Pines Board Fails To Support Committee Appointment

OCEAN PINES – With no motion to support his appointment, a former board candidate’s application for membership to an association committee was not recognized this week.

On Wednesday, members of the Ocean Pines Association (OPA) Board of Directors had before them the names of applicants for various association committees, including 2021 board candidate Stuart Lakernick. Following last month’s denial of his application to the Strategic Planning Committee, a new application was brought before the board this week seeking Lakernick’s appointment to the Ocean Pines Search Committee.

But despite an endorsement from the committee’s chairman, and comments of support from various community members, his appointment failed to receive the support of Association President Colette Horn, the committee’s board liaison.

“I did not endorse this applicant as having skills and attitudes or confidence in the quality of advice to be given,” she said. “This is not based on political statements or statements made in public. It has to do with failure to follow the constraints on candidates when Mr. Lakernick was running for the board. His failure to follow those constraints does not inspire confidence in me in his ability to give good advice to candidates who will run in the future.”

In February’s board meeting, the Board of Directors voted 3-2, with Directors Doug Parks and Rick Farr in favor and Horn and Director Amy Peck abstaining, to deny Lakernick’s appointment to the Strategic Planning Committee. Back on the agenda this week seeking an appointment to the Search Committee, Chair Tom Piatti came before the board seeking support for Lakernick’s application.

“I have three applicants, which are in your packet today …,” he said. “The third is Stuart Lakernick, and I notice in the board packet there is not a healthy endorsement for Stuart.”

Piatti noted he had endorsed Lakernick’s application, pointing out the candidate’s experience in previous board elections. He asked board members this week to trust his endorsement.

“In summary, you had confidence in me to appoint me as chairman of this committee,” he said. “Please have confidence in me to run my committee and appoint all three of these members to my committee today.”

Association member Joe Reynolds said while he respected Piatti’s request, it was ultimately up to the association president to appoint committee members.

“If I were president of the association, I would appoint Stuart Lakernick to this committee he’s applied to, whether I agreed with his OPA politics or not …,” he said. “I don’t agree with Mr. Lakernick’s politics, but there’s no reason at all to reject this individual.”

Association member Ken Waters also pointed to Lakernick’s election record.

“If you consider Stuart Lakernick, I hope what you consider is all the votes he garnered when he ran,” he said. “I think it should be taken into consideration.”

Director Frank Daly, however, said he had reasons for denying Lakernick’s application.

“When committee applications come up, and the committee chair thinks the person is a fit and meets the criteria, and we look at their recommendation and don’t accept their recommendation, it is no reflection on the committee chair …,” he said. “I may vote differently than he sees because of information I have.”

Parks questioned how Horn based her decision to deny Lakernick’s application.

“As I’ve said in previous meetings, if this information gets out in the public, it may set the criteria for those who would subsequently want to come up and apply for a committee membership, knowing there is a certain sentiment before they apply,” he said.

Horn pointed to an incident in the previous board election.

“There was a violation,” she said. “The violation was the constraint against distributing literature on Ocean Pines property in the previous election.”

With no motion put forward, Lakernick’s application was not considered.

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.