Synopses of BOD Minutes 1980--
This section is constructed from a meticulous review of all official minutes of Ocean Resorts Shareholders and Board of Directors
meetings from 1980 forward. In several cases key players were asked to elaborate. These minutes are retained in
the CO-OP office for reference by any shareholder. Some Board members will be identified in the writings that follow,
and all may be identified by pointing the cursor on a navigation button entitled "A CO-OPERATIVE" where the proper
subheading will appear for clicking. The review of minutes demonstrates the cyclic nature of issues, such as maintenance,
budgeting, clashes of personalities, etc. It also shows the challenges over 3 decades of evolution from a campground into
a small community. While committees operated by shareholders have played a most vital part in O.R.'s evolution, their contributions
are not covered here unless there were specifics included in the Board minutes. Much of their activities are covered
elsewhere in this history. Not all significant events at O.R. are captured in the minutes and people often remember
matters differently. Nonetheless what follows is factual in relation to the minutes of record.
FIRST DECADE-- 1980 -- 1990
needs of the original campground were radically different from the little community that O.R. has become. Originally
there was little development or commercial activity and few condominiums on the island. What evolved into the administrative
offices was mostly a good old campground store, site rental agency and, until all lots were sold, a sales office. The
evolving cooperative operated originally under a 5 member Board of Directors with 3 of the positions, including the President,
occupied by Bryn Mawr officials. This continued until March 1981 after all the lots were sold, when the Board was composed
purely of shareholders and expanded to 7. At that time the new Ocean Resorts logo was adopted and the initial committees
were formed. They were Beautification and Maintenance, Communications and Grievance, and Newsletter.
The store had
a refrigerated unit that occupied nearly a quarter of what is now the office building. The store handled anything from
milk to charcoal plus served as a rental agency for camp sites. They also sold propane. In early years there was
a resident manager who lived in an elevated octagonal house just northwest of the current office building (old store).
What eventually became the Post Office was originally Comfort Station #1 and all resident's mail was processed through the
main office. Both unit sales and rentals were handled by the CO-OP.
There was little stability in OR management and administration
in the 1980's. Managers were hired and fired. Board members were removed or resigned. At one point the President,
Vice President, and Secretary resigned in mass. At another point the President resigned and the Vice President called
a special Board meeting and told them they could make him president of have nominations. They had nominations and someone
else was elected so he resigned. The Boards, in the early years, got into much or the day to day management. The
greatest problems were controlling lot lines, maintenance of all sorts, managing the finances, providing for security/entry
control (gate guard), and handling people issues. There were security issues, the store was robbed several times, and
in 1983 the company providing guard service was dismissed. It appears that committees came and went or had purposes
altered without Board action. By spring of 1986 there were 14 committees; those being Activities, Beautification
and Planning, By-Laws, Elections, Finance, Grievances, Lot Lines, Maintenance, Marina, Policies and Procedures, Pool, Security
and Traffic, Store, and Tennis. It is noteworthy that several of the very active early unit owners are still very active
in 2011. Ida Smith was into Activities matters, (See navigation button COMMITTEES - "subhead" Activities)
recovered from a heart attack, was on the Board in the mid 1980' and remains active in 2011. Likewise Alex Rabitaille
was into tennis and park maintenance matters (including trimming palm trees in the early years), was on the Board, and remains
active and supportive of O.R. in 2011. (See MEMBER'S WRITINGS - "My Fun at Ocean Resorts")
addition to lot line issues, the elevation of units that entered on wheels and became permanently fixed became a point of
contention. This initiated the first work toward what ended up in the By-Laws regarding elevations. In the fall
of 1986 there were rules that wheels and tires must be retained affixed to the vehicle or unit and the tires could not be
elevated more than 4 inches above the pad. Screen room add-ons were entering the picture and their regulation was a
challenge. The first speed bumps in the park were installed in 1986. Speed bumps were installed and removed several
times over the years. In 1987 the county Real Estate taxes were assigned by the county to the individual lot leasers
rather than in bulk to the cooperative. This allowed shareholders to take advantage of the tax relief for residents
By the fall of 1987 the Board decided to search for and hire a management company. This resulted in the hiring of OMNISERV
at the beginning of 1988 and Norton Field, Jr. entered the picture as their on site manager. By the fall of that year
CPM replaced OMNISERV on a management support contract, but Norton remained with O.R. as an O.R. employee.
Field arrived on the scene there were 14 employees including the manager. The management and administrative side ran the store,
kept the books, managed the rental operation, did all secretarial work, helped assure the park was operated in accord with
laws and rules, handled share sale/transfers, sited the placement of new units, and partially controlled park entry. The
maintenance staff maintained the water, sewer and electrical utilities operations, cut the grass and trees, collected trash
and brush, did the building housekeeping, operated the pool, maintained streets (and paths) and their lighting as well as
all building lighting, and many other essential services too numerous to mention. The manager frequently did double
duty in both administrative and maintenance areas. He could be seen out digging ditches if needed there. In those
days all record keeping was by the good old paper and pencil. There were adding machines to aid the math area and manual
typewriters to deal with formal documents. You can even find some old thermo-fax copies of documents in the archives.
Maintenance did not have the modern tools and problem detection devices they use today, nor did they travel to/from their
work sites in golf cart/tool carriers.
By the end of the 1980s, store usage and campsite rentals were on a decline and causing financial strain. A special
Reality Committee was formed to try to increase the rental traffic. It was decided to reduce the size of the store and
the cooler and add an office in the space gained. Also the park's electrical system was experience many outages, mostly
from being underpowered, so it was decided to upgrade it on a phased basis. There was also some commotion about the
election process. This was caused by misunderstanding of the By-Laws. Shirley Burlingham was commissioned to acquire
a computer for the CO-OP to help with administrative tasks. The decade ended with a massive freeze for Christmas Eve
in 1989. It is recorded that Daren Meyers, Norton Field, Alex Rabitaille, and Ray Smith worked very hard (to near exhaustion)
both Christmas eve and Christmas day to repair frozen and broken water lines. Both Ray and Alex supported O.R. on many
other key occasions. Incidentally, this was the first mention in minutes of Daren Meyers being employed at O.R.
THE THIRD DECADE 2000-2010
Y2K (2000) saw the store closed and the building remodeled with more office space, a game room and the cooler reduced to an
8 feet square space for committees to store food temporarily for their events. Even then its capacity was not used extensively
and it was expensive to operate. Only the sale of propane and commercial ice would continue. In April the Lintons left
the newspaper editorship and Bob and Marcia Staib took over. The gate/guard house was eliminated and it was announced
that there would be no more "live guard" after July. Many thought the guard was merely a high priced gate
opener anyway! Ray Breur got the COP (Civilian Observation Patrol) program started at O.R. with 13 people and by fall
there were 17 involved.
The sewers were gaining attention in 2001 because of leakage issues as well as clogging propensity. Once again Lee Edwards,
the engineer in residence, was commissioned to gain engineering proposals to resolve the problems. Also the Corporate
Documents Committee, which had been dormant for some time, was reformed under Shirley Burlingham to address several festering
issues. (For more information on the "Corporate Documents committee" see navigation button COMMITTEES.) The
deck boards of the boardwalk were replaced during this year.
Early in 2002, shortly before his term as President of the Board expired, John Egger led a town hall meeting attended by more
than a hundred to address Shareholder desires for the South Recreational Complex. Once again, just like in 1995, upgrading
and enlarging the Rec Hall was the number one desire. Later in the year the Pool Committee, which had been dormant for
some time, was re-established, headed by Nancy Hunter. They would have many issues to address, like pool and deck resurfacing,
pool temperature maintenance, pool covers, pool use rules, etc. It was determined that the pool would be closed for
resurfacing and repair in June/July. The Special Event Committee sponsored and paid for the roof extension over the
deck at the south end of the Rec Hall.
In 2003, six (6) changes to the By-Laws were proposed to the Board by the Corporate Documents Committee and all six were accepted
by the Board, forwarded to shareholders for vote, and approved. These provided for all voting by mailed secret ballot,
setback specifics by lot number being added to the By-Laws, permitting on site construction, removing unnecessary building
limitations, clarifying ramp/deck/step encroachment conditions, and restricting church and school activities. It was
decided to schedule the pool shut down for major overhaul during June and July. On April 17th an out of order
demonstration was staged at the Board meeting regarding what the demonstrators had found out about several employees working
part time at another park as Able Property Management and Maintenance. To fully evaluate the matter, an emergency Board
meeting was called for the ensuing Saturday, April 19th, to determine what to do. It was decided to take
a two team approach on the following Monday, with one team of Board members getting legal council, and the other team searching
the CO-OP offices to detect any impropriety. No improprieties were found and the employees did not have exclusive contracts
to work only with O.R. The Board did formulate a statement which the employees ultimately signed. It obligated
them to get board permission for future outside employment.
In July a new Finance Committee was chartered under Ralph Chrisey to draft the operating budget for the next budget
year. There had been a Finance Committee at times in the past but they had all dissolved and management had been drafting
the budget for the Board. It was hoped that with the new shareholder committee, some of the antagonism regarding the
budget would subside. See click for more on the Finance Committee.
An Information Systems Committee was formed. The URL “address
for a WEB site” was acquired, and the front end WEB site design was accomplished by a Shareholder who was a professional
WEB site designer. However, Ocean Resorts was not ready to move forward in the information age so the committee dissolved
and the effort died. Another Shareholder created an Email exchange site (sometimes called a chat room) for Ocean Resorts
residents. This was not an official Ocean Resorts activity and Ocean Resorts had no control of its operation.
It was administered by the Shareholder who created it and who admittedly was not neutral on submissions he permitted on the
2004 started with the need to recover from the affects
of much dissension stirred by a group of shareholders. Also a shareholder had found that a phrase had been left out
of the 1996 revision of the By-Laws and reported this to the state. It seems that the phrase “3 years staggered terms” was left out of the Bylaws compilation
done in 1996 and nobody had noticed it to the extent that the 3 years staggered terms continued unabated. The Shareholders
had not voted to make the change. The compilation had been processed by the attorney. Nonetheless, when the discrepancy
was revealed the attorney advised to follow the revised Bylaws even though the prior practice had been followed for years
and the Bylaws had not been knowingly revised by the Shareholders.
The Board election
resulted in 86% of unit owners voting, the highest on record. The new Board decided immediately to send the 7 proposed
By-Law changes to shareholders for approval. They also adopted a Code of Conduct for Board Members and all signed it.
A special shareholder meeting was called in March to addressed the proposed By-Law amendments to be voted on thereafter.
The voting that closed in April resulted in all passing comfortably. Thus the Board terms reverted to the 3 years staggered
terms as before, stucco and cement board being approved siding, steel and all county approved roofing but tile being
acceptable, electricity greater than 100 amps being permissible at owners installation expense with special management
approval, and budgeting process being clarified. The Board abolished the "3 on 3 at 3" meetings that had been
in use for nearly a year because participation was minimal and they were serving no useful purpose. This had been an
effort to improve direct board member/shareholder communications. Reference books for Board Members were established
to provide all background information for their responsibilities. Also, the Board voted to proceed with the purchase
of a new trash truck.
In April a law suit was filed against the President, the Manager, and the Administrative Manager by 4 unit owners. The
defense was handled through the CO-OP's insurance against such matters and the Board voted to give the employees paid time
off for defense preparations and reimbursement for any expenses incurred.
Things were reasonably quiet until fall when the twin
canes caused destruction in Ocean Resorts that heretofore had never been seen. (See "Hurricanes under Navigation
button (Continuing Activities & Developments for more on these monsters.) The Board gave the Manager the authority
to proceed with essential recovery actions without prior Board approval. Management and shareholders pulled together
like "superstars" to effect a recovery beyond imagination. The Board voted to send a proposition to shareholders
to replace the destroyed fence along A1A with a very attractive white vinyl one. By December the shareholders had voted
296 to 7 to do so. Jim Dittmar led a team of able bodied installers that produced the very attractive fence. There
were also actions taken to better withstand such an attack should such an event occur again. Generators were acquired
for essential operations, Norfolk pines were eliminated because of their javelin like limbs, letters went to the condos to
the north regarding destruction they caused from their materials raining on Ocean Resorts, and letters went to elected officials
regarding removal of hurricane destruction.
Early in 2005 the law suit of 4 shareholders against the president and management was dismissed with prejudice (cannot be
re-initiated) when the plaintiffs failed to provide sworn statements regarding their allegations. Nonetheless the lawsuit cost the CO-OP shareholders thousands because of the
insurance deductible and raised insurance rates the following year.
The existing Board was re-elected automatically
without ballot when no one else submitted resumes. They voted to eliminate the walk-in cooler in the office building
and acquire a new commercial refrigerator for the Rec Hall. By mid-year they had voted to start the use of Email for
those who wanted it to receive management bulletins and assessment statements that way, to replace pool heaters with heat
pumps to facilitate water cooling in the summer time, to go with ADT to install a security system with camera surveillance,
and to do away with the lending closet (baby/young child items and medical items (crutches, walkers, wheelchairs) based on
attorney advice. Also, approval was provided for the Special Events Committee to install an extended roof over the south
Rec Hall deck. Late in the year the newsletter was reinitiated under the control of Alyce Daino.
In January 2006
the Board voted to take the Rec Hall expansion and remodeling to shareholders for vote, and it was rejected by a sizeable
margin. Later vinyl fencing for the storage area failed to gain shareholder approval. The defibrillator for placement
at the Post Office was ordered and later it was decided to also place one at the pool/Rec hall area. Training courses
were provided on CPR for those who wanted it. However the "defibs" can be operated without training because they
are self instructing at time of use and newer guidelines on CPR make that technique very simple. In November, 29 speed
bumps were acquired to be placed at strategic places to reduce speeding. Also the propane tank was eliminated because
its use was dropping and it would have needed updating to comply with new laws.
In 2007 golf cart inspection was
initiated to combat improperly equipped carts. Also the insurance requirement was enforced with proof of insurance being
required at the office, just like for boats. Many more golf carts were appearing in the park. Because of tripping concerns
all speed bumps except the 2 at the entrances were removed. Also, an architect was to be acquired to draw up Rec hall renovation
plans. An Acquisition Committee was formed when the CO-OP faced the prospect of receiving a buy-out proposal.
The committee developed the process by which such a situation would be handled, but the recession ended the likelihood of
receiving a proposal for many years.
The pool vinyl fence was replaced in early 2008 with one that would not discolor from internal metal. The installation was
handled by a group of volunteers under the tutelage of Jim Dittmar. The election of board members resulted in the re-election
or two members plus the addition of one new member. During the year it was decided to do away with the security cameras
because salt air was minimizing their reliability. Much time of board meetings was spent dealing with specifics of the impending
Rec Hall modernization.
Since the applicants for board positions were fewer than openings in 2009, two applicants automatically became members and
one was appointed to fill out the board. While work on the Rec Hall modernization was proceeding early in the year,
the contractor submitted a proposal to concurrently redo the exterior with a cement based hardi-board. The board not
only liked that proposal but also thought it would be advisable to do the residing to the rest of the CO-OP buildings as reserve
funds permitted. The matter was put to shareholder vote in June and they provided a resounding approval 257 to 10.
By the time snow birds returned they had a new Rec Hall. They also returned to be informed that O.R. had tripled in
the size of land holdings. More can be found on this at "Land Holdings" Navigation subhead button under BEGINNINGS.
During the year the trash collection schedule was revised to minimize labor requirements and assure brush elimination prior
to grass cuttings. Brush and recyclable collection remained at once per week but garbage was put on a thrice weekly
schedule (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) as was customary for summertime.
Throughout this decade the boards and management were
dealing with much change as the park was evolving rapidly into a real community. While change always involves consternation
and resistance by some, one area of contention plagued the board and management throughout the decade. Payroll and working
hours issues were being raised throughout the decade and a few residents were filing complaints with state officials.
Fortunately no issues of substance were found, as was verified by state officials. Nonetheless these activities cost
the shareholders emotionally and financially.
THE SECOND DECADE 1990-2000
By March of
1990 the Board decided that Ocean Resorts could become self sufficient for its management with Norton Field well entrenched,
so it terminated the contract with CPM. Many improvements to common areas were in the mill. Lighting was installed
at the tennis courts so there could be night time play. (See Al Benson's article "A History of Ocean Resorts Park"
under navigation button "Members writings.") street lighting was upgraded. The boardwalk was built.
New roofs were being installed at the rate of 2 per year. The pool was re-marsited (new pool surface). The old diving
board was no longer operable and was not replaced. There were safety issues with it also. The Rec Hall was air conditioned
after several years of planning and advocacy. Comfort station 1 was converted to the Post Office after much study and
liaison with postal and county officials. The streets were re-named at that time. Unit owners were assessed a
one time fee of $45 for their postal lock boxes.
February 9, 1991 is the first mention in Board minutes
of Ann Marie Lester being on board. By that time Norton had assembled the key players of his management team that would
serve the park well for the next several decades. In April of 1992 Dixon Ticonderoga (Bryn Mawr's successor) sold the
2 acres of the water and sewage treatment facility to the County. Up until then Bryn Mawr had been operating it, at
times not totally satisfactorily. In the summer of 1992 the carpet was removed from the Rec Hall and replaced with tile.
Also the kitchen was created with half the financing coming from committees.
A new trash truck was purchased in 1993.
That's the truck that was still running (chugging) in 2010 thanks to several rebuilds and Daren Meyers welding skills.
The first report of the existence of the CAP committee was in April of 1993. This is the committee that was instrumental
in inventorying all capital assets and establishing the data base for excellent reserve management purposes. Joe Aldrich
was the committee chairman. They would reassess matters yearly and update the data base with the latest information.
This was then provided to management for establishing the reserve portion of the budget and assessment. The data base
was actually maintained by Shirley Burlingham on her home computer and was not totally transitioned to the CO-OP computers
until 2003. The tennis pavilion was built in 1993. (See Navigation Button COMMITTEES, subhead "Tennis")
Also the updated By-Laws were presented to and approved by the voters. These contained the updates to overcome many
of the problems with set backs, lot lines, screen room additions, unit sizes, and solve some unit elevation issues.
Late in 1993 the chain link cage for the garbage truck was built in an effort to prevent raccoons from playing havoc with
the garbage contents. Those rascals were still successful many times! Years ago the county trapped pesky raccoons
and turned them loose on North Hutchinson Island, thus creating a very large population. Now they use the Savannas
for their relocation.
In 1994 the paving or repaving of all streets was done. For this effort, Lee Edwards graciously volunteered to be the
engineer in charge, thus saving the CO-OP many thousands of dollars. Lee and Joe Aldrich also provided some of the technical
support for other park projects. They were frequently supported by Bob Robinson.
By 1995 a number of people were late
on paying their assessments and some were post dating checks and arguing that they had paid and shouldn't be assessed a penalty.
When no post dated checks were accepted and zero tolerance on tardy payments was instituted that financial matter straightened
out. The store and rental business, however, continued its decline as the Island became more developed and there were
discussions of eliminating those businesses. The propane tank service was moved from the center island to the storage
area. Comfort station 3 had a water leak and was in need of significant repair so they decided to create a small conference
or all purpose room while remodeling. Late in the year, the CO-OP finally received permission to trim mangroves as well
as sea grapes within certain limits. This had been pending for years. The observation alcove was added to the
boardwalk. The other very significant occurrence was the fact that the Board gave Vince and Anita D'Ambrosia permission
to build a house from scratch directly on their lot (a stick built house). It went very well, but no more "stick-builts"
would be permitted until the By-Laws were changed in 2002.
Early in 1996 revisions to Articles of Incorporation, Proprietary Lease and By-Laws were presented to the shareholders and
all changes were approved. The tennis courts were resurfaced. There was much discussion during the year regarding
trimming the area east of A1A. Late in the year P V Martins served notice that O.R. s boardwalk had been built encroaching
on their property. The encroachment problem with PV Martin was solved
early in 1997 by purchasing the involved sliver of land for $1,000, the money for this having been donated by several committees.
The retaining wall and vinyl fence were added at the swimming pool.
In 1998 there was momentum building to create bocce
courts and to find a good location for them. Also the newspaper was started by the Lintons. The Board said they
would not censor input and never did. Vince D'Ambrosia, aided by several volunteers removed the fireplace from the Rec
Hall, another great self help project. Comfort station 4 was remodeled with many more washers and driers. Permitting
for this and use of licensed tradesman became an issue at that time but it was worked out with a contractor pulling the permit
and being responsible with much of the manpower provided from O.R. maintenance personnel. Subsequently, this co-operative
process was used for several other initiatives.
1999 started out with a workshop where, among other things, hostility developed regarding employee working hours. This
simmered for several more years. Also, the auditor noted that all finances for normal operations were fine but that
the store and the rental activity should be looked at because they were operating at a deficit with no turnaround in sight.
Through Shirley Burlingham's diligence a quit claim deed was received from Dixon Ticonderoga for 30 acres on Queen's Cove
Peninsula. (More on this may be found by clicking on the Navigational Tool Button BEGINNINGS subhead "Land Holdings")
This would provide the basis for liaison with county officials regarding O.R. acquiring the 2 acres of county sanitary property
surrounded on 3 sides by O.R. These discussions continued for several years but were eventually abandoned when county
officials couldn't reach agreement.
THE FOURTH DECADE
decade got started radically different than its predecessor. The recession was affecting many residents adversely.
Unit values and selling prices at Ocean Resorts had dropped considerably and a number of units were on the market for extended
times. Also, the number of delinquent assessment payers was increasing, as was the number of foreclosures. Nonetheless,
the quality of life at Ocean Resorts remained at the top of the scale. Since the number of applicants for the board
was the same as the vacancies, there was no election necessary for the 2010 board. This year the snow birds returned
to find a totally upgraded exterior on the office building. It was redone with the same hardi-board as the Rec Hall
the prior year and all doors and windows were either replaced with hurricane rated enclosures or hurricane shutters were installed.
By the end of 2010 the History WEB site became operational for all to use.
Then in early 2011 the official cooperative WEB site was activated. In addition to CO-OP documents
and activities, this WEB site contains for sale and for rent listings.
Once again for the 2011 Board, there was no shareholder voting for Board members because
initially there were more vacancies (3) than applicants (2). This necessitated one appointment.
But there was also a resignation necessitating a second appointment. Shortly thereafter one of the
appointees resigned, necessitating a third appointment. It seems that being a Board member in recent years
is not a desirable responsibility. This Board first had to determine what to do with trash service and
then dive into a contentious budget environment.
The trash service issue centered on
how to operate the trash, recyclable and brush collection service because the old 1996 Ford truck which was relegated to
mostly recyclables and backup to the much newer compactor truck was no longer serviceable. It was decided to revert
to only one truck when a method was developed to use the compactor truck for recyclables without compacting.
An upgrade to the cooperative documents was
again taken to the Unit Owners for approval, but once again not enough voted to approve the proposals, so the Corporate
Documents Committee dissolved and the Bylaws in particular remained the conglomeration of amendments.
The Land Assets Committee, which had lead the effort that resulted
in Ocean Resorts gaining title to the 65+ acres of peninsula and island territory west of the CO-OP, was working on agreements
to assure land access to peninsula territory, but shareholder interference with the effort led to the dissolution of that
committee too. Both committees that dissolved were working with CO-OP attorneys and in fact had Unit Owners, who were also
attorneys, on the committees.
The budgetary issues were becoming more contentious, in step with worldwide
economics, although all foreclosures at Ocean Resorts were completed by 2012 and no new ones emerged. It
was discovered that the foot washing facility at the exit from the boardwalk was encroaching on the property to the south,
so it was moved to a corner of the boardwalk alcove near the ocean. Also a shower was added to improve
the capability. The boardwalk was in need of significant upgrade, but that was postponed until completion
of the A1A resurfacing and creation of a new crosswalk. The new crosswalk is about 50 feet south of the prior one and a new
pedestrian operated on demand full scale traffic light replaced the amber blinker that had existed for many years.
During the year, some members were espousing distrust about Board Mambers, Management, the Auditor,
missing and undocumented money, and important committees supporting Ocean Resorts operations. Management could not be trusted,
the Administrator was cooking the books, the Auditor was engaged for too many years and in cahoots with Management, there
was a conspiracy on the board, the Land Assets Committee was incompetent, the Corporate Documents Committee couldn't do
the job, the Finance Committee was producing much too expensive a budget picture, the Elections Committee couldn't be trusted,
The 2012 elections brought forth a slate of candidates from which to choose. 2012 also
brought to the forefront stressful issues about financial and other management concerns of some unit owners. By April
of 2012 Norton Field, the most effective and faithful manager for decades, gave a 30 day notice of resignation. Although
the Board persuaded him to stay for 90 days to give them time to provide for park management, by May he said he could no
longer continue and left. The Board immediately formed a committee to seek management replacement and they were busy
at the task when it was determined that the committee was not properly formed, so that effort had to be abandoned.
Daren Meyers had been encouraged to seek the job and had been declining, but he agreed to take the job on a trial basis.
Unfortunately, by October stress on the job caused him to request return to his maintenance management job, and the Board
granted the request, again leaving the CO-OP manager-less. As the “snow birds” were returning they found
the sea grapes by the ocean and the palm trees in the park had been trimmed as usual, plus the Post Office building had
been upgraded much like the Administration building had been 2 years earlier; but they also found Ocean Resorts management
needing to be reconstituted on a priority basis because it could not function in the manager-less state. The President
resigned from the Board in October with a new member appointed to replace him as a Board member with the Vice President
assuming the Presidency. Then the next month the President (prior Vice President) also resigned from being an officer
necessitating that the Board reconstitute its officer positions. By Thanksgiving of 2012 board members were working
feverishly to establish a contract with a management company because financial planning, election preparations and the busy
season in general was upon them and the manager-less condition was adversely affecting the cooperative.
A management company was selected by mid-November.
That selection was by a 5/2 Board vote, but the subsequent vote for contract approval was 7/0, with the contract being
signed December 17, 2012. By then , the Election Committee dissolved because the Board had agreed to give the election
responsibility to the new management company, even though the Bylaws state explicitly that the Election Committee will run
management company was the Continental Group and they agreed to start assuming management responsibilities immediately pending
the signing of the formal contract. The new manager, Gary Crosby was introduced at the November 29, 2012 Board Meeting.
Several day later the Administrative Manager gave her 30 day notice, but was told she could leave immediately.
The management company assured the CO-OP that they would take care of everything, including hiring a new auditor immediately.
They also agreed to hire the Ocean Resorts employees, providing them with either the Ocean Resorts or Continental benefits,
whichever was better for employees. The contract that was signed was nearly void of any description of what Continental
management was to do for Ocean Resorts even though extensive lists of management responsibilities were provided by shareholders
to Board Members working the contract. The contract did explicitly state that Continental would hire a new auditor
and run the election, but little else that the management must be responsible for. For example, it did not cover overseeing
the operation of the little city with management of all facilities and utilities, accomplishing share and lot transfers,
providing safety and security measures, gate control, committee and shareholder support, administering lot lines and structure
placements, enforcing Bylaws and Rules and Regulations, etc. It also only partially covered the employee benefits
agreement. Because of the Board and Unit Owners polarization and the management knowledge and experience that departed
without transition provisions, matters regressed further.
transfers which were pending, ceased with Norton Field's departure in April and new ones emerging in the meantime were still
not processed 10 months later and then they were referred to the attorney for processing at hundreds of dollars of extra
expense. The election process encountered errors with a bad date in the candidate solicitation letter and also on
the proxy form, thus voiding it, necessitating the expense of a new mailing and placing the annual meeting quorum matters
in jeopardy. Also, the ability to vote without the cost of mailing was eliminated and then restored. The entire
election process was a Bylaws violation.
Financial management matters fell in arrears
with the prior fiscal year close out financial statement not rendered, financial statements not issued and audit results
not issued until the Annual Unit Owner Meeting February 2013. This delay was a non-compliance with governing directives.
At the Annual Meeting in February 2013, the new auditor said that they completed the audit and found everything to
be in order, and that Ocean Resorts finances were in great shape. Also, the biggest problem encountered on the financial
side was that the authorized signatures for banking were not updated in a timely manner. This was normally done immediately
after the new Board was seated.
By the time the Snow Birds
were departing in the spring of 2013, the new Manager, Gary Crosby, was taking hold and moving the park forward with planned
repair and upgrades so that Ocean Resorts might escape from the contentious atmosphere that had prevailed the prior years.
While numerous improvements to the common areas were made, the turmoil that precipitated the move to contracted management
continued. There was even a Board motion toward terminate the management firm (now called First Service) but the motion
failed. Many improvements had been made and more were in process. The more significant ones were replacement
of the tennis court playing surface and court lighting, replacing bocce court playing surface, upgrading the paint at several
locations, repainting the pump house and replacing its roof, replacing 6 main water line valves, and updating the air handling
capability for the office building. Also, the long awaited replacement of the board walk was done after the A1A highway
refurbishment was completed and a pedestrian traffic light installed in lieu of the blinking amber light. But the
contentious atmosphere continued to the extent that another motion was made to terminate the management contractor.
This one was improper in that it was not on the agenda, but nonetheless it failed like the earlier one. Finally a
committee was created to do a critical review of the management posture. Their analysis showed that there were potential
savings in reverting to self-management, and a unanimous Board vote supported that position. This started a busy 2
months for the Board for they had to establish a management system, hire a bookkeeper, be prepared to take over all
financial matters, transition the old employees back to Ocean Resorts and most critically have a Licensed Community Association
Manager (LCAM) in place, and all done by June. The LCAM, David Shelstad, who the management company had provided
January 2014 was highly satisfactory and willing to stay at Ocean Resorts. This made the task more manageable for he did a fine job in moving the transition tasks to a successful conclusion. While this was going
on, the Marina was refurbished with ramp extension, new seawall caps and tie backs and some posts replaced.
Unfortunately, the many things that were not covered in the contract did not get done with Shareholder records, lot
records, voting records, addressing records, park access controls, etc. all in need of resurection and update/validation.
Disruption of the voting process, caused problems, including an extra election, and the line item detail of reserves
disappeared. Budgeting became a nightmare with all the extraordinary happenings and the corporate documents were so
disorganized and out of date that it was difficult to determine what was proper for guidance and enforcement. By 2015
recovery from the various disruptions was still occupying an inordinate part of management time. The contracted management
adventure had cost each shareholder more than $150 above and beyond all normal Col-op operating expenses and recovery actions
were still in process.
As we moved through 2015, much progress
was made in reconstituting and backing up CO-OP
records, having a full fiscal year of stable financial operations,
less costly banking, return of
share transfer processing from the attorney back to co-op accomplishment and saving
thousands of dollars, etc. Unfortunately several Board Members decided unilaterally to engage
in a clandestine
operation to remove both the Manager and the Maintenance Supervisor
simultaneously in peak season while maintenance
was already operating one person short.
Maybe they felt like they must uphold the average of one manager departure
per year, as
experience for the last five years. It seems like they decided that noisy management dissenters
could be appeased or quieted by such action (much like curing hemorrhoids by brushing your
teeth). Much of the noise
came from shareholders protesting the enforcement of their Bylaws.
As a result of Board member actions many of the
old faithful shareholders, who had
volunteered hundreds of hours to the CO-OP's well- being, decided they did not want
to be any
part of what was happening. Thus the volunteer trash collectors resigned, as did the
Beautification, the Newspaper staff, the WEB Master for two WEB sites, the
Board Secretary, and the Board Treasurer,
etc. A Board member candidate also removed
himself, so you now have a Board with the majority not being elected to
their positions. Other
activities also suffered. Organized bocce ceased, and the Annual Shareholder Meeting and
Board member recognition was a shadow of its prior self. Maybe the worst is yet to be felt,
because a law suit and
multiple state investigations of complaints loom on the horizon and the
CO-OP is floundering very short handed and
manager-less during peak season. Security gates
have been missing weeks on end and there is also the potential loss
of thousands of dollars with contractor nonperformance regarding installation of handicap elevators. With this update
to Ocean Resorts history I also resign from CO-OP support efforts. John Leaman, Feb. 2016