RA to Take a Look at Board Ethics, Governance

Reston Association Board/Credit: RAThe Reston Association Board of Directors is exploring the formation of an ethics committee and/or a Board Governance Committee.

The board will hold a work session on the idea Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. at RA Headquarters, 12001 Sunrise Valley Dr. The session is open to the public.

Since RA board members are volunteers and have various interests, employment and investments in the community, forming an ethics committee would add transparency to the organization.

Earlier this year, at-large Director Rachel Muir proposed the creation of an independent ethics committee made up of three RA general members and one RA Board director to investigate ethics complaints. Next Thursday’s meeting will discuss the need and feasibility for it.

Even if an ethics committee is incorporated into the responsibilities of the governance committee, many of the principles would be the same, says RA President Ken Knueven.

“Promoting an ethical culture is a key leadership responsibility in any organization,” said Knueven. “Transparency, commitment, integrity, equity, honor and stewardship, are governance standards for excellence. This board, working with the members, staff and other stakeholders is working to properly define governance roles and responsibilities of the Reston Association Board, CEO, Staff and Committees — separating organizational purpose (ENDS) from organizational administration (MEANS).”

RA has also met with BoardSource, a national organizational advisory group, last spring. Knueven said that after that consultation, the board agreed “we would create the methods and procedures to provide the standards, tools, and processes needed by future volunteer RA boards and staff ” to:

  • Establish how the Board would operate as one entity.
  • Establish standards of behavior, roles, commitments and code of ethical behaviors – to avoid “micro-governing” the officers, directors, or committees.
  • Define the CEO’s job description, and ground rules, by focusing decisions on Ends.

Knueven says the overall outcome of the Governance Committee would allow the board “to align and provide vision and strategic leadership — focusing on the what and why of RA’s operations through ends policies that define success, while the CEO and staff would be allowed to focus on who, how, when, and at what cost.

“It is important to state upfront — one best practice is to charge this Board Governance Committee, like all committees, to help the full board do its job,” Knueven said. “This committee’s work does not negate the need for full board discussion and debate on the most important issues.”

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