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OP Board mulls social media policy, potential ethics rules

By Greg Ellison

(March 31, 2022) The consideration of a possible social media policy for the Ocean Pines Board of Directors ballooned into a discussion about ethics codes during the board meeting last Wednesday.

Director Doug Parks said in light of the multiple Pines-based social media platforms available, an official policy should be developed to ensure that communications from board members are consistent.

Parks said the goal would be avoiding confusion regarding the official association position on issues.

“This is different than posting information for events,” he said.

The intent is not to dismiss outside sources, but to clarify OPA positions.

Association President Colette Horn asked if there was “an appetite” for creating the proposed policy due to previous board arrangements.

“We did make a consensus agreement that our personal postings on non-OPA websites would be factual information sharing,” she said.

Also offering resistance was Director Larry Perrone, who saw no merit in creating a policy.

“The board has agreed official statements would come out through the president,” he said.

Perrone said the board lacks the ability to control perceptions drawn from unofficial channels.

“I’m loath to start making procedures because a couple people are confused,” he said.

Parks doubled down, contending that an official social media policy could prove useful for future boards, even if the current body believes it’s not important.

“At least have it documented,” he said. “Call it guidance.”

Director Amy Peck suggested the policy could be incorporated under a larger umbrella.

“Time would be better served by developing a code for rules of conduct and a code of ethics,” she said.

Parks recalled that the directors voted last summer to rescind resolution B-08 that covered board member and officer ethics and conduct.

Originally approved in 2018, resolution B-08 was proposed by Horn and approved by a 5-1 vote with then-Director Slobodan Trendic opposed.

Last May, Director Frank Daly introduced a motion to rescind the resolution, which was passed on second reading by the board on June 16.

At the time, Daly characterized B-08 as the “poster child of unintended consequences.”

Perrone recommended avoiding prior mistakes.

“We’ve been down this road with the code of ethics,” he said. “B-08, while the intention was good, was a disaster.”

Perrone said one key problem was that B-08 lacked sufficient enforcement mechanisms.

“I think this is just creating problems where they don’t exist at this point,” he said.

Horn said Daly had previously recommended consulting with legal counsel to develop a revised version of B-08.

“I would like to consult with [Association Attorney] Jeremy Tucker,” she said. “The problem with B-08 was enforcement [because] no due process was clearly articulated.”

Horn said the issue would be revived in a future board meeting after conferring with Tucker.