In order to help you make your decision in this upcoming Board of Directors election, the Ocean Pines Elections Committee presents the biographies, which were submitted by each of the candidates, and answers to three questions presented to the candidates by the Elections Committee.
Two candidates, Mark Mitchell and Scott Wagner, have submitted a formal withdrawal. Seven candidates now vie for three vacant Board positions. The candidates are presented below in the same order as they will appear on the ballot.
The values of hard work, diligence, and integrity characterize my life. My wife and I have been married nearly 50 years, have 3 children and 4 grandchildren. We bought our home in Ocean Pines in 2014 and took up fulltime residency in 2015.
Born into a farm family in Maine, working was a way of life. I earned a BS in Civil Engineering from Northeastern University, a Masters in Christian Education from Bethel Seminary and completed graduate work in engineering at the University of Minnesota.
My career includes 15 years as a licensed Professional Engineer in environmental and geotechnical engineering. At the age of 40 I began a 21-year career in college campus ministry, followed by 5 years as Director of Operations for a youth program in Camden, NJ and 4 years as Building and Facilities Manager for a program serving children and adults with moderate to severe disabilities.
I have served as chair of the Ocean Pines Elections Advisory Committee and led the process to bring greater transparency to our elections.
I currently serve as a Trustee of the Community Church of Ocean Pines. I am a member of the Anglers, Pickleball and Boat clubs of Ocean Pines.
My wife Irene and I moved to Ocean Pines in 2013 and are involved in a number of community organizations. I chair the Strategic Planning Committee and I am a member of the Golf Advisory Committee.
My 40+ Year career includes Senior Management & Board Level Assignments. I have a MS Degree in Engineering, a MBA (Finance/Marketing) and attended the Wharton Executive Development Program.
I have served on the Executive Committees of four companies, the Board of Directors of a HOA and two major university consortiums (Cal-Berkeley & Arizona State). I am President of Jordan Frank Associates, an executive recruiting firm serving the energy and construction industries.
My goal is to use my experience and conservative financial approach to upgrade our business processes, budgeting and operations management with the specific objective of lowering your assessment. Implementing these processes will enable OP to address our community needs effectively without needlessly inflating our assessments and stockpiling money.
I need, and am asking for, your vote to make this happen!
My commitment is to work with and effectively communicate with you in a manner that restores your trust and confidence in the Board and Managements ability to effectively manage the Association.
Hi, My name is Greg Turner. I am running for the Board of Directors. I have lived in Ocean Pines full time since 1978 and part time since 1968. I’ve watched Ocean Pines grow by leaps and bounds. It has been amazing what has happened during that time. I worked for the Ocean Pines Clubs/Association for 6 years in various positions ranging from lifeguard, working at the horse stables, maintenance and finally in the food service area. I served in the Ocean Pines Fire and EMS department for 20 years and was a line officer In charge. Finally, I was elected as the fire chief for 3 years. Today I am an electrical contractor in the Worcester county area. I attended Prince George Community College. Upon moving to Ocean Pines, I attended Wor-Wic Community College and studied Hotel and Restaurant Management. I then entered the electrical Apprentice program at Eastern Air Control and became a foreman and then promoted to construction manager.
200 Words to tell you who I am? Here’s a broad brush resume…My name is Paula Gray, Resident of Ocean Pines, wife, mother, grandmother, and… Railroad yardmaster of 32 years (retired), a position that Required extreme and daily planning, decision making, and a myriad of interactions With Federal agencies, corporate departments, State departments, Customers both large and small (ex: UPS at Christmas and Mom/Pops Waiting for basics) ; personnel planning, training, and placement; “common ground finding” with unions, corporate, and customers; And an additional 3 page small print job description; Federal Hazmat Training and DOD contractual instructor; And, various volunteer positions: Treasurer and then President Of Friends of Downs Park (Non-profit )4 years; worked with women’s Prisoners educational programs; appointed by Governor Schaefer Foster Care Review Board (servicing children in peril) 4 years; Little League Volunteer 12 years; UMBC graduate; member of: American Assn University Women; Ocean Pines Womens’ Club; Mensa; current National Aquarium Seal Steward volunteer; former volunteer Stem program for middle school Girls; et al, I have always worked within and for my community !
My husband, Stuart, and I are from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and have owned several properties in the Worcester County resort area for the last fifteen years. In 2014, I purchased in Ocean Pines with the intention of retiring to Ocean Pines in the next few years. I am the CEO or CFO in eight different businesses, and I know how to manage people. The Board of Directors needs leaders who can provide oversight and let the area experts do their jobs. A board is supposed to provide executive guidance, staff is supposed to provide operational support.
As an executive, I know how to make this happen, and will bring the leadership OPA needs to create a solid path forward for the next fifty years. This community is a great place, but it needs help. I intend to use my voice on the board to manage assessments (they are over 10% too high), hold staff accountable for our money, and bring in professionals. This can turn struggling portions of our operations around and protect our financial future so we can all afford to live here for the next fifty years, enjoying what has been built in the first fifty.
I was born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia and graduated from Norwich University. For 35 years I was CEO of Superior Foundation, Inc. a design-build subcontractor in the DC area, turning the business over to my brothers and semi-retiring as a Risk Management VP for a firm in Maryland.
My wife Sue and I bought in Ocean Pines in 2006 and are currently transitioning to become full-time residents. I have been active serving on the Contract Review Team, the Ten Year Task Force, numerous OPA building committees including the Yacht Club and Community Center, the Reserve Study selection group and a number of other OPA activities in the last decade.
I was asked to fill an empty board position at the end of September 2017. As I said then the easiest step would have been to sit on the sidelines and wait for this election. I understood that my best value to OPA would be to jump in and to assist in righting the association. It is my desire to continue that progress; build on the success over the last nine months; complete a number of outstanding projects and to bring continuity and the best practices to the OPA operation.
My name is Arie Klapholz and I reside at 38 Seabreeze Road. We bought a lot here in 1996, built a vacation/forever home, and moved in early 1997. I spent my youth on a farm in South Jersey, moved to Philadelphia, PA in 1960 where I lived until 2003, and then made Ocean Pines my home. I am a Viet Nam Era veteran having served in the Army from 1967 to 1969. I spent thirty plus years in civil service working for the City of Philadelphia, mostly in construction project management. I also spent forty years working for the Philadelphia Inquirer in the newsprint packaging division. I served as secretary-treasurer of one of my bowling leagues, consisting of twenty, five man teams, for ten years. I served on the Board of Trustees for eight years for the synagogue we belonged to in Philadelphia. I served as Master of my Masonic Lodge in Philadelphia, Shekinah Lodge #246, and I am currently a member of Evergreen Lodge #153 in Berlin. I served on the Board of Trustees for Temple Bat Yam where I am a current active member. I am the current president of the Ocean City Cruzers car club.
1. Describe your thoughts about OPA finances. What do you think is going well and what needs to change?
The Ocean Pines Association is still financially strong despite last years losses. If you elect me to the Board, I will support the recommendations of the deep dive audit and the Forensic Audit. I will be committed to implementing interim and final audit recommendations. In this regard, I would request written status reports on at least a quarterly basis to ensure compliance with the outstanding recommendations. Appropriate controls must be in place to assure that all monies of the Association are properly accounted for and properly utilized. There is no place in our Association for theft, hidden bank accounts, or mishandled money. Investments should be placed in insured accounts that gain the highest possible interest. Our reserve accounts are strong. The only major project anticipated is the second floor of the country club. Adding more to the reserve accounts is unnecessary. I support maintaining our assessment at the current level, or if possible, based on a careful analysis of the budget, reducing the assessment. The amount of the assessment needs to be justified and explained to the membership.
- The budget determines the assessment (8452 lots). 2018/19 budget calls for road/bulkhead spending of $1,499,732. Information from Public Works is the actual work planned is $747,172; an overassessment of $89.04 per home. SURPRISED?
- Theft. We have a reported theft of $27,000 from the Finance Department in August. It remains unsolved and under investigation. The reason cited by law enforcement – poor business practices and the number of individuals with access to the cash within the department. TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE & INEXCUSABLE!
- Allegations of theft, fraud and corruption within the Association by two former Board Members that triggered a $250,000 forensic audit. A REAL SHOW STOPPER!
- Monthly bank statements that are only reconciled/audited for one month out of the entire year per instructions from management. WHY NOT MONTHLY?
- 5/24/18 BOD Treasurer’s report indicates an operating loss of $1,600,000; revised to $1,218,000 on 6/1/18, a $400,000 difference. ACCURATE REPORTING?
It is my belief that undue monies have been spent needlessly over the years because there was not sufficient oversight and accountability while lacking residence input. For example, the Country Club has been remodeled 4 times. The bulk heads have been done twice on my canal because they were not installed properly (still not properly done). This is directly due to lack of oversight by the Association. I really want to know the reason for a million dollar deficit. The first response by the association is to raise our Association dues. Why was the Forensic Audit done after you raise our dues?
Looking at OPA Finances, currently, is a stare into murky water, knowing It’s there but not sure of anything else. The Pines has been growing for 50 years. The financial structure and process has not! Not an insult to those who came before but A statement of where we need to go now.
We all have budgets, big, small, and very necessary. Here and now it Appears that budgets in the Pines have never been viewed as a “process” Where those in charge should watch, review, alter, update or abandon. An observation – and this seemed to happen in a very large fashion last Year – like giving a credit card to someone with instructions to spend a dollar limit, and then never checking to see what happened. And it got us here!
There are those that will say our charter doesn’t call for that… Perhaps it should. Whatever needs to happen needs to be more, much More, open to the Pines membership. Perhaps a one hour meeting every Quarter? A site updated monthly on where we are? And finally Getting egos surpressed if a question is asked? It is, after all, Pines money!
OPA finances need help. First, our assessments are too high. Our current reserve balance has over TEN MILLION DOLLARS. We do not need to raise assessment and actually need to lower them. I will work to make that a reality.
The theft, fraud, corruption, embezzlement, or whatever you want to call our issues needs to end. We can no longer turn a blind eye to these activities. I will insist we prosecute EVERYTIME we discover even the smallest issue. To this I am not negotiable. This behavior must stop immediately. We must be accountable for every dollar of Association money.
Last, the days of our antiquated systems and processes needs to end. We need to look at all options to bring accountability to the finance department, and this includes outsourcing if necessary. Outsourcing is not a bad word. Outsourcing can work We need experienced people to run back office, and a deep enough staff to meet GAAP standards. We are a small city and need the help of professionals.
OPA is coming off the worse operating performance – possibly in the history of the association. Multiple Directors of Finance, turmoil on the board, poor budgeting, and poor management performance all contributed to this problem. While many say use the reserves to pay for operating losses, that option would inevitably lead to the reserves becoming a “slush fund” for poor management and board decisions. The good news is that our reserves are currently in good shape overall.
The answer is simple: we must budget realistically and live within that budget. Since September we have brought stability back to the operation with a new General Manager and new Director of Finance; worked in tandem with the B&F Committee to develop a realistic budget; outsourced the bulk of food service to the Matt Ortt Company; engaged a forensic auditing team to identify fraud, theft and management practices that need correcting; addressed the deep dive audit; and moved forward to prepare a true Capital Improvement Plan through use of the soon to be updated Reserve Study. We still need to expand the narrative in our financial reporting, explaining the reasons as much as the actual numbers. We are moving in the right direction.
I have constantly seen reports of Ocean Pines Association losing money and as a result the annual assessment goes higher and higher. There seems to be many reasons given; amenities losing money, higher salaries, higher employee costs, etc. Amenity losses must be reined in for once and for all and that can be done with proper oversight and good management. One area that I simply cannot understand is the compensation Ocean Pines Association pays the General Manager. The total package with bonuses and health and welfare costs is well north of $250,000. That is more than the mayors of Philadelphia and many other major urban areas earn. Ocean Pines has only about 15,000 permanent residents and I don’t understand why we are paying any more than $100,000 base pay. Additionally we have to insure that Ocean Pines Association budgets using zero-based budgeting rather than base-line budgeting methods.
2. Describe your thoughts on OPA amenities. What is going well and what needs to change?
We have many and varied amenities from a walk along a park trail to the Beach Club. The amenities are provided for the benefit of property owners. Capital costs of amenities are paid by all members through our assessments. We all contribute financially to our general and particular amenities whether we use them or not. The option to select which amenities to enjoy, at an additional fee, helps to keep the assessment lower.
Governing documents require that amenities be run in a businesslike manner. A successful business will meet a perceived need or want, offer consistently good quality, solid service and at a price affordable to the customer. The Board, in outsourcing the operation of the Yacht and Beach Clubs recognizes that.
All amenities should be evaluated annually on the basis of member usage, cost and quality. Amenities should serve the greatest number of members.
I recognize that some amenities are subsidized by our assessments. If elected to the Board I will work to make each fee-based amenity self-supporting, well maintained and where possible improved.
Aquatics. A Director with a multiyear plan that runs her programs like a customer service oriented for profit business continues to deliver outstanding results to the Association.
Parks & Recreation. This department also continues to deliver excellent results while significantly reducing expenses.
Getting Better/Improvement Required.
Golf is trending upwards and has made significant progress in cutting its operational loses. Still facing a tough national trend, golf has room to improve its financial performance through aggressive marketing, community outreach and improved performance at the Terns Grill.
Food & Beverage. Although I personally would have insisted that a formal RFP be issued for managing and/or leasing the Food & Beverage operations at the Yacht and Beach Clubs, I believe that the move to the Ortt group was a good one for the Association. The early results in terms of quality, selection and customer service have been positive and should lead to improved financial performance. The disastrous performance of last year- an operational loss of $775,992 ($91.81 per lot) simply cannot be repeated.
If the Ortt Group performs as expected I will advocate for them to assume operation of the Terns Grill for the 2019 season.
The Yacht Club has been remodeled twice and treated for mold issues very recently. Although it is a beautiful club, it doesn’t get the support from the residence to turn it into profit making venue. Could this be because the food andthe service were inadequate.
Overall, I believe the landscaping done by the association along the roadways is very pleasing to the eye. The golf course looks good again which reminds me of the days when Tom List, the original golf course superintendent was here.
The Pines is the type of place one hopes to find to raise a family, Wake up in the morning, come home from work and relax, and finally to Retire. Our amenities far exceed what is found in other communities for What we “pay”. Our police department keeps us safe, our fire department Keeps us safe, and our neighbors work together for this great place. These are all “amenities”.
Our only concern should be to avoid the “I don’t use it, why do we pay For it” responses. Recently this appeared with regard to the crab pier on a Lesser scale and the Yacht Club on a larger.
What needs to change? A way to help some residents understand that Every demand for upgrades and changes might not be met? That participation And information does offset conflict or apathy (big enemy of associations) And finally, updates, updates, updates so rumors don’t take over!
OPA Amenities are part of what makes our neighborhood so great. However, these amenities need to be run like businesses, so the people that use them are the ones paying the bill. With professional management, food and beverage should no longer be a cost to the Association. The board needs to follow through on the trend that they started with the Yacht Club and see that our other amenities operate in the same manner. If we don’t have the skills to operate them in house, then outsource. If our existing staff is doing well, provide them the necessary support so they can keep doing well. Its that simple. Any decisions on changes in amenities needs to look at the community as a whole, and not just the interests of a few. When residents bring up new requests, like the gym that came into discussions this year, those options deserve consideration, but with restraint to make sure that the amenity will help the association as a whole, not cost the membership. Future amenity direction is a great topic for the survey that has been put off by the board for several years, but should be undertaken now.
OPA has a very robust amenities program that meets the desires of a vast majority of the association’s members. When we look at amenities there is a tendency to concentrate only on the major concerns like golf, food and beverage, aquatics, racquet sports, etc. We are a diverse community and must be sensitive to reasonably supporting those clubs and organizations who, in many cases, contribute in a variety of ways to the community by using our amenities to provide meeting space and coordinating activities through our Recreation and Parks Department. It is a combination of all of these groups, large and small, and our amenities that create our “community”.
Year after year, candidates have talked about addressing the food and beverage operation in particular the Yacht Club. This current board has moved talk to real action, closing the Yacht Club in January and contracting with MOC to run the bulk of the Food and Beverage operations. We are less than a month into this operation, yet early indications are positive and as MOC gains knowledge of the community and time on task, we are hopeful that this will be a success and a mutually beneficial long term partnership.
It is difficult to understand how in the twenty plus years I have been in Ocean Pines that the same amenities keep “losing” money. Ocean Pines has some of the finest amenities available locally and yet the same tired reasons are given for the losses – lack of support, use, and poor management. I could accept those excuses for a few years but after ten years, my conclusions are inept upper management, poor direction by leadership, and an uninformed and/or apathetic membership. To keep Ocean Pines a vital alive and thriving community, we need our combined amenities of sports courts, pools, golf course, parks and trails. And while amenities are not designed to be profit centers, they certainly need to be self-sustaining or at the least very close to self-sustaining. Due to the diverse nature of the Ocean Pines population, we need basketball, baseball, swimming, tennis, skateboarding, and golf as well the various walking and hiking trails and they need to be maintained and kept to the highest standards. If this is not done, we can expect to see property values see a steadily declining drop and that is not what most of us want.
3. Describe what you feel you would bring to the OPA BOD.
I pledge to invest the time necessary to serve the Association to the best of my abilities. My engineering and non-profit experience will be an asset in my service.
Teamwork is essential for the Board to accomplish what is best for the Association. I have led teams and served on teams in accomplishing stated goals. The Board is no place for personal egos or agendas, only what is best for the members.
Transparency has been demonstrated by leading the two-year effort to allow the members to observe the ballot counting process and to know the results immediately upon completion of the count. This was accomplished by perseverance and determination even with significant Board opposition. The Board must serve in a transparent manner. If elected, I will be one vote out of seven but I will always champion the cause for transparent action by the Board.
Accountability for my voice and my vote. Members may not agree with a position I take if elected to the Board but you have the right to know where I stand and the reasons why I stand there. I will respond to emails and phone calls.
Member – Community Associations Institute – Board Leadership Development Workshop
The education, experience, relentless drive and commitment to work with fellow Board members and the GM to improve the planning, budgeting, cash management and reporting systems necessary to reduce your assessment!
The processes currently used, and the way they are managed, is unacceptable.
I will insist:
-That the GM and Board engage homeowners through various channels of communication to determine their priorities for incorporation into a multiyear plan.
-That the GM and his staff prepare a multiyear plan for Board approval that includes operations, maintenance, capital spending, roadways and bulkheads with appropriate adjustments to the assessment. I will insist that no stockpiling of money for projects not planned by the GM and approved by the Board be included in any assessment calculations.
-that Public Works develop and communicate to you the schedules for maintaining the infrastructure that surrounds your home-bulkheads, roads, ditches, common areas and bridges. And that they are held accountable for meeting those schedules.
-that our business processes, budgeting, planning, management and reporting incorporate the best practices available and that all options, including outsourcing, be fully evaluated and considered by the Board.
-That we acknowledge your presence and comments at Board meetings.
I believe my experience in the building and electrical construction management will benefit all present and future construction projects. Being a small business owner I will try to ensure all spending is appropriate so as to avoid future million dollar deficits. Finally, I want to be the Voice for both residence and non- residence alike to try to ensure that everyone is represented fairly. I will only be a phone call away.
Bring to the Board? Professional and personally, one always says “fresh Eyes ”, “different ideas” ….a shopping list of what I could and would do To change things? Wow, depending on perspective, all amazing simple or Ridiculously hard?
My work history taught me how to work with disparate and most of The time confrontational groups, with plans and problems to be solved in the Here and now; to look at the present but never overlook the future.
One of the current board members on learning I was considering becoming A candidate, urged me to find out “everything about a subject” before bringing it Up. I see working as a Board Member would require knowing but learning, listening And not standing on prejudged conclusions; and always keeping the Pines And those that hopefully elect me as the main focus of my term.
One important goal would be to work to establish a far, far better way To communicate with the Board and with our General Manager. We have no Structured way to present questions nor to receive responses. A second would be respect those who serve on committees, so many who now feel that work is futile. Finally, to make the Pines a place where one can do as much or little as desired!! Stay safe, smile at those sunsets and vote for me!
I feel our community should be privy to more of the decision making that goes on in OP. I will work to make “closed door” meetings the exception, not the norm, and bring the decision making of the board off of email and into the public, monthly meetings. As a community we are filled with intelligent homeowners who are eager to give input and more importantly want to understand why decisions are being made. I will look to establish a response to public questions at board meetings before the next meeting so our community can see they are being heard. The money that is spent by the board and GM is our money, and we all have a right to know. I am simply a homeowner like the rest of you trying to make things better. I am honest and blunt. Some people may not like that but what you see is what I am. I do not have all the answers and do not protest to; however, I feel confident I can make a change with the right board members to correct our problems and enhance our positives.
My 35 years as a CEO included full operational control with direct responsibility for all contract negotiations, human resources, risk management, and oversight of all field operations. I know how to run a successful business top to bottom. My experience also includes leadership of non-profits and associations.
My strengths include not being beholden to any amenity or constituency in Ocean Pines; a desire to delegate and empower committees to encourage involvement and buy in; the ability to seek and secure consensus among my colleagues; and a demonstrated willingness to address issues others just talk about to include Food & Beverage, the CIP, and Employee benefits.
The primary responsibility I have as a board member is to maintain and protect the value of our homes and our facilities. I believe in the last nine months my service on the board has contributed to the righting of the ship, to actual actions and progress. We are experiencing an upgrade with a forward thinking collaborative operation in comparison to where we were a year ago. I hope and trust that I have earned your support.
I have served my communities in a variety of positions and roles. As a construction manager I insured that the taxpayer was well served by bring in a multitude of projects in a timely fashion and without an undue number of contract amendments. While I served as a shop steward for over 15 years, I made every effort possible that both the employees as well as the employer lived up to their responsibilities and obligations. While serving the two synagogues I belonged to in Philadelphia and Berlin I made every effort possible that the membership was given full value for their membership fees while insuring both institutions returned full service to the membership. As secretary treasurer I was responsible for tens of thousands of dollars in funds and their appropriate disbursement annually while fully accounting for every penny. As Master of my Masonic Lodge and the Ocean City Cruzers I have provided leadership to insure that membership of both communities are educated, entertained, and well served for their membership fees. Additionally I have been a regular contributor to the Salisbury Daily Times editorial pages since 2010; my views on fiscal policy are a matter of record there.
Seeking Questions for Candidates’ Forums
The Elections Committee is seeking questions from members of the Association for the first Candidates’ Forum. Residents are encouraged to submit questions, 75 words or less, by calling the Elections Committee Telephone Hotline at 410-208-3989, or emailing the Elections Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for submitting questions for the first Candidates’ Forum is Sunday, June 24. The deadline for submitting questions for the second Candidates’ Forum is Sunday, July 15.
Important Election Dates
The cutoff date for voter eligibility in Ocean Pines is July 3. Ballots will be mailed on July 6 and are due on Aug. 8. Votes will be counted on Aug. 10. The three winners, two serving three-year terms and the other serving a remaining one-year term due to a vacancy, will be validated during the annual meeting on Saturday, Aug. 11 at 10 a.m. at the Assateague Room in the Ocean Pines Community Center.
Key dates in the election process include:
Candidates’ Forum — June 27, 2018 at 7 p.m., Ocean Pines Yacht Club
Voter Eligibility Deadline — July 3, 2018
Ballots Mailed— July 6, 2018
2nd Candidates’ Forum— July 21, 2018 at 10 a.m., Ocean Pines Yacht Club
Ballot Deadline— August 8, 2018
Ballots Counted— August 10, 2018 at 10 a.m., Community Center
Annual Meeting— August 11, 2018 at 10 a.m., Community Center
For more information, contact Ocean Pines Elections Committee Chairperson Steve Habeger at email@example.com or Denise Sawyer, director of marketing and public relations for the Ocean Pines Association, at (410) 641-7717 ext. 3006 or firstname.lastname@example.org.