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Ocean Pines Association Board incumbents want more time in office 

Ocean Pines Association incumbents Rick Farr and Jeff Heavner defend their positions on the Ocean Pines Association’s Board of Directors as the election for the governing body’s two available seats nears.


By Tara Fischer, Staff Writer 

Incumbents Rick Farr and Jeff Heavner defend their positions on the Ocean Pines Association’s Board of Directors as the election for the governing body’s two available seats nears. 

Ocean Pines residents Sherrie Clifford, Amy Peck, and Jerry Murphy are set to challenge President Farr and Director Heavner. Voters will receive their ballots in July and have until Tuesday, Aug. 6, to submit the document. The results will be announced on Thursday, Aug. 8. 

Heavner and his wife Anne purchased their first Ocean Pines home in 2017. “I love the unique lifestyle that the community offers in a moderate four-season environment,” the candidate said. 

Heavner said that his leadership skills, which will continue to aid him as a director, were developed by attending the United States Naval Academy, serving in the Navy aboard the USS Midway to protect Arabian Sea global shipping lanes as an intelligence officer, “developing future intelligence officers as an instructor, managing for decades in a broad range of positions at ExxonMobil and serving as a member of a leadership team that directed the safest and most prosperous $3 billion lubricant business.” 

The defending contestant maintains that General Manager John Viola has pushed Ocean Pines in a positive direction. Heavner intends to focus on the strategic plan that protects the Ocean Pines residents’ quality of life and property values by prioritizing safety initiatives, neighborhood appearance, excellent amenities, and infrastructure maintenance. 

“I use my skills as a proud member of your executive team relentlessly focused on conducting business to improve things,” Heavner said. “No drama or personal agenda. This Board has worked with the general manager to deliver community wins, from beautification through a renewed effort to address Compliance, Permit, and Inspection violations to infrastructure maintenance with replacement of an aging golf course irrigation system, all while reducing assessments.”

Farr, who grew up in Bowie and served 20 years in the United States Air Force, has also opted to defend his OPA Board of Directors seat. 

Farr said that during his military career, he participated in combat operations like Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Operation Noble Eagle, and Operation Southern Watch. He is a five-time recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal and Citation for Valor for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Farr is the Chief Human Resource Officer for the Town of Easton and serves on the committee for the Worcester County Veterans Memorial Foundation. 

“I love Ocean Pines and serving our awesome community and the people that reside within it,” the leader said. “Under my direction as president, the current board has been described as one of the most prosperous periods in Ocean Pines’ history. I want to keep the momentum going…” 

The president said the association has a positive year-to-date operating fund variance of over $1.2 million. The uplifting economic situation of the community has occurred in conjunction with General Manager John Viola and the sitting board. 

“My executive leadership experience and skillset in the military, corporate, and government industries has given me the financial acumen, discernment, collaboration, and motivation necessary to be successful,” Farr said. 

If re-elected, Farr intends to prioritize new long-term contracts with Viola, ensuring the general manager continues to serve community operations and the Matt Ortt Companies to guarantee they run the association’s food and beverage needs. 

The president also hopes to support the Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Department in their efforts to renovate the fire station, complete a new gazebo at the Worcester County Veterans Memorial before Veterans Day in November, revamp the racquet sports building, and help the community’s police department with recruiting and retention. 

Farr intends to improve the community by continuing to have “transparent and open communication with our residents; continue to partner with our local, county and state officials in promoting Ocean Pines; continue to recognize our residents that volunteer in serving on committees; continue our beautification efforts throughout Ocean Pines; reduce CPI violations; installation of new electronic signage in specific areas of Ocean Pines that make sense.”

The sitting board president currently participates in food and clothes drives throughout the year for Diakonia and the Toys for Tots initiative, which focuses on providing for less fortunate children. He also creates care packages for military members serving overseas and supplies food to veterans without families during the holidays.  

As for his current work as president, Farr said he has enjoyed meeting Ocean Pines residents at the community amenities, supporting local businesses and restaurants, walking through the neighborhood, and listening to homeowner concerns. 

Farr is particularly proud of what he and his peers have accomplished while serving on the OPA Board of Directors, such as reducing annual assessments yearly, increasing the operating funds, enhancing amenities, improving the Ocean Pines Police Department’s salaries, and the beautification efforts on the North Gate Bridge, the Yacht Club, and the Beach Club. 

“I love boating in Ocean Pines and all the wonderful amenities offered,” Farr maintained.  “I enjoy meeting and talking to our residents, understanding any concern they may have, and ensuring our operations team addresses those concerns to their satisfaction.” 

This story appears in the May 30, 2024, print edition of the Bayside Gazette.