OPA Board Member Censured Over GM Criticism By Colleagues Instead Of Removed

OPA Board Member Censured Over GM Criticism By Colleagues Instead Of Removed
Ocean Pines Association Board member Tom Janasek and General Manager John Viola exchange a fist bump at Viola’s request last Friday. Photo by Charlene Sharpe

OCEAN PINES – The Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors voted unanimously to censure Director Tom Janasek after a vote to remove him from the board failed.

At a public hearing Friday, Janasek apologized to General Manager John Viola, who’d filed a formal complaint regarding offensive remarks the director made earlier this month.

“I hope we can move forward from this without any kind of dissension or turmoil on the board because it has been a good working board for the last three years and I don’t want that to end,” Janasek said.

According to the complaint made by Viola, on Nov. 5 Janasek made offensive remarks to the general manager while he was at a business lunch with the association’s director of golf. Viola said it wasn’t the first time such remarks had been made. As a result of his complaint regarding Janasek, a public hearing was held Friday. Several residents spoke up in support of the director and criticized the board for letting the issue get to the point of a public hearing.

“Why the hell can’t you act like adults, get by this, and get along?” resident John Reeves said.

Former board member Esther Diller offered similar comments. She said that whether Janasek’s allegations had been made correctly or not it was unprofessional for the general manager to “threaten to quit, again, when challenged by one of his employers.”

“This is politics, black and white,” she said.

Diller added that Janasek had been elected by the OPA membership and if members weren’t happy with the job he was doing they would have a chance to remove him in the next election.

“As I would say to my fellow directors when I was on the board, cut the shit and get back to work,” she said. “This town is tired of the childish antics.”

President Larry Perrone said that Viola had filed a formal complaint and the board had asked its legal counsel to investigate. Counsel reported to the board last Wednesday, when the board met in a four-hour closed session.

“It was clear a motion for removal would be presented at this special meeting,” he said.

Director Colette Horn went on to make that motion.

“The purpose of this motion is not to punish Director Janasek but to achieve a remedy to this complaint that fulfills our obligation as a board to provide Mr. Viola a guarantee that there will be no further actions by Mr. Janasek that undermine his ability to successfully fulfill his contractual obligations to the association,” Horn said.

After the complaint was read by Perrone, Janasek said he agreed and suggested the vote be called.

Viola said he had not threatened to quit and had not demanded anyone be removed from the board.

“All I have done is consistently bring up situations that occurred and placed them in the hands of the board,” he said. “I have never threatened to quit.”

Parks thanked him for the clarification.

“It was unclear to me, maybe it was because I didn’t understand all of the moving parts associated with the discussions we had, I sincerely thank you for that,” Parks said. “That clears things up. the fact that you are adamant about that puts my mind at ease.”

The motion to remove Janasek from the board failed, with Horn, Director Frank Brown and Perrone voting in favor while Janasek, Parks, Director Frank Daly and Director Camilla Rogers voted against it.

Daly went on to make a motion to censure Janasek, which passed unanimously. The statement to censure, read by the board’s attorney, included agreement from Janasek.

Janasek thanked the residents who spoke on his behalf and apologized to Viola. He also commended the general manager’s work and said he hoped he wouldn’t quit.

“If what I did and what was stated, if it was offensive I apologize for that and as of this moment with the censure this will never happen again,” he said.

Janasek added that he’d lived in the community 45 years and was committed to making it a better place.

“The way I approach things is not the way everybody approaches things and obviously I have to change my course a little,” he said. “I am loud. I am boisterous, and I say what I think. Sometimes doing that gets me in trouble. I am sorry for that. I didn’t mean to bring anybody into this position, I really didn’t. I can guarantee from here on out we’ll never have one of these sit downs and discussions about me ever again.”

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.