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Zawacki hoping for return to board

(May 28, 2015) Bill Zawacki, who served on the Ocean Pines Association board of directors six years ago, is working to return to that body in this year’s election.
According to the 75-year-old resident, “not much has changed” since he last served.
“It’s the same damned thing,” he said. “The board hasn’t gotten any better,” he said.
A native of Washington State, Zawacki spent much of his youth traveling across the country while his father served in the U.S. Navy.
“I went to 17 schools before I got out of high school,” he said. “I started the first grade in Washington and finished it in Newport R. I. That kind of thing happened all the time.”
Zawacki spent 35 years with Xerox, starting as an equipment technician and making $80 a week when the company only had a few thousand employees. By the end of his career, he was manager of business services at the Xerox Document University in Leesburg, Va., working with a budget of $33 million and supervising more than 60 employees.
He moved to Ocean Pines in 2004, and was elected to the board of directors in 2006, serving as treasurer, president and vice-president in successive years.
Personal and health reasons, he said, prevented him from seeking a second term.
Zawacki said he decided to seek office this year for many of the same reasons he had when he originally ran. He said he looked back recently at things he had posted on a local Internet forum in 2006 and compared them to messages posted this year.
One think that Zawacki said irks him is the current board’s lack of procedural consistency.
“They won’t follow the resolutions of publishing motions, how to properly hold votes and things like that,” he said. “Some of the things that have gone on are just silly.”
In one case, Zawacki said, a motion was made to appoint new committee members, raising the total number of members to more than the policy allowed. Rather than retract the appointments, the board changed the policy.
“They said, ‘We’ll just rewrite the policy and we’ll count this as the first reading,’” he said. “’We haven’t written it yet, but we can read it.’ It’s that kind of thing that drives me nuts.”
Zawacki also said the board often holds votes before listening to public comments, taking away the opportunity to hear from the membership. When he was president, he said, the board held workshop meetings that encouraged public comments before the regular board meetings took place.
“Everybody could talk,” he said. “Everybody could add what they wanted to say about what was going on, and then the following day we would have our business meeting, where literally we just voted on stuff. And all the stuff had already been discussed with everybody.”
The last straw, Zawacki said, was during the recent board meeting in which board member Marty Clarke made a motion on yacht club operations, including the option to close it during the winter months. This year the club posted revenue losses of more than $150,000 between October and April.
Six out of seven directors voted against the motion.
“What killed it was [Clarke] wanted to right now stop taking reservations [for special events at the facility],” Zawacki said. “None of the other six sitting there even bothered to say, ‘I’d like to amend the motion.’ Now you have no motion, you have no plan, you’re right now at $154,000 loss and next year’s budget says you’re going to make $63,000? How do you get there?”
One of the hottest issues during the last election was General Manager Bob Thompson’s new contract and the perception that his power had increased. Zawacki believes that could come up again during this cycle.
“Based on what I can see looking in from the outside, I don’t like a lot of the things he’s done,” Zawacki said. “But, on the other hand, I’m not getting the inside information that the board would have on dealing with him.”
Zawacki said he would like to see more board oversight of the general manager.
“To me, the board makes policy, then the GM carries it out,” he said. “Whether or not the yacht club should close is, to me, a policy. It shouldn’t be just left up to Bob. There’s a lot of things where the GM either just ignores things or just doesn’t do them. I don’t know how it’s happening.”
The faulty splash pad at the Swim and Racquet Club Pool, for example, could have been handled with a little more finesse, according to Zawacki.
“They did the new board members’ walkthrough of all the facilities, and they pointed that out last September that that thing was screwed up. They can’t use it,” Zawacki said. “And here we are now, we’re getting ready to open in a week, and nothing’s been done. Looking in from the outside the man seems very defensive. He needs to be held accountable.”