Ocean Pines Agrees To Release Investigation Reports; Board Decides Not To Consider President’s Removal

OCEAN PINES – Citing the need for transparency, the association’s board this week directed legal counsel to prepare statements on two investigations involving association management and a recent complaint against President Larry Perrone before announcing they would not move forward with a special meeting to remove him from his post.

In a virtual meeting held Monday, members of the Ocean Pines Association (OPA) Board of Directors had before them motions submitted by Director Frank Daly to waive board privilege on two investigation reports – a management report dated Dec. 7, 2020 and an investigative report that resulted from a B-08 complaint filed against Perrone.

Following a nearly two-hour closed session, however, Daly withdrew his motions. Instead, legal counsel was directed to draft statements on the two reports, which would be released to the community by unanimous consent of the board.

“I am withdrawing the motions, and based on unanimous consent of the board, directing counsel to release statements regarding the B-08 complaint and the management report dated Dec. 7, 2020 to provide maximum transparency to the community,” he said.

Officials this week also announced a special meeting to consider Perrone’s removal from the board would not move forward, as Director Doug Parks withdrew his support of a motion made by Director Tom Janasek.

“Doug Parks has withdrawn his second for a special meeting regarding a motion to remove the president,” Perrone told community members. “The board has committed to use whatever tools or tactics are available so that this board can work in a more cohesive and effective manner.”

Monday’s special meeting came more than a week after the board’s handling of a complaint against Perrone was called into question by the association’s membership.

In January, Director of Amenities and Operational Logistics Colby Phillips filed a complaint against Perrone alleging he had violated Resolution B-08, which addresses director and officer ethics and misconduct. Following an investigation into the matter – and a closed board meeting in late January to discuss the complaint – the board found no violation had occurred. Phillips submitted her resignation on Feb. 16, ending a nearly seven-year tenure with OPA.

In a board meeting held Feb. 20, Jeremy Tucker, the association’s corporate counsel, outlined the board’s process for handling Phillips’ complaint. Several community members, however, took issue with the board’s actions. They noted while Perrone was in attendance for the closed meeting, Phillips was not invited to participate.

“The board should not be able to hold a closed-door meeting to decide the outcome of Perrone’s actions without Colby and her attorney present,” resident Jackie Kurtz said. “Colby should have been given an opportunity to speak before a board decision, as Perrone should be able to present his side but not vote on any decision. Even if Perrone’s actions were legal or did not violate the B-08, it was wrong on every level. It’s wrong that the majority of the board was willing to put up with his behavior without any kind of censure and apology to Colby.”

At that same meeting, Janasek made a motion to hold a special meeting for the removal of an officer, which was seconded by Parks.

“There has been a pattern of behavior on this board that includes threats of legal action against directors, blatant lies to influence directors’ votes and interference with committees managing important projects such as drainage and food and beverage operations, to name a few …,” Janasek said at the time. “This is not a board of one or two, and that’s is what it’s become.”

Daly also asked the board to consider amending, or even repealing, Resolution B-08.

“We’re not the Central Intelligence Agency, we’re not the National Security Agency,” he said. “This cloak of secrecy that ties hands is extremely unfair, first to the community and second of all to the people involved … Like it or not, there are two sides to every story. And I don’t like a process that handcuffs one side.”

In his motion this week to waive board privilege, Daly said current rules governing Resolution B-08 prevented the board from releasing an investigative report detailing the events and information that led to the board’s decision. He said releasing the reports would provide community members “maximum transparency.”

In his comments this week, Parks said his decision to withdraw his support of a motion to hold a special meeting for Perrone’s removal came after careful consideration.

“We’ve had several conversations about how did we get to this place, what can we do going forward …” he said. “It will be a challenge as we move forward over the next several months in order to address this issue. There are some issues that need to be addressed, and they need to be addressed boldly, they need to be addressed front and center, and there can’t be any loss of commitment as we navigate through these difficult times. I made that commitment to my other directors, and I expect the same from them.”

Director Colette Horn added she was proud of the board for its actions.

“I think in the past boards have addressed their problems by waiting for them to solve themselves through director attrition, either by terming out or resigning,” she said. “We’ve also over the years addressed these problems by attempts to remove officers, attempts to remove directors. Neither of those approaches have yielding lasting improvements. In some cases, it yielded greater problems.”

Horn said the board was committed to working on its problems and finding ways to move forward.

“I think the public can count on that from us, and we will certainly recommit to that as we go through this process that we embarked on today,” she said. “I will also ask the public to give us the time and space we need to do this work and to respect this is going to be a difficult process for us. It’s going to take a lot of courage and honesty on our part, and we hope the membership will trust in us, in our commitment, and allow us the time and space we need to accomplish what we’ve committed to today.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.