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OPA Bylaws advises both action plus caution

(Jan. 9, 2020) While urging fast action to reform a neglected search committee to solicit OPA Board candidates for the 2020 election, the Ocean Pines Bylaws and Resolutions Committee also spoke out against the board immediately approving proposed revisions to the association’s architectural guidelines during its meeting on Friday.

Committee chairman Jim Trummel said while board elections won’t heat up until mid-way through the year, the practice has been to form an OPA Search Committee months before the contest takes place.

“Last year we didn’t have one [so] this year what’s going to happen?” he said. “The bylaws say the president has to form a search committee by Feb. 1.”

Committee member Keith Kaiser asked if the bylaw language was specific or provided that a search committee “may” be formed.

“Is the language mandatory?” he said.

Trummel said the terminology in bylaws section 5.02 says the committee “shall” be formed, which means it is required.

“Not later than Feb. 1, the president shall appoint a search committee of not less than five members,” he said.

Trummel said the search committee is charged with recruiting eligible association members to seek office to create a ballot that has at least two more candidates than open seats. The list of candidates must be submitted by May 15.

“Prior to the 2008 bylaws (revisions), there was a nominating committee that never really functioned,” he said. “Theoretically … that committee would literally nominate candidates to be on the board.”

In the years leading up to 2008, that nominating committee had stopped living up to its billing, with largely self-motivated candidates surfacing, Trummel said.

“It was changed to a search committee, and historically there was something of a problem getting people to serve,” he said.

Question have abounded regarding effectiveness.

“There have been concerns the search committee doesn’t do anything,” he said. “There are big questions about the effectiveness.”

Trummel said despite any potential contention, unless bylaw revisions are pursued, the course of action is clear that the committee be reconstituted for 2020.

“Let’s not get into February with no committee and start saying, ‘we can’t find anyone,’” he said. “Which was kind of the excuse last time and it wasn’t a very good excuse.”

Trummel suggested the matter be communicated to OPA President Doug Parks, with board liaison

Ocean Pines Bylaws and Resolutions Committee board liaison Camilla Rogers, clockwise from right, takes notes while chairman Jim Trummel reviews precise verbiage regarding association election requirements, with committee members Keith Kaiser and Audrey Wahl on hand to provide input9

volunteering to facilitate discussions, while also offering another avenue to generate interest.

“If we hold an informational meeting for potential candidates … and explain to them what the board does, how it functions, and what’s required,” she said. “The people that show up … are the people that are going to be interested.”

Trummel said the approach had proved of limited effectiveness in prior years.

“The search committee in the past has had meetings, open to anybody who wants to come and learn something about the board [and] I think two or three people at the most show up,” he said. “You’ll find very few candidates for the board actually come through the search committee.”

Kaiser noted as online postings of board meetings have become commonplace, the previous minimal attendance issue at comparable informational sessions could be rectified with on-demand access that could garner wider interest.

“I might be interested in that someday down the road, but I don’t understand all the ins and outs of it,” he said. “People who might otherwise be interested in it shy away because it’s a big unknown.”

Shifting to another matter, Trummel said he had concerns about pending revisions to the OPA Architectural Review Committee guidelines moving so quickly.

“The motion that’s before the board tomorrow is to accept the revisions to guidelines as they’re presented,” he said.

Trummel opined the revisions need additional review prior to passage.

“The ARC guidelines are the only other thing of the association of any interest to the membership [and] probably rank above the charter and the bylaws in most people’s minds,” he said.

Kaiser echoed those sentiments.

“I have a copy of the ARC guidelines on my desk,” he said. “If you want to make any changes to your property … you’ve got to know what’s in there.”

Having only learned details of the revisions a few days prior to the board meeting that Saturday also was problematic for Trummel.

“To have this come up on the board packet on Tuesday for consideration on Saturday, and if the board were to vote to approve … to me would be a major disservice to the membership,” he said.

Kaiser agreed that proper vetting appeared to be overlooked.

“Not enough notice has been given for comment,” he said.