By Cindy Hoffman, Staff Writer
(July 27, 2023) Doug Parks has spent the past seven years serving the residents of Ocean Pines on the Board of Directors. He was elected president four times including this past year. July was his last board meeting as a director and president.
He has two achievements of which he is most proud. The first is hiring the Matt Ortt Company to run the food and beverage operations in Ocean Pines.
“The food and beverage operation was a disaster both from a financial and customer service perspective,” he said. “When I ran as a candidate, I argued that OPA did not have the core competency to run the food and beverage operation and there was no shame in admitting that shortcoming.”
He said it was the board’s responsibility to bring in an organization that could turn the operation around financially and develop it into an amenity the community could enjoy.
“It goes without saying that the Matt Ortt company accomplished that and much more,” he said.
He is also proud to have brought Comcast into Ocean Pines, providing competition for cable service provider Mediacom, which has had a lock on Ocean Pines since 1997.
“I had countless conversations with members complaining about the poor quality and service provided by Mediacom. Having been in the technology industry in my professional career, my board colleagues asked that I look at the possibility of bringing in another service provider.”
He said Comcast initially wanted to charge Ocean Pines residents a service fee to offset their cost of running the cabling infrastructure through the community.
“I declined and told them that OPA was not going to finance their installation and if they wanted to capture customers in the Pines they would need to make the investment absent of any costs to us.
“Fortunately, their corporate decision makers determined the investment was worthwhile and agreed to move forward. OPA now has a level of competition for these services and gives members an opportunity to choose a provider that meets their needs.”
As for the challenges Parks faced during his tenue, he cited two issues that were the most concerning. One was the election issue regarding Rick Farr’s eligibility to run for office (he currently serves on the board) and the other was the confrontation between director Tom Janasek and another board member.
He thought the election issue with Rick Farr could have been handled better. He said the process was rife with speculation and placed the secretary of the association in an untenable situation that unfortunately led that individual to resign from the board.
“The board majority at the time took the position to redo the election and the lawsuit filed against Ocean Pines that followed was tried in court where Ocean Pines ultimately lost the case.”
The second challenge was the incident with Tom Janasek. He thought the decision made by the board to not consider counsel’s advice led to a lawsuit, which it lost, costing the association approximately $48,000.
“Going forward, future boards need to be aware of the lessons learned from this case as they consider future decisions,” he said.
He sees the biggest challenge for the new board is the funding for the South Fire Station.
“The amount of funding required and the identification of funding sources to meet the project expenses will be a challenge for the board and the GM for the next several years,” he said. “The budget over the next several years will need to be managed as effectively as possible to minimize the burden on association members.”
He recommends the new board members focus on communication.
“No question or position on an issue should be overlooked or marginalized. I encourage the entire board to continue with frank and open discussions that we have had in the past on all matters and give everyone’s opinion consideration before arriving at a decision.
“And finally, I would advise them not to give all their efforts and attention to matters that only affect a small segment of the membership. I often refer to advice I received years ago from former Director Pat Supik during my first year on the board when she reminded me that there are 8,452 homes in OP and all of them need to be considered when making a decision.”
Parks said loves the many amenities that Ocean Pines has to offer.
“There is not one single thing that endears me to Ocean Pines, rather it’s the overall availability of amenities such as the Yacht Club, the golf course, the Beach Club and more that make our community a desirable place for my wife and I.
“Another benefit is our proximity to Ocean City and its beaches, especially when grandkids, family and friends come to visit. I am