(Feb. 12, 2021) After holding a pair of closed session meetings over an ethics and conduct complaint against an unnamed director the week before, the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors last Thursday held a special meeting lasting only several minutes to dismiss the allegations.
Director Dr. Colette Horn opened the brief virtual meeting on Feb. 4 by stating that an association employee had filed a complaint alleging a current board member violated Resolution B-08 - Director and Officer Ethics and Conduct.
Reading from a prepared statement, Horn said the matter was brought to the boards’ attention on Jan. 26.
“A thorough investigation of the complaint was conducted by OPA Counsel,” she said.
Within three days, another closed session meeting took place on Jan. 29 to review the results of the investigation.
“After reviewing the complaint and the results of the investigation the board found that there was no violation of Resolution B-08,” she said.
According to reports from Ocean Pines Forum moderator Joe Reynolds, the complaint was filed against Ocean Pines President Larry Perrone by Director of Amenities and Operational Logistics Colby Phillips alleging he created a hostile workplace.
Association governing documents mandate that ethics and conduct grievances filed against board members are addressed within two weeks of receipt in a public meeting.
Further, Resolution B-08 states meetings to consider complaints can be held in closed session only if authorized by the Maryland HOA act.
“For the purpose of determining authority to hold such meetings in closed session, Directors shall be considered employees of the Association,” the resolution states.
Reynolds, noting Phillips’ charges were filed through the association’s HR Department, wondered if qualifying Perrone as an employee created a conflict.
“Who did the HR lawyer investigating the charges for the board represent?” he wrote.
If a motion to remove a board member is introduced, an open meeting is required to allow testimony.
Remedies for violations include, but are not limited to, removal from the board for cause.
Resolution B08 also restricts board members from providing specific direction to association management, employees or vendors without prior authorization.
Additionally, B08 prohibits board members from retaliating against an employee alleging impropriety.
After Horn read the statement about the alleged violation into public record, Perrone moved to adjourn the meeting, which brought forth audible sighs of disbelief from among the roughly dozen online viewers.
Bayside Gazette/Ocean City Today reached out to Phillips who declined to comment on the case.