OCEAN PINES – The Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors held a special meeting last week to install Rick Farr as the newest board member.
Last Wednesday, Farr took his seat as the newest board member for the association. After what can only be described as a contentious election, Farr said he was eager to move forward.
“We do have to move on,” he said. “The judge did his ruling, like it or not, and we have to move on. I’m not here to boast about what happened, I’m here to do the business of the community. I promised people – when I knocked on the doors and through the many forums we had and in public comments – that that’s what I was going to do … At the end of the day, it’s going to be in the best interest of the community. That’s it. Not the best interest of the board but the best interest of every citizen here.”
Last year, four contenders – Farr, Stuart Lakernick, David Hardy and incumbent Frank Daly – vied for two seats on the association’s board, though Farr was later disqualified during the voting process after an anonymous tip raised questions about his homeownership status in the Pines. Following a months-long legal battle, a Worcester County Circuit Court judge last week granted Farr’s claims for declaratory judgement and ruled him an eligible Pines homeowner and eligible candidate in the 2021 election.
The ruling, issued Jan. 5, also ordered that the top vote getters – Farr with 1,629 votes and Daly with 1,571 votes – be installed for a term of three years commencing Aug. 15, 2021.
Daly, who was absent from Wednesday’s proceedings, will maintain his position on the board. Farr replaces outgoing Director Frank Brown, who was appointed in 2020 to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Director Steve Tuttle.
“Frank Brown, I would like to thank you for your year-and-a-half of service filling in for the time period after Steve Tuttle resigned,” said Director Larry Perrone.
Wednesday’s meeting kicked off with a report from Ocean Pines Election Committee Chair Carol Ludwig. She noted of the 7,999 ballots that were mailed out, 3,041 were returned with 38 deemed invalid.
“The grand total of votes returned was 42% of those sent out,” she said.
The Board of Directors this week also elected Colette Horn as the new president, Daly as the new vice president, Josette Wheatley as secretary and Perrone as the new treasurer.
While Perrone was asked to continue in his role of president, he declined the nomination.
“I’ve been president for 18 months now, and I think it’s time for someone else,” he said.
During public comments, resident Tom Janasek, a former director, expressed his disappointment with the election of officers.
“What I do know is that this board, this regime that’s been running this board for the last year and four months, did nothing but create divisiveness within the board and within Ocean Pines,” he said. “That’s all it’s done. And you’ve just reelected them for eight more months.”
During his comments, Janasek also announced his candidacy for the next board election. He also urged current board members to work together.
“I was in this for a year and a half, and I would implore you all, as hard as it may be, to try and work together,” he said. “It is a board of seven. For the last year and a half, it’s been a board of four, never a board of seven. The other three people were never included in any decision, unless to influence their vote on something personal. This has not been about Ocean Pines, it’s been about personal egos. That’s it.”
Resident Slobodan Trendic, another former director, also came before the board this week to offer his congratulations to Farr. He then challenged the new board member to comply with the bylaws, arguing the special meeting had violated the association’s governing documents.
“Rick should submit a motion to revoke appointments and schedule an organizational meeting and comply with the bylaws,” he said.
Perrone disagreed with Trendic’s interpretation.
“This meeting is a special meeting because there was no quorum at the yearly meeting,” he said. “It makes it a special meeting, and during that meeting we do the organizational things.”
For his part, Director Doug Parks vowed to continue working for Ocean Pines and its members.
“It’s been no secret that there’s been a lot of dysfunctionality on this board the past 18 months …,” he said. “Despite that, as a professional and someone who’s committed to the association, the fact that these officers have changed does not change my commitment to the association. I will continue to work for the betterment of the membership because that’s what I signed up for.”
He continued, “I have another year. I’ve been elected twice in a row to this board, and I plan to serve that out regardless of who sits in what officer positions because it’s very important to stress the fact that the officers of the association have no more authority than any other director sitting on the board. I want to make sure the membership knows that and I want to remind my fellow colleagues that in order for us to work together that has to be paramount in any discussions. And I urge them to drop the animosity, forget what’s going on, and let’s move forward.”
The entirety of Wednesday’s special meeting can be viewed on the association’s YouTube page.