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


Non-meeting no big deal

The supposedly secret organizational meeting that didn’t happen in Ocean Pines last week before the full OPA board of directors met on Monday isn’t as big a deal as the subsequent mini uproar would suggest.
It might, at first blush, sound surreptitious on the part of directors Tom Terry and Pat Renaud, who tried and failed to arrange the gathering, but it is hardly the ethical or legal breach it’s being made out to be.
The meeting, which ostensibly was to coordinate a vote for the board’s officers in this new term, failed to materialize after new directors Cheryl Jacobs and Tom Herrick declined to attend.
Had the meeting taken place, however, it would have been no different than any other routine political caucus held to establish a possible new majority and its pecking order. Regardless of what anyone thinks about it, it’s a common practice that occurs at all political levels.
What these private sessions do engender, however, is interesting political gossip about ostensible new collaborations and new leadership.
Jacobs and Herrick were right to stay out of that mess, but not because the meeting was necessarily improper. More simply, their demurral allowed them to avoid the appearance of having signed onto a political alliance.
Whether they were actual members of the board upon their election or not until after they were sworn in is one of those arguments that should just go away. It makes no difference, because regardless of the answer – and the latter circumstance makes the most legal sense because taking the oath of office would be pointless otherwise – there is nothing anyone can do about it.
It is notable, however, that Terry and Renaud sought the opinion of OPA attorney Joe Moore before attempting to arrange the meeting and were advised that caucusing in that matter was acceptable.
That some people disagree with Moore’s interpretation of the situation is their prerogative, but it’s a hair-splitting exercise to which the board should say, “objection noted,” and move on to real business.