, saying if Ocean Pines did go in that direction there should be an opt-out clause in case the position was filled internally.

Slobodan Trendic said two senior staffers, Colby Phillips and Steve Phillips, have excelled since their roles were elevated after Bailey left, and the board needed more time to evaluate that. He called for a new, hybrid approach to management and said now could be the perfect time, with Phillips and Phillips onboard.

Colette Horn, who introduced the motion, said in the past the association sought candidates with homeowner’s association experience. Instead, she suggested, they should look for someone with a municipal background.

Horn said her main concern was the amount of time a search could take, adding that the association was capable of doing an outsourcing and outright replacement general manager search at the same time.

“The last time we had a temporary GM in place … it went on for a very long period of time and I don’t think anybody wants that to happen [again],” she said.

Diller suggested tabling the motion for one month to review any resumes the association already has.

Horn agreed.

“One of my motives here was to get this discussion going. And clearly I did that so, mission accomplished,” she said.

“I agree with tabling the motion with the proviso that we are going to be looking at these resumes [and] we are going to be actively pursuing a parallel process that gives us all options,” Horn added.

A vote to table the motion was unanimous. Association President Doug Parks said the matter would be on the “unfinished business” portion of the next regular board meeting.