OCEAN PINES – Ocean Pines officials agreed to rescind a motion to seek proposals from auditing firms but only after reminding General Manager John Bailey of his role.
On Saturday, the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors voted 6-1 to rescind a motion to seek requests for proposals (RFPs) from auditing firms. The motion, which was passed last January, was never acted on, something that caused consternation among current board members. Director Esther Diller told Bailey the board wasn’t supposed to babysit him.
“I don’t think you really want seven people up your butt every single day to get your job done,” she said. “My feeling is do your job we’ll do ours.”
Last January, the board passed a motion to have the general manager issue an RFP for auditing services no later than Sept. 1. On Saturday, Director Steve Tuttle made a motion to rescind that directive since the deadline had passed and it hadn’t been acted on. Director Slobodan Trendic, who made the motion last January, objected. He said the board needed to recall why the motion had been put forward and passed in the first place. He said the association’s current Baltimore-based auditor had been hired even though the fee was 50 percent higher than fees charged by local firms.
“I felt it was my duty as a director to revisit the whole process and make sure that we get the best, most competitive financial offer for auditing services,” he said. “The intent of my motion, which was unanimously approved, was to correct what happened earlier. That still stands.”
He said it was also a bad idea to begin the practice of rescinding motions.
“I think it’s the wrong thing to do and it will set precedence that will put to question the judgement of previous boards if we start rescinding motions,” Trendic said.
Tuttle said he didn’t support rescinding motions generally but that in this case the motion’s deadline had passed and the association was already in the middle of a forensic audit. He said the board should issue an RFP for auditing services after the start of the next fiscal year. Director Colette Horn agreed.
“I understand the position of Director Trendic,” she said. “Rescinding motions is not a good idea however I think we’re in a spot here.”
Diller said the motion to rescind should have come up in September, as soon as the deadline to issue the RFP had passed with no action.
“Why are we not meeting deadlines?” she said, adding that she did not want the board to get in the habit of rescinding motions.
Director Ted Moroney agreed.
“This should have come up in September…,” he said. “I have a real problem with pick and choose when and how motions are done.”
He added, however, that the beginning of the next fiscal year was the time to issue an RFP for auditing firms.
Doug Parks, president of the board, said it was the board’s responsibility to follow through with its actions.
“We didn’t do that,” he said. “We have to do a much better job on following up on that.”
Diller asked him how that was going to happen.
“This is not the first RFP that was not completed on time,” she said.
Parks said he’d created a spreadsheet of open and pending items that would help board members track the issues.
“That spreadsheet you’re talking about should be published on a weekly basis and distributed to the staff and to the media to track what should be done and what is being done,” Director Frank Daly said.
Trendic said he didn’t think it was the board’s responsibility to make sure the general manager did what motions directed him to do.
“We know what the board’s role is, the general manager knows his role,” Trendic said. “I really don’t want to be tracking his actions. It’s not my role to do that. When the board says it wants something done, I expect it to be done. There are several instances in the past where this has not happened. Why? I think maybe that’s something that we need to look into.”
Diller offered similar comments.
“JB, we’re not your babysitters,” she said. “You’re a grown man who knows his job. When an RFP is given, get it done.”
The board voted 6-1, with Trendic opposed, to rescind the motion to issue an RFP for auditing firms.