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Five candidates vying for two Ocean Pines Board of Directors seats

A total of five Ocean Pines residents will vie for two seats on the community’s board of directors in the 2024 election.

OPA vote sign

Ocean Pines Vote sign
File photo

By Tara Fischer, Staff Writer 

Five Ocean Pines residents have thrown their hats in the ring for the two seats in the community’s 2024 Board of Directors election. Incumbents Director Jeff Heavner and President Rick Farr are among the campaigners. 

Joining the sitting members in the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors race are Ocean Pines residents Jerry Murphy, who announced his candidacy on Friday, May 10, and Amy Peck and Sherrie Clifford, who both filed on Wednesday, May 8. The contestants took to social media to share their efforts for office. 

Farr announced his campaign for reelection on the Ocean Pines- Get Involved Facebook page. “I humbly ask for your vote for reelection to the Board of Directors in Ocean Pines,” he wrote. “As one local media source reported, ‘The Board of Directors, with Rick Farr as president, presides over one of the most prosperous and successful periods in the history of Ocean Pines.’ I appreciate our incredible residents of Ocean Pines and look forward to continuing my service to our community.” 

Heavner’s wife, Anne Warner Heavner, urged voters, writing on Facebook’s Ocean Pines-Get Involved, that “… Jeff is not selfish with his time. He volunteers to rehabilitate rescued horses and support the growth of Ocean Pines. He has no personal agenda either; he just has a passion for making things better. Jeff is asking for your vote for his 2024 reelection. Experience and proven leadership to get the job done.” 

Murphy, who campaigned last year but did not obtain a seat on the board, took to the same Facebook page to share his intention to run in the election. “I would love to serve the community that has been an integral part of my life for 50-plus years,” he said. 

Clifford and Peck announced their campaigns on the Ocean Pines ROC Facebook page. 

As the election draws near, the current Board of Directors met in a closed session on Thursday, May 9. The following day, the body released a statement regarding comments made on social media. 

“…the Board is aware that Facebook commentary published on the ‘Ocean Pines ROC’ Facebook page and elsewhere has either implicitly or explicitly accused sitting OPA Board members, without basis, of engaging in corruption, fraud, ‘film-flam,’ and kickbacks,” the release reads. 

Candidates Clifford and Peck notably share their opinions of the board on the mentioned Facebook page. On April 26, Clifford called out the governing body and the Election Committee, which she claims has had secret meetings, for a lack of transparency . 

The statement calls these comments, “baseless smearing of volunteer Board members…false and potentially defamatory…and serves no constructive purpose, does not advance healthy public discourse or debate, discourages participation in governance by qualified and talented volunteers who might consider running for the Board, and cultivates an unpleasant and counter-productive atmosphere and dynamic within our community.”

The statement was signed by Farr, Vice President Stuart Lakernick, Treasurer Monica Rakowski, and Directors Elaine Brady, John Latham, and Heavner. Director Steve Jacobs’ signature was missing. 

For OPA homeowners intending to vote in the upcoming election, the eligibility deadline is Tuesday, July 2. The last day to cast ballots is Tuesday, Aug. 6, by 4 p.m., and the outcome will be announced on Thursday, Aug. 8. The candidate forum has yet to be scheduled.

This story appears in the May 16, 2024, print edition of the Bayside Gazette.