By Greg Ellison
(Oct. 24, 2019) Ocean Pines residents at home and traveling can pose questions to the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors during a town hall meeting Saturday in the Assateague Room of the community center on 235 Ocean Parkway.
Communications Committee Chairwoman Jennifer Cropper Rines, who returns to oversee the proceedings after hosting the past two town hall affairs, said questions were solicited via email until Wednesday evening, three days before the Oct. 26 meeting.
“This time, so far, I haven’t gotten a lot of questions,” she said. “Last time I had lots emailed in.”
Speaking on Monday, Rines said regardless of early inquiries, the community meeting, which will begin at 10 a.m., promises to provide an array of questions, as well as project updates and discussion points from the board.
“They’ve been informal,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to have candid conversations and get questions answered.”
The format includes a round-robin question-and-answer session.
“You get to ask a question and pass the mic,” she said. “We try to keep a handle on timing so that everyone has a chance to ask their questions.”
With a rough window of 3-5 minutes per question from the audience, the intent is not to limit individual expression, but to ensure equal treatment.
“We try not to let it go beyond the point where it isn’t fair to other people,” she said.
The town hall meetings we launched in the spring as a joint venture between the communications committee and the board.
“The first one was last April after [The] Matt Ortt [Companies] signed on,” she said. “They came and gave a presentation.”
Subsequent town hall gatherings were held, with participation at its best on Saturday mornings, Rines said.
After fellow committee member Elaine Brady [Bayside Gazette publisher] emceed the affair last April, Rines has taken the reins for a third occasion.
“I kind of have a better idea what to expect,” she said. “It’s not a scripted thing [and] you figure out in the first few minutes what the hot buttons are.”