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Ocean Pines Association board hopefuls outline reasons for seeking board seats

Three Ocean Pines residents — Amy Peck, Sherrie Clifford, and Jerry Murphy— have thrown their hats into the ring to challenge incumbents Rick Farr and Jeff Heavner for the two available seats on the association’s Board of Directors.


By Tara Fischer, Staff Writer 

Three residents have thrown their hats into the ring to challenge incumbents Rick Farr and Jeff Heavner for the two available seats on the Ocean Pines Association’s Board of Directors. 

Ocean Pines citizens Amy Peck, Sherrie Clifford, and Jerry Murphy have announced their board of directors’ election candidacy. Tuesday, Aug. 6, is the last day for voters to cast their ballots, and the results will be announced on Thursday, Aug. 8. 

Candidate Amy Peck opted to run because she believes the community “needs a more balanced board.”  

“I did not want an unopposed election with a 6-1 supermajority because the best governance includes a respectful, open discussion with multiple perspectives, ideas, and solutions,” she said. “…There seems to be a trend of if the supermajority doesn’t agree with you, or if you have a different idea, perspective, or concern – stomp them out…  I see the value of committees’ expertise and listening to homeowners.”

Peck and her husband, the chair of the Environmental Advisory Committee, purchased their home in 2002. The Ocean Pines resident has experience as an educator and has served other homeowner associations, land preservation groups, and environmental assemblies. 

During her time in the community, Peck has volunteered, including with the OC Arts Council and a plethora of recreation and park events. On May 18, the contestant participated in her fifth Bay Day. The OPA Board of Directors hopeful also helps Clifford with ROC Buzz, the neighborhood podcast. 

Peck intends to restore OPA’s relationship with the Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Department if elected to the board of directors. 

“The negotiations, or lack thereof, have been alarming,” she said. “… I’ve toured the Fire Station and understand what they need … The needs of the OPVFD are not cosmetic. They need a decontamination station, separate bathrooms and sleeping quarters, and a separate spot for their equipment.  I believe the property owners want their HOA dollars going to safety.”

Peck also hopes to continue her “crusade for transparency.” This effort would include conducting regular community-wide surveys and allowing hybrid public comments. 

A new initiative Peck hopes to launch is Seniors Helping Seniors. As the population in Ocean Pines skews older, and many elderly individuals intend to age in their homes but require assistance, the candidate believes utilizing dedicated volunteers to work this program would enhance the community’s livability. 

“I’ve met so many nice people in Ocean Pines, and I appreciate their support,” Peck said. “Ocean Pines is a special place, and protecting Ocean Pines’ legacy is a passion of mine.”

Clifford has also thrown her hat into the election ring. The candidate worked in the technology sector as a keypunch operator before transitioning to computer operator and then as a programmer. 

Throughout her experience, which includes founding her own Data Management and Software Development company, Clifford has garnered skills in contract negotiation, software design and development, database design and distribution, real-time systems, data feed protocols, and graphic design. 

The contestant purchased her Ocean Pines home in August of 2020. A year later, she founded the Ocean Pines ROC Facebook group and incorporated ROC as a Maryland News and Media Corporation in December 2022. 

Clifford is a member of the Ocean Pines Women’s Golf League and the Worcester County Chamber of Commerce and is in two Ocean Pines bowling leagues. Additionally, she participated in the Ocean Pines Season Kickoff Expo event on Saturday, April 20. She was also on the 2022 Elections Search Committee and donated to the fire department and the Christmas shopping initiative, among others. 

Clifford’s intention for running for the OPA Board of Directors is to “listen to homeowners.” 

“We need to unify the community and restore trust and civility,” she said. “There is a need for real leadership. One with the experience and skills to negotiate, lead, and communicate efficiently and effectively…We need independent and collaborative thinking individuals who will work together to accomplish a common goal that will benefit everyone in our community.”

If elected, Clifford intends to increase board accountability and transparency. She said the governing body should not “stonewall” residents from requesting specific information. 

The OPA Board of Directors candidate also hopes to repair the relationship between the association and the OPVFD, eliminate email and text decisions, enforce more in-person meetings, allow community members to make public comments virtually, and “review, restore, maintain all committees and ensure that our committee members are not working in vain, that their recommendations are being heard and that meetings are well documented, recorded, and published on a timely basis.” 

“I see that our community is in desperate need of individuals that will work together as a team, including the input and consideration from all board members,” Clifford said. “A board open to true transparency, accountability, trust, integrity, a code of ethics, and collaboration. A board that is responsive to all community members and treats everyone with respect and consideration.” 

Murphy, who ran for the board last year but was beat out by current director Jeff Heavner, has thrown his hat back into the ring. 

“If, at first, you don’t succeed, try again,” the OPA Board of Directors hopeful maintained. 

Murphy came to Ocean Pines in the mid-1970s after graduating college. His original intention was to build houses. After constructing homes, he was given an opportunity to help open the Berlin McDonalds. He worked there for years before moving back to Baltimore, where he had a paper packaging distribution company. The contestant currently sells real estate for One Bethesda Long and Foster. 

Murphy said that if elected, he would bring familiarity with board participation, specifically his service with the Washington Parks Apartment Building Board. 

“That building is in great shape, and I hope to bring some of the experience here,” he said. “Ocean Pines has been my life since I was a young man. I want to give my time back to the community and be an asset to Ocean Pines.”

The candidate said that he will attend Zoom meetings for the committee meetings, listen to and act on homeowner concerns, and cultivate a positive relationship with the fire department. Murphy currently serves on the Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, attends board meetings, and speaks with directors on issues of which they may not be aware.

“Ocean Pines has been in its golden years for the last three to four years, and I would like to see that continue,” Murphy said. “A lot of good things have happened in Ocean Pines. There is increased Yacht Club and Beach Club participation and new restaurants. The activities used to cost us money, but now they make us money. John Viola is doing a great job, and I would like to participate and see that continue.” 

“Living in Ocean Pines is like living on a cruise ship,” he continued. “The community has many activities and positive things; there is always something for every age.” 

This story appears in the May 31, 2024, print edition of the Bayside Gazette.