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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Letters to the Editor

Response to Clarke statements
I’m writing to set the record straight with regard to OPA Board Member Marty Clarke’s statements, which appeared in the Golf article by Josh Davis in the March 12, 2015 edition of the Bayside Gazette. My delay in responding is due to my only recently seeing the article, as I have been away. Apparently, during my absence, there has been quite a bit of discussion and controversy regarding the Board’s decision to replace Billy Casper Golf with Landscapes Unlimited. Comparisons have been made between the current selection process and that conducted in 2010, which I led.
I do not know what was done, or not done, in the current process, and will not comment on it. My reason for responding is to address comments made by Mr. Clarke that the current process of vetting Landscapes Unlimited was not less than was done in 2010. He trivializes the extensive work, which I and three other OPA members performed in evaluating whether or not to outsource Golf and Food and Beverage operations and identifying a qualified company to recommend to the Board, of which I was then a member. Mr. Clarke is quoted as stating: “The fact is that Pete Gomsak and a couple of guys on the Committee actually went to some of the courses. I don’t know that that’s necessary. They went and played golf. God love ‘em.”
In late June 2010, following a Board motion to undertake the evaluation of outsourcing and the identification of a suitable company to engage, Board President Bill Rakow asked me to lead this effort. I agreed and the Outsourcing Task Force was created to carry out the Board’s charge. Our group of four (originally five) then commenced an extensive effort to evaluate the benefits of outsourcing, evaluate competing companies and develop recommendations to the Board. Our efforts included more than 15 Task Force meetings, six individual meetings with the other Directors (which did not include Mr. Clarke as he was then off the Board), as well as 3 days of site visits to golf clubs. Our first meeting was on July 8 and, over the next 10 weeks; we performed our assignment, resulting in the delivery, on Sept. 15, to each Board member not only our recommendations, but an extensive report supporting them. We then made a Power Point presentation, on Sept. 22, at a public Board meeting, which was well attended by the membership. We understood that our efforts needed to be completed by mid-Sept. so that the Board could reach a decision in October. This was important because, if the decision was made to outsource Golf Operations, the company selected needed to be in place by November to adequately plan for and market the upcoming spring golf season.
Our activities did indeed include visits to golf clubs managed by the two finalist firms we had selected, Billy Casper Golf and Kemper Sports. These visits were not for the purpose of playing golf, but rather to meet with various individuals to learn what their experiences had been, not only with regard to performance by their respective management companies, but also their evaluation process and transition experience. We met not only with the General Manager of each club, but privately with Board officers and members, committee members, club members and Golf Course Superintendents. It required two separate trips to visit the five clubs. One was a day trip to Williamsburg, Va. The other was a two-day trip to Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland. Following a 7 a.m. departure from Ocean Pines, we had full schedules. Following the completion of our meetings at our fifth and final club on the last day of our two-day trip, we accepted the offer of Swan Point Golf Club in La Plata, Md. to play their golf course.  So, rather than departing for OP at 2 p.m., we decided to play golf and actually played about 12 holes before departing for OP and arriving home around 9 p.m. We played no other golf in any of our club visits. So, there certainly was no golf boondoggle, as was suggested by Mr. Clarke.
We found that our visits to clients of the management companies under consideration and getting direct feedback from their clients was invaluable to our efforts. We also, however, contacted certain former clients as part of our process.
I hope the above is sufficient to convey that our Task Force did much more than play a few rounds of golf, as suggested by Mr. Clarke.
Pete Gomsak, Former OPA
Director and Chair of the
2010 Outsourcing Task Force