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OPA board finds petitions invalid

Effort to force referendums falls short in voter totals and guidelines in bylaws

By Greg Ellison (Aug. 22, 2019)

The pair of petitions submitted by former board member Slobodan Trendic calling for referendums on $3 million in capital improvements at the Ocean Pines Golf Course have failed, the Ocean Pines Association announced Wednesday morning.
One petition did not meet the signature requirements, and both failed to comply with petition guidelines in Ocean Pines Bylaws, the association statement said.
The petition regarding the overhaul of the Golf Clubhouse missed the 10 percent threshold required to force a referendum. It bore the signatures of 743 eligible voters, or 9.69 percent of the total votes that can be cast.
The second petition failed to meet bylaws standards, according to the association’s legal advisers, by, in effect, calling for a referendum on whether to have another referendum on amending the bylaws to limit spending.
The aim of that signature drive was to set the stage for a bylaws amendment that would have required a referendum any time the board of directors proposed spending more than $1 million.
The problem, however, was that petition essentially did no more than guage public interest in pursuing that course and did not seek a specific action.
Trendic turned in both petitions during the OPA homeowners

Former Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors Slobodan Trendic turned in a pair of petition drives during the OPA homeowners annual meeting on Aug. 10.

annual meeting on Aug. 10, with one containing 880 signatures and the other 810.
After resigning from his board position in April over a disagreement with the decision to move forward on the capital expenditures without gauging community support, Trendic formed an advocacy group, START, which stands for strategic planning, transparency, accountability, respect and trust.
After the petition drive was started in April, the 10 percent total of association membership was estimated at roughly 845 individuals.
Since submitting the petition paperwork, Trendic said people have asked if he should have acquired additional support first.
“I wanted to submit both petitions with the number of signatures I had without making my own decision whether I had enough or not, because I wanted full transparency,” he said. “I wanted the community to know how this effort turned out.Trendic said vaguely worded language in the bylaws leave to question what constitutes the 10 percent of maximum voters required to trigger a referendum vote.
“This is again where we have an example where the bylaws need to be updated and language needs to be improved,” he said. “You have an area in the bylaws that does not provide for a clear definition of what we mean when we say maximum number of votes that can be cast.”
The full attorney opinion is available for review. Copies may be obtained by written request or in person at the Administration Building beginning Aug. 22.