Special meeting called for after Colby Phillips resigns position with Ocean Pines
(Feb. 26, 2021) The possible removal of a member of the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors will be decided at a special meeting, following a board vote Saturday apparently in response to circumstances that might have led to the resignation of Director of Amenities Colby Phillips last week.
No director in question was named and no date for a meeting has been scheduled, but the board’s consideration of one member’s continued service was called for Saturday by Director Tom Janasek and seconded by Director Doug Parks.
“This has been a very sad week in the history of Ocean Pines,” he said. “We lost two individuals this week who worked tirelessly for the betterment of Ocean Pines, Jeff Knepper and Colby Phillips,” he said.
Janasek said between the unfortunate passing of Knepper and Phillips leaving her post, the association lost a wealth of institutional knowledge.
“The way she was treated was disgraceful and, by the way, the vote was not unanimous,” he said.
Janasek opined that the recent friction between Phillips and OPA President Larry Perrone is indicative of ongoing tensions.
“There’s been a pattern of behavior on this board that includes threats of legal action against directors, blatant lies to influence … votes and interference with committees managing important projects,” he said.
Janasek reminded board members their principal charge is serving the community, not executing personal agendas.
“This is not a board of one or two and that is what it’s become,” he said. “Therefore, I’m requesting a meeting to remove an officer of the board from their current position.”
Parks concurred with Janasek’s sentiments and seconded the meeting request.
“I’d like to join that list and put in a formal request to call for a meeting to look at removing a director,” he said.
Former Director Esther Diller said board members should refrain from interfering with operational issues.
“I think this board should be embarrassed,” she said. “You people work for us, [and] you’re not an elitist group.”
Director Frank Daly said the recent tensions obviously struck a chord with the community based on the fact that more than 80 people were viewing the virtual meeting in real time.
“The community should pay attention to what’s going on,” he said. “We have had two [Resolution] B-08 hearings in 60 days.”
Daly said events over the last few months indicate that Resolution B-08, which outlines Director and Officer Ethics and Conduct, needs revamping.
Resolution B-08 restricts board members from providing specific direction to association management, employees or vendors without prior authorization. Additionally, B-08 prohibits board members from retaliating against an employee alleging impropriety.
“The B-08 process itself is off the rails,” he said. “It’s a bad process and by May 20 we either fix it or I make a motion to rescind.”
Daly said the association should embrace transparency.
“We are not the Central Intelligence Agency,” he said. “This cloak of secrecy that ties hands is extremely unfair … to the community and … the people involved.”
Janasek highlighted the importance of avoiding missteps made in the past.
“I’ve been here longer than all the directors combined and I never thought I would see it revert back to a ‘good-old-boys’ network,” he said. “We need to work for Ocean Pines.”
On Tuesday, General Manager John Viola issued a statement announcing Phillips officially resigned on Feb. 18.
“She will continue to teach the swim aerobics class until March 31,” he said. “We are thankful for Colby’s contributions. Please join me in wishing her the very best in her life and career endeavors.”