By Jack Chavez, Staff Writer
(Dec. 8, 2022) The Ocean Pines Strategic Planning Committee is looking to the year ahead now that the 2023 strategic plan is nearing passage.
During the committee’s meeting on Friday, committee chair Bernie McGorry led an agenda that included a discussion of the plan and the lessons the committee has learned from the process.
“My goal for the meeting was just to look back and figure out what we did well and what we could do better and also what can we focus on now that the strategic plan is almost finished,” Mcgorry said Monday. “From the strategic plan standpoint, I had a follow-up meeting with (OPA President) Doug Parks and with (board liaison) Stuart Lakernick. The board is still reviewing the plan and is basically in line with what I was looking for — trying to set some goals or what they refer to as ‘outcomes’ for the strategic plan.”
During the meeting, committee member Becky Colt-Ferguson laid out what she described as “positive steps” that the committee has made and suggested that the association look more into the role of social media.
“I think the positives that have been mentioned here, including the establishment of the mission, the goals, the values we’ve selected, engaging the board, eliciting community input, use of the technology and adoption of the survey, that process — not only by us but other amenities out there — even though our numbers were low, they were (all) excellent, positive steps,” Colt-Ferguson said.
“This past discussion recently was on communication and the use of technology such as social media platforms. That’s something I believe (our committee) will have to grapple with as we move forward. We’ve seen where social media can be a positive and where social media input can be a challenge. The question will be how does the association want to move forward in this type of environment to conduct this type of business?”
Colt-Ferguson also spoke on upcoming challenges, now that the plan is mostly out of the way.
“I think our challenge going forward will be to develop the strategies and operations we’ll use to make sure that the goals we have come to life,” she continued. “I think the engagement of all the committees will be important — the communication of what we’re doing and we’ve identified the surveys, town halls and evaluation processes key to getting that data for us.
“The group might want to consider the two (evaluation) processes we do each year. Perhaps one in January, perhaps one in July, so that we’re sending (feelers) out to get information on, so when we go back to budget in September, we have feedback. If we bundled that with two town halls a year … it gives people a chance who might not be connected online and are mobile to come.”
She added that there’s still a “big need” in the community for individuals who are not mobile.
On Monday, McGorry spoke about the new strategic plan and some of its key elements. He noted that strong financial stability is still the top priority.
From the survey, he was surprised to see infrastructure and community appearance so high since the association is already making moves in this area. He also maintained that it’s imperative to keep Ocean Pines’s high marks for safety in the upper echelon of statewide community safety.
When asked about what’s new, McGorry spoke of environmental concerns.
“The one thing that was new was touching on environmental stability that we don’t talk a lot about in Ocean Pines and yet we’re surrounded by water — whether it’s water or waste or whatever, just a little bit more when it comes to sustainability,” he said.
McGorry said he expects to continue working closely with the association to ensure these goals are met.
“Those were issues over the last couple of years concerning the board and interaction with the community. They made great strides in making the meetings accessible but there was a perception that those areas needed to be focused on and improved,” McGorry said.
“What our committee is going to do is work with the general manager and board to ensure those things are implemented and come to life.”