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RA to Look at Ethics Solutions at Tuesday Meeting

by Karen Goff — December 15, 2014 at 9:00 am 1 Comment

Reston Association 50The Reston Association Board will discuss at a special Tuesday work session whether to establish an Ethics Advisory Committee or whether oversight of board ethics can be handled with a Governance Committee. The board will also discuss the process of identifying the standards that should be included in a Board Code of Conduct.

No one conflict or situation has led to the discussions, said RA Board President Ken Knueven. He says oversight would add transparency and a review process to the organization in order to avoid conflicts.

“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).”

A new board governance committee would be comprised of the RA Vice President; Secretary, two other Board Directors; and, as a non-voting member, the Chief Executive Officer, board documents show.

In addition to leadership and strategic planning, the governance committee would also review board conduct, including regularly reviewing board’s practices regarding director communications and conflict of interest, as well as receiving and investigating formal complaints.

The separate ethics committee is the suggestion of At-Large director Rachel Muir, who says in her board presentation that RA is a $38 million organization and needs independent oversight.

A successful independent ethics committee would promote transparency and openness; provide knowledge of ethics for civic organizations; have specific knowledge of Reston Association, including its structure, responsibilities and resources and of the Reston community; and effectively communicate to the RA Board, RA and Reston residents, says Muir.

Muir says the ethics committee should be comprised of four members from Reston civic organizations; two Reston residents recommended by Reston Citizens Association; two persons recommended by the Friends of Reston; one RA Board Member; and one RA employee, (non-voting).

The duties of of the Advisory Committee would include developing a code of ethics for the Board of Directors based on current law, (Property Owners Association Act), the Reston Association Deed and By-Laws and current resolutions by the Board; provide a consolidated code for approval by the Board; periodically review RA Board Actions and report to the board, (for example, conflict of interest statements);and develop process for Reston residents to express concerns before the Committee, (open meetings).

Do you have opinions on either of these proposals? There will be a member comment session at the open meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters, 12001 Sunrise Valley Dr.

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