The Ocean Pines Bylaws Committee looked at several Ocean Pines Association resolutions in need of possible review during its meeting on Friday.
Before stepping out of the meeting for a family emergency, committee chair Jim Trummel pointed out concerns he had with resolution M-01, the resolution governing policy and compliance procedures for declarations of restrictions and arc guideline violations, particularly the timeliness of working through a violation. He called the resolution the “top priority” for review.
“The concern I have is that there are two problems, or at least one basic problem, with the (resolution),” Trummel stated.
“It (used to have) multiple steps in it that seem to take an awfully long time to get anything done. It would go through two or three steps before anything even got done and got to the attorney, and the attorney was understood to send out a letter to the violator to the effect ‘if you don’t fix it now we’re going to take action.’ … I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that from the time the violation was documented and sent out to the violating property owner, if it did not get resolved then it got to the attorney and … it could take 90 days or more,” he added.
While the current resolution has cut down on some of the red tape, Trummel said that an outlying issue is that there is now “court action” for Ocean Pines to enforce violations.
“My concern is that was one of the selling points (for the resolution). Although there is the authority for the general manager to not automatically forward to the attorney for court action — you can go to the board first … I think it’s important that we clarify just how this resolution is intended to work.”
“It’s well overdue for review, I believe.”
After the meeting, Trummel broke down the other resolutions the committee is considering.
Resolutions B-03 and B-04 cover meetings of association members and the development of Board agendas, respectively. Trummel said that he’s noticed that agendas for the annual association members meetings and board of directors meetings don’t match what’s outlined in the resolution.
Resolution M-06 covers procedures for the election of members to the board of directors and voting on referendums.
“There are (a couple) things in there that need to be looked at,” Trummel said.
He continued that there is no requirement in either Maryland’s state corporate code article or home association article for a corporate or homeowners election to be conducted anonymously. Nor is there anything in Ocean Pines’ documents that require it as such.
“The process that’s been in our resolution is what amounts to a double envelope process which identifies what lot it’s coming from. That’s in effect been an anonymous balloting process,” he said.
The concern with the resolution is that the Elections Committee has said it deals with a time crunch in adding candidates.
“It does not say how long you’ll be able to apply as an additional candidate if the circumstances have made available,” Trummel said. “The date of the resolution is the third Friday in June. The Elections Committee is concerned that that late of a date makes it hard for them to get everything done and get materials out to the membership for the voting itself.”
He added that duplicate ballots and their identification need to be rewritten in the resolution. The Bylaws Committee will give Elections its feedback and recommend that the issues be addressed after the upcoming elections.
B-01, which Trummel described as the “mother of all resolutions” is a declaration of procedures for adoption and classification of board resolutions to establish and maintain the entire book of resolutions. This resolution, he said, is the one that is most in the purview of the Bylaws Committee.
“It’s our responsibility to come to the board with a specific amendment proposal (for this resolution),” he said. “One thing I was going to identify is that there’s something of a vagueness we may need to consider in recommending legal review.”
Other resolutions under the committee’s microscope include F-04, the delinquent assessment resolution and M-08, the association manuals resolution.
“When we look for council review (for a violation), it may need to be tightened up somewhat when it can be expected, what signatures are required,” Trummel said of F-04.
M-08 was a “good idea at the time,” Trummel said. The resolution identifies what a manual is, but in its 12 years of existence, has never been updated.
“It gives a review requirement and core review dates conducted and so on,” he said. “It’s never been followed up on. What it literally requires is a resolution due date, every two years, go in and see whether it’s being followed. There’s no real function in the association to do that sort of thing.”
The lengthy laundry list of resolutions to review is due in part to the fact that the committee was shelved for 13 months due to the covid-19 pandemic.
“We’re way behind (because of the pandemic) and secondly there is nothing before the committee for us to work on except to make sure we’re in order on resolutions,” Trummel said. “This is a dry spell where we don’t have something coming to us (or) a mandate from the board that says what we need to be working on. That’s why we are where we are.”
This story appears in the print version of Bayside Gazette on May 19, 2022.