Board Candidates Share Views At Pines Forum

OCEAN PINES – Four candidates for the Ocean Pines board shared their views on various association issues last week.

Last Wednesday, the Ocean Pines Elections Committee held a forum for the four candidates running in the 2023 Ocean Pines Board of Directors election.

Over the course of an hour, candidates John Latham, Jerry Murphy, Elaine Brady, and Jeffrey Heavner took time to share their views on issues facing the association and provide opening and closing statements.

Lathum, an Ocean Pines homeowner since 2013, said he was eager to bring his experience as a businessman, volunteer and committee member to the board.

“If elected, my goal would simply be to make a great community even better,” he said. “I will use my business background, leadership and communication skills and financial acumen to help drive decisions that are most important to our community.”

For his part, Murphy, a local Realtor, said he has been a member of the community since the 1970s. He said he would bring his knowledge of boards to the role of director.

“I’ve been successful in the real estate business,” he said, “and I have an opportunity now to serve the community that has served me so well the last 49 years.”

Brady said she also became familiar with the community in the 1970s, when her parents purchased a lot in Ocean Pines. She said she and her family now reside in Ocean Pines, and that her experience gives her a unique perspective.

“That has helped me develop a perspective of not only what retirees like, enjoy and want in the community, but also what the young families that are raising their children here want,” she said.

If elected, Heavner, a former Naval intelligence officer and businessman, said he would work with the board to make decisions that are important to the community.

“I stand for kindness, I stand for unity, I stand for integrity and I stand for conviction,” he said. “I am an independent thinker. I bring leadership that has been developed over a 37-year career.”

Last week, candidates answered questions on topics ranging from boat ramp access and amenities to electronic signage and growth.

When asked how advisory committees could support the board and Ocean Pines staff, Heavner said he would like to see committee chairs attend board meetings.

“The board makes the final decisions, but I would absolutely endorse more of a presence of our committees at board meetings,” he replied. “I know the liaisons are supposed to speak for them, but I would love to see the chairs of these committees report to the board during regular board meetings, regular updates on very big issues that they are working on, like our elections, like the firehouse.”

Murphy was asked if he would support raising assessments to maintain the community and its infrastructure. He said he would, but only after other funding sources, including grants, were explored.

“Raising assessments would be my last option,” he said. “I would first look at other options and exhaust those.”

When asked about the divisiveness of a proposed roundabout in north Ocean Pines and his thoughts on the efficiency of a roundabout, Lathum said the proposal required more research.

“Quite honestly, I would want to understand it a little bit more …,” he said. “I’m not sure I have enough data to say that would work. If it helps for us to stay safe … I would support that if it helps the community.”

Brady was asked to clarify her views on run-down properties. She said she supported making changes to the association’s governing documents to allow for better enforcement.

“I live in a community where there’s a secondary HOA, and many of those communities within Ocean Pines, as they age, remain very well kept, and they do because there are fines …,” she said. “It’s not fair for property values, having to live next to a dump that is falling apart … It’s not the kind of community we want.”

Candidates were not asked the same questions at last week’s forum. Instead, they were asked to pick a number out of a hat and answer the corresponding question. Attendees also had an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the forum. The entirety of last week’s candidate forum is posted on the association’s YouTube channel.

Officials say Election Trust, the Washington-based contractor hired earlier this year, will be mailing ballots to property owners the week of July 11, with ballots due back by 4 p.m. on Aug. 8.

Officials pointed out the contractor would notify voters once their ballot has been received, so long as their membership information is up to date.

Ballots will be counted and vote totals will be announced on Thursday, Aug. 10. The annual meeting is set for Saturday, Aug. 12.

For more information on the 2023 Board of Directors election, email [email protected], call 410-208-3989, or visit and click “2023 OPA Board Election” at the top of the page.

This year, three board seats will be up for grabs – two currently held by Doug Parks and Colette Horn and one left vacant following the resignation of Frank Daly. The seven-member volunteer board is the governing body of Ocean Pines.

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.