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


OPA may add staff to improve revenues, operations

OCEAN PINES — OPA General Manager Bob Thompson presented the board of directors and the membership with his plan to increase revenue and better improve association operations with the addition of three new positions for the fiscal 2012/2013 budget.
The positions: a facilities engineer, a human resources manager, and an aquatics instructor will be funded by a shift of other position expenses and will not require additional funding by the membership.
The facilities manager position will be funded in part by the decision not to replace Kerry Nelson, the Public Works Director who resigned earlier this year.
Thompson praised Nelson’s former assistant, who was elevated to chief, but said the new position would require a different skill set than has been required of public works personnel.
The facilities engineer will take over the jobs formerly completed by the members of public works department in their spare time. Thomspon said it wasn’t a criticism of the job that has been done by public works over the years, but rather the admission that putting one professional in charge of maintaining the facilities is necessary for all the departments to get their jobs done efficiently.
As the case continues for replacing the Yacht and Country Clubs, part of the concern has been how poorly the buildings have been maintained over the years. 
Many of the maintenance problems have arisen from the prohibitive cost of legitimate fixes being reduced by temporary or in-house fixes that were less expensive.
By establishing a position that requires facilities maintenance skills, the OPA management will be better able to maintain the facilities correctly.
The proposed human resources director was a budget item Thompson proposed last year but the position was cut in favor of a subscription service to handle HR questions. Thompson said he and the staff found the service to be inadequate. 
Although part of the subscription included live help, the hold times were so long they actually had a negative affect on productivity. The Internet-based portion of the service provided plenty of data but little in the way of interpretation.
Moreover, Thompson argued, the problem with the subscription service was most plainly revealed as the staff attempted to write job descriptions. 
Understanding the process and the operational needs and challenges from an in-house perspective is necessary if the OPA is to provide a comprehensive personnel management system.
The proposed aquatics director is to be a revenue-driving position aimed at both improving the Sports Core Pool’s bottom line and its image. For the past several years, the OPA has acted as middle man to swim instructors who, for a small fee, can hold lessons at the pool. 
By adding an aquatics director who can act as an instructor as well, Thompson said the OPA will be able to increase the department’s revenue while providing better service to participants.
Other proposed personnel changes include increasing the number of seasonal staff members with an aim toward getting better control over costs, especially at the Yacht Club. 
When talking about operational cost overruns there, Thompson pointed to the fact that last season some employees were collecting 20-30 hours in overtime weekly. 
He pointed to this as a primary reason for the cost overruns that dug so deeply into what was actually a pretty good year for Yacht Club restaurant revenue.
Since, unlike last year, the OPA has no Golf club employees — Billy Casper Golf is now responsible for all costs at the golf course and Tern Grille — and will not at this time be adding a food and beverage director, the OPA can add these positions with no operational cost changes for the coming fiscal year.
In addition to appealing for the new positions, Thompson is asking the board of directors for options to bestow raises where he feels they are warranted.While he is asking for an aggregate of 3 percent, Thompson was clear that it was not a call for across-the-board raises.
Instead, he wants the discretion to offer merit raises where appropriate, proportionate to an employees salary and the higher standards to which he expects to hold them in the coming year. This means some employees may get as much as a 5 percent raise while others may get no raise at all.
The board will vote on the final budget at the 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21 meeting in the Assateague Room of the Ocean Pines Country Club. The next OPA board of directors budget meeting will be 3 p.m. Wednesday Feb. 8.