Ocean Pines Rejects Two Petition Efforts; Clubhouse Petition Falls Short

OCEAN PINES –  Ocean Pines Association officials have determined two petitions submitted by a former board member did not meet necessary qualifications.

At the annual meeting of the Ocean Pines Association (OPA), former board member Slobodan Trendic submitted a petition to lower the board’s spending authority and to provide residents with a chance to weigh in on a new golf clubhouse. Officials announced Wednesday that neither petition met necessary requirements.

According to OPA, legal counsel determined that the clubhouse petition did not meet signature requirements and both petitions failed to comply with guidelines spelled out in the association’s bylaws.

The petition that aimed to have residents decide on the future of a golf clubhouse was determined to have been signed by 743 eligible voters, or 9.69% of the total votes that can be case, according to OPA. The association’s bylaws state a petition requires signatures representing at least 10% of the maximum number of votes that can be cast.

“This petition also fails to request action by the Board of Directors,” said Jeremy Tucker of Lerch, Early & Brewer, OPA’s legal counsel. “Instead, it is drafted to authorize the Board of Directors to construct the clubhouse. Because this petition failed to contain the necessary signatures, did not request action requiring a referendum and did not request action by the Board of Directors, the petition does not meet the requirements of Section 4.08 of the Bylaws.”

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According to Tucker, the petition to reduce the board’s spending limit to $1 million failed on similar grounds.

“The board expenditure petition does not seek an amendment to the Bylaws… Rather, this petition seeks a vote on whether the members wish to move forward with a subsequent referendum on an amendment to the Bylaws,” Tucker said. “The question presented in this petition does not qualify as an action appropriate for submission to the members on a referendum as required by Section 4.08 of the Bylaws, even though it met the signature requirements.”

Trendic, however, said that as for the clubhouse petition the bylaws didn’t provide clear enough guidance on the number of signatures needed.

“With regard to the petition on the clubhouse the issue is that the bylaws do not provide a clear definition of what constitutes the ‘maximum number of votes that can be cast,’” Trendic said in an email. “Is the maximum number based on a total number of OPA homeowners or is the maximum number determined on the number of members eligible to cast a vote. With OPA bylaws NOT providing a clear definition of ‘the maximum number’ it is left to the vested parties to define it themselves. Missing definition is not an ideal situation in the case like this one where every single vote is important.”

Trendic said he did not agree with OPA’s legal counsel on the board expenditure petition.

“With regard to the petition to reduce board spending authority I was totally surprised when I read the press release based on OPA’s legal counsel,” he said. “My entire petition language was carefully worded using the required format and the samples provided in the Board’s Resolution B-07, PETITIONS as a guide.  Needless to say I happen not to agree with the rendered legal opinion.”

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.