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Parks returns as president

Unanimous vote gives seat back to former OPA leader during board reorganization

(Sept. 1, 2022) The Ocean Pines Board of Directors is beginning a new year with longtime board member Doug Parks back in the president’s seat.

Parks, 67, a native of Pennsylvania who, for 30 years, worked in the information technology sector, was again selected as president by unanimous vote of fellow board members during the reorganization meeting on Thursday, Aug. 25.

He previously served as board president from 2017-2019.

Other officers, also selected by unanimous vote, are Rick Farr, vice president; Stuart Lakernick, secretary; and Monica Rakowski, treasurer.

Linda Martin was voted in as assistant secretary and Steve Phillips as assistant treasurer.

Lerch Early and Brewer will be retained as legal counsel.

It was determined board meetings will be at 9 a.m. on the third Saturday of each month with the locations to be determined.

Meeting dates are Sept. 24, Oct. 15, Nov. 19,  Dec. 17,  Jan. 21,  Feb. 18,  March 18,  April 15, May 20, June 17 and July 15.

Parks said there will also be at least two town hall meetings. Topics will be determined, as will the times, dates and locations of those meetings.

Parks, who was appointed to the board in 2016, was elected in 2017 and again for a second, three-year term in 2020.

Asked before one election to define his skills, he said he has years of corporate leadership ability, having been a chief information officer and a technology business leader at several high-profile companies.

“Business acumen is another skill I bring as in my professional life, I have negotiated many contracts, prepared fiscal budgets and managed professional staffs at the corporate level. Additionally, I have consulted on business, technical, and staffing issues throughout my career.

“I focus on the aspect of teamwork and getting folks to interact in an open and professional manner in addressing an issue. Different perspectives and viewpoints are one of the most important aspects of my decision making and I strive to ensure that team concept is maintained as we conduct business and address issues.

“I enjoy the role of mediator and have done so on many occasions with the intent of acknowledging that differing points of view are valid and that with commitment a consensus can be reached. These skills and talents are paramount to being a director on the board of OPA,” Parks said at the time.

Board members may serve two, consecutive three-year terms, then must be off the board at least one year before running again. Parks said he doubts he will run for the board again.

“Prior to my first year on the board, I also chaired the By-Laws and Resolutions Committee. I have been on the board eight years, by design and by desire, and I’m very glad I did that. I love sharing my experience and helping the community. I might look at a committee position next year,” he said this week.

“I have a lot of energy, so I have to use it up somehow. There are only so many projects around the house you can do, painting and things like that. So, my first inclination next year is looking at a committee position,” he said.

While being a board member takes considerable time and dedication, Parks said it has gotten easier over the years “knowing which issues require immediate attention and which issues require careful thought and planning, which have to be on front burner.”

An effective board president is a good listener, first, and, secondly, “aware your fellow board members bring value to the board and you should ensure you leverage them as resources,” said Parks, who, with his wife, Stevie, has a son and daughter and three grandchildren.

“The president has no more authority than anybody on the board, except, he or she would sign a contact, for example. It’s important to recognize the rest of the board members bring value and as president I need to recognize that value,” he said.

In the coming year, he said it’s important to him to concentrate on upgrades, and probably replacement of, the fire station in South Ocean Pines.

“I think it’s going to take longer than a year. I want to make sure we are doing all we can to prepare to put ourselves in a position for that project to be a success. It looks like that is where we are going to go, to build a new one, but it is early in the process.

“There is no finality to it but over the years they have fixed things — upgrades, minor upgrades  — and they sort of realized there is no return on that investment. The only way to ensure they have functionality in the future, is to build a new building,” he said.

Early cost estimates are in the $8.3 million range and Ocean Pines has a commitment of $1.3 million in state funding, Parks said, crediting Sen. Mary Beth Carozza and Delegate Wayne Hartman.