By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(Aug. 2, 2018) Although considered by some to be watered down from its original version, a new ethics policy, also known as Resolution B-08, earned the approval of the Ocean Pines Directors last Friday in a 5-1 vote.
According to the meeting packet, the resolution “provides guidance to the board of directors on expectations for conduct and ethics in order to support the positive functioning of the board. In addition it provides guidelines for use in addressing potential requests for consideration of removal of an Officer or Director for cause.”
The board created an ethics work group last year to develop the policy.
Director Colette Horn, who sponsored the formal motion to approve B-08, wrote revisions made since a first reading in May were based on legal advice and input from the bylaws and resolutions committee, and association members.
“The original intent was for an ethics committee to be formed to take responsibility for screening and making recommendations regarding complaints,” Horn wrote in the motion. “However, based on input from the community and the board, this provision was removed and authority remains solely with the board of directors to address issues of conduct and ethics.”
Director Slobodan Trendic, who voted against the motion, said during the meeting about 80 percent of the policy was already established in existing association documents.
Trendic said he would prefer to delay the matter until after the election.
“I’m all in favor of holding the board and the officers to the highest standard possible,” he said, adding he had proposed instead a one-page document, similar to one used by the Community Association Institute, to be signed by each Ocean Pines Director and employee.
“I will vote against it, not because I’m not in favor of holding directors accountable ethically, but because I believe it’s something that should be delayed until next month with the new board and we really need to do a better job enforcing the rules that already are in place, instead of creating new [ones],” he said.
As departing board member, Association Vice President Cheryl Jacobs said she was “a little disturbed that everything has to be put off for the next board.”
“I’m still here. I’m still willing to conduct business and vote, and would like to,” she said. “Unfortunately, the guts of what was the appropriate part of this resolution was removed. I’m not happy at all about that, because I think it was an important element.
“However, I will be voting in favor of it because apparently we can only take baby steps,” she continued. “Perhaps different minds will see fit to put back into it [what was removed] … even in its current state, as a first step, I think it’s something that we should do.”
Director Ted Moroney agreed the resolution “has been stripped down tremendously.”
What it did add, he said, were remedies “short of removal off the board.”
“This allows, if there are actions taken by board members or officers, to be able to incrementally step and correct issues before they become too big rather than, hey, we’re going to dump this person off the board,” Moroney said.
Horn said the resolution added “a level of transparency in the process.” In the past, she said meetings were held and decisions made during closed sessions.
“This offers the option of making public what remedies were considered and what the votes were by individual directors which, I think, is an important element,” she said.
Director Tom Herrick commended the work group and said he supported the motion.
Association President Doug Parks, also in favor, called the existing bylaws “basically binary – it’s all or nothing,” while the resolution offered an “iterative process that allows us to at least take some action, if nothing else, for awareness.”
“This at least allows some introspective look,” Parks said.
The full text of Resolution B-08 is viewable online, starting on page 34 of the July 27 meeting packet, at www.oceanpines.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/7-27-2018-Board-Packet.pdf.