By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(Aug. 23, 2018) Wrapping up about 90 minutes of presentations during the Aug. 11 Ocean Pines annual meeting in the community center were overviews of the previous fiscal year from Association President Doug Parks and General Manager John Bailey.
Parks, in his opening remarks, said the board this year “had the courage and commitment” to outsource food and beverage operations at the yacht and beach clubs to the Matt Ortt Companies.
“We knew, based on the past several years, that we didn’t have the core competency to run a restaurant business. And there’s no shame in that,” Parks said. “When I ran for the board, I made that statement. Fortunately, I had the support of the rest of the board this year … to have that courage to move forward.
“I think everyone would reasonably agree that things are much better than they were last year,” he added, drawing applause from the audience of about 100 homeowners. “Clap for yourselves because we, collectively, wanted something to happen good at the yacht club … now we are all going there again and that’s a testament to the belief that we had, that the yacht club is a wonderful amenity.”
Parks said the spirit of volunteerism was alive and well in Ocean Pines and, as an example, thanked board members, volunteers on advisory committees, and those who recently ran for the board.
He singled out and thanked former directors Pat Supik, Cheryl Jacobs and Tom Herrick for their service.
Serving as a director, Parks said, was “a challenging opportunity. By all means, just a willingness to help the community should be noted,” he said.
Bailey, during his remarks, said new hires in Ocean Pines had been given a “clear palette”
“Create what we need to function the best that we should [and with] nothing beholden to the past on how we used to do things, create new,” he said.
He said job descriptions, benefits, and employee handbooks had each been overhauled.
Bailey said the process for upgrading financial software continues, although he added it had become evident “there is no silver bullet software for what we do as Ocean Pines Association – it doesn’t exist.”
He provided an overview of remodeling and operational changes to the yacht club and beach clubs, and said the golf course is now in good shape. He added that the remodeling of the country club would benefit the entire association.
“It’s not just a facility that’s available for use for golfers,” he said. “The upstairs is a facility that is designed to have a large banquet [and] a couple of conference rooms,” as well as an “event-driven bar” and outside deck.
“It’s more of a community use with those larger spaces upstairs,” Bailey added. He said the new board of directors would have the final say on those renovations.
Bailey joked the first violation at the newly minted quiet “Oasis” pool was not because of a child, but rather “a 40-year-old man doing a cannonball.”
He also touted activities at Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks.
“We are the ‘it’ in the HOA world with regard to activities, camps, special events, holidays [and] how we communicate those things.” Bailey said. “An example of that being this past week [when] we had our first National Night Out. I can say that I’ve been to a lot of those over the years – and it certainly did not look like that was our first one.”
Bailey said the association is considering options for the crabbing pier, including “making that a nature preserve area and looking at other locations for a possible crabbing pier.”
There was “significant legal wrangling” regarding bulkhead contracts, but a request for proposals would soon be released to resume the normal replacement program, Bailey said, adding there was also consideration to no longer using the swim and racquet club as a staging ground.
Additionally, he said a working group is looking into ways to deal with drainage problems in the community.
He said a communitysurvey, developed by the comprehensive planning community, had been released online that morning. Bailey said hard copies would be mailed the following week and also were available at several Ocean Pines locations. The survey is due back Sept. 7.
Lastly, Bailey called for increased engagement by association members. Transparency, he said, requires involvement.
“The board, myself and staff – we can be as transparent as we possibly can, but you’ve gotta be wanting to get answers too,” Bailey said. “That works both ways.”
Summaries of several presentations given during the meeting can be viewed online at http://oceanpines.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/2018-Annual-Meeting-Presentation.pdf.