By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(July 19, 2018) The Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors has delayed a decision several times on whether to buy new financial and operational software, and it snow eems unlikely anything will be done before the August election.
A technology workgroup, formed in 2016, spent significant time researching community needs and vetting software solutions to replace outdated systems that can’t keep up with the needs of a large homeowners association
The group ultimately recommended Northstar Club Management Software and the board of directors in May was to consider its purchase, but a vote was delayed because the budget and finance committee apparently asked for more information.
A common criticism of Northstar was that it was well designed to keep books for amenities, but perhaps not for other areas of operation.
One of the lingering questions was whether proprietary systems used by community management firms could be purchased and used in Ocean Pines. One such firm discussed during public meetings was Legum & Norman of Falls Church, Virginia.
However, scheduled “board and administration” meetings on Monday and Tuesday this week were canceled.
On Monday morning, a note on the door of the scheduled meeting space, the community yacht club, read, “The Legum & Norman Software Demonstration Scheduled for Today Was Cancelled by L&N on Friday at 3 p.m.Without Explanation.”
Ocean Pines General Manager John Bailey on Monday said a copy of the request for proposals was sent to Legum & Norman, “the same RFP that we sent to other companies.”
Bailey said the firm recommended Advanced Technology Group Inc., a separate division of the Legum & Norman parent company, Associa.
Association officials reviewed the proposal and sent back notes to Advanced Technology Group, Bailey said, “to see if they agreed with our assessments.”
“The RFP response didn’t include any pricing, it didn’t include any of their references, and it didn’t include a sample timeframe, which all the other ones that we got back did,” he said.
He added a representative from the company offered to travel to Ocean Pines to provide a demonstration, if there was enough interest.
“They could not do [Monday],” Bailey said. “We didn’t find that out until literally that email came in to me at 3 o’clock on Friday.”
Asked where the association now stood in the process, Bailey replied, “We’re not real sure.”
He said the plan was to have the demonstration occur and the technology workgroup again provide a recommendation.
“Did it change our perspective on Northstar or not? I don’t know that we can accomplish that in this short order,” Bailey said. “We extended the deadline for them and all of that, and we just get the word on Friday that ‘we can’t come on Monday.’”
As of Monday, Bailey said there was no date to reschedule the demonstration.
“Part of the frustration is in one sense, yeah, you want to reschedule it, but at the same time are we not changing up the playing field for those others that responded with the full information that we’d asked for?” he said. “It’s sort of a catch-22 – why are we doing something different for one vendor versus another?
“I can say this about their proposal: it doesn’t cover everything, which is additional confirmation of what I’ve been saying all along,” Bailey continued. “There’s not one software out there that does everything that we need to do – there’s not this silver bullet out there, even through a company like Associa and Legum & Norman.