OPA Wants To Review Golf Course Business Plan

BERLIN – Ocean Pines Association officials have agreed to set up a meeting with Landscapes Unlimited following a lengthy discussion over recent communication with the golf management company.

The board voted 5-2 to meet with Landscapes Unlimited, the company hired to run the Ocean Pines Association (OPA) golf course earlier this year, to discuss the business plan and other documents that have been submitted for the course.

“A subsequent meeting makes sense,” said board member Tom Terry.

The board’s agreement to meet with the company came after a long discussion regarding the board representatives who were chosen by Pat Renaud, president of the board, to attend Landscapes Unlimited’s monthly meetings. Board member Tom Herrick questioned whether Renaud had the authority to appoint representatives without board approval. Renaud had selected Terry, himself and board member Bill Cordwell to attend the monthly meetings.

Cordwell said Renaud had appointed board members to attend the meetings just as the board’s last president had. He said Renaud selected the people he did to attend the golf meetings because they had business and golf experience.

“I think that was a good way to go about it,” he said. “These guys [Landscapes Unlimited] have some problems. We didn’t need a group of cheerleaders.”

Cordwell said that though he himself hadn’t supported hiring Landscapes Unlimited to replace Casper Golf in managing the Pines course, once the decision had been made he’d committed himself to seeing the course operate successfully.

“They have some problems but we’re going to help them work through it,” he said. “They’re our management company now.”

Herrick said he was concerned with the fact that Renaud had chosen the representatives without approval from the rest of the board.

Board member Dave Stevens said he thought the representatives needed to be chosen with board approval, as committee members were selected. Stevens said the representatives should have been chosen with the consensus of the board and should be reporting back on news from the golf company. He was critical of the fact that Terry, Renaud and Cordwell had discussed the golf business plan with Landscapes Unlimited but had not shared details of that discussion with the rest of the board.

“Part of their responsibility is to report back on any significant events,” Stevens said. “What it is not their responsibility to do is negotiate with Landscapes Unlimited what the business plan should contain or not contain.”

Terry said the business plan would be discussed by the entire board in January during the association’s budget process.

“That is when the final non-draft version of the business plan is due,” he said. “We had an oversight meeting with Landscapes where we went through some of the things they were talking about. I believe that was a positive meeting. We did not in any way say ‘this is a vote of the board.’”

Renaud admitted that he selected the board representatives to meet with Landscapes Unlimited without formal approval from the rest of the board but said he didn’t see why the entire board needed to meet with the company every month.

“Screaming at each other’s not solving any problems,” he said.

At the suggestion of OPA General Manager Bob Thompson, Renaud made a motion to name himself, Terry and Cordwell the representatives to Landscapes Unlimited.

Stevens objected to the selection. He said two of the people, Cordwell and Terry, had been against hiring Landscapes Unlimited from the start.  He said the board was setting itself up to have the same lack of communication it experienced during Casper Golf’s management of the course.

“I think people were selected to do the most damage to the contract,” Stevens said. “I think they’re the wrong people. I think they’re people who will not convey to the rest of the board a sense of what Landscapes Unlimited is doing.”

Board member Jack Collins agreed that the selected representatives weren’t conducive to open communication.  He added that they did not all have golf experience.

Board member Cheryl Jacobs said she was not a golfer and didn’t believe that all of the representatives should be golfers.

“I think it’s appropriate to have people appointed who are non-golfers because not all of this community cares as much about the golf course,” she said. “We represent the entire community.”

In the end, the board voted 4-3, with Stevens, Collins and Herrick opposed, to support Terry, Renaud and Cordwell as golf representatives.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.