Leaves with sharp words directed at OP leadership
By Greg Ellison
(Oct. 14, 2021) Threatened with potential removal for a derogatory statement last week aimed at Ocean Pines Board member Colette Horn, Ocean Pines Association Director Tom Janasek jumped the gun and resigned during a special meeting on Monday.
“I was going to write it all down, but that’s just not me,” he said.
Janasek came under fire for questioning Horn’s close working relationship with Association President Larry Perrone in an email exchange between board members following a meeting on Sept. 30.
“I could have said it another way,” he said of the email that went public soon after he sent it. “Do I regret sending it? Yeah, but I’m not apologizing for it.”
While acknowledging his comment to Horn was inappropriate, Janasek said his concerns were merited.
“I apologized last time when they tried to throw me off the board because I thought it was good for the community,” he said. “A year later, here we go again.”
In November 2020, Janasek was nearly removed from the board based on his public criticisms of General Manager John Viola. The issue was resolved after the pair made peace during an open meeting.
“I do make it easy to do it,” he said. “The simple fact is that ever since Larry became president, this has been the agenda item.”
Janasek admitted the outcome of the special meeting on Sept. 30 to consider either counting ballots for the contested 2021 board election or re-running the contest, raised his ire.
“A month ago we decided we would count all votes but not Rick [Farr],” he said.
Just prior to the resignation of Director Camilla Rogers at the conclusion of the Sept. 30 meeting, the board voted 4-3 to move forward with an election do-over.
“If we count all votes, it’s what’s good for the community,” he said. “The problem is if Rick would have got all the votes, the public would have clamored for him to be in that position of [Camilla Rogers],” he said.
The email exchange between directors came about after Perrone, who did not attend the Sept. 30 meeting in person, was seen raising a toast with Horn on the Golf Clubhouse patio after the session. Perrone attended the meeting virtually, because of what he said was his concern about potential coronavirus exposure.
“I was angry that Mr. Perrone and Ms. Horn were out celebrating a victory of starting a new election,” he said. “Really what they were celebrating is rigging an election of Ocean Pines.”
Janasek called it a “travesty,” that the board opted against counting election ballots for the contested contest.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people who have been on boards past or present and they’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.
Based on his “pattern of behavior,” Janasek said the motion for his removal was essentially a formality.
“This is who I am,” he said. “I was elected by more votes than any of the people that are on this board right now because I like to speak my mind.”
Janasek said his interest in board membership is not for personal gain.
“I do it because I’m trying hard not to spend money unwisely,” he said. “I’m trying hard not to do things that don’t benefit the whole community.”
Among his accomplishments, Janasek highlighted the Bainbridge Pond drainage project.
“We did a big planting on Monday,” he said. “I had a big influence in that.”
Janasek also noted being a prime proponent for allowing residents extra time to pay annual dues last year.
“I was the biggest person to push for pandemic relief for the people of Ocean Pines,” he said. “To give them a break through the summer and give them time to make their payments because a lot of people were out of work.”
Fiscal concerns tied to attorney fees for Association legal counsel Jeremy Tucker were also raised by Janasek.
“It’s almost like, ‘Is it going to rain today? I don’t know, call Jeremy,’” he said. “Nothing against Jeremy … and good for him, he’s making bank, but what does he have to be here for.”
Janasek thanked both current and former Environmental and Natural Assets Committee members he’s worked with over the last eight years.
“I couldn’t be prouder of that group,” he said.
While he thanked his supporters, Janasek said the current board’s composition was not conducive to progress.
“I am not going to stay on the board when I know there is nothing I can do,” he said.
After witnessing Director Doug Parks plead positions in opposition to Horn and Perrone, Janasek said the lack of openness for differing perspectives is glaring.
“You’re just talking, and nothing is going to happen because this board is run by two people,” he said.
Janasek also prophesized the eventual selections to fill two open seats among the four names proposed, including Jack Collins, Amy Peck, Tom Piatti and Josette Wheatley.
“The minute Cammy [Rogers] quit Josette was already elected to the board,” he said. “Once they started going after me Amy [Peck] is coming up next.”
Following Janasek’s resignation, the earlier motion for removal was rescinded, with the remaining five board members entering closed session to discuss replacements.
“I don’t know that we’ll be tremendously long,” Perrone said.
After a brief period, the board returned to public session and cast secret ballots to each select two names for interim directors.
Horn reported Peck and Wheatley each received four votes, while Piatti netted a pair.
The board also voted to appoint Wheatley as association secretary, to fill the void left by Rogers.
Perrone said the two new interim members would serve until the 2022 election, unless a Worcester Circuit Court issues a contrary ruling on the earlier contest.
A lawsuit filed by former candidate Richard Farr against the board contends that the board was wrong in declaring him ineligible to seek office after it first found him to be qualified. At issue is the question of whether Farr was a property owner at the time of the filing deadline.