RA Will Form Task Force to Review Lake House Budgeting

by Karen Goff June 13, 2016 at 10:30 am 33 Comments

New Lake HouseReston Association is calling for a independent review of the Lake House deficit  — with a task force made up primarily of RA Board members.

The RA Board voted May 26 to move $430,000 from its operating fund to cover cost overruns on the project. RA bought the property, then known as the Tetra Building, for $2.6 million in July 2015. The purchase was approved by a member referendum.

Several factors, including previous tenant Tetra Partners opting not to rent back for 2016 and renovation costs that were much more than expected, led to the deficit, RA officials said last month.

RA hopes to finish renovations promptly and begin programming at the 3,000-square-foot building on the shores of Lake Newport. RA expects to bring in more than $100,000 annually from event rentals and after-school care.

In addition to voting in May to transfer the money, the board also voted to start a review of Lake House 2016 Budgeting.

According to a proposal by Michael Sanio, Board Governance Chair, the association will convene a Lake House Budget Task Force that will consist of several RA Board of Directors members; a rep from RA’s Fiscal Committee; and an external community member.

The Board Operations Committee meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday at RA Headquarters, 12001 Sunrise Valley Dr. There will be a public hearing portion, where members can offer their opinion on the Lake House budgeting review process.

The Lake House Task Force would be expected to provide its final report to the RA Board on Sept. 28. RA documents said the task force will:

  • Review budgets and referendum information prepared and distributed by the RA, as well as the process utilized to prepare those documents.
  • Review the steps taken for the acquisition and remodel of the Lake House to ensure that the correct financial, accounting and project management/controls were followed.
  • Recommend revised RA processes to ensure future construction projects and operating budgets are accurate and conform to best practice industry standards.

  • JoeInReston

    “Reston Association is calling for a independent review of the Lake House deficit — with a task force made up primarily of RA Board members.”

    Ok, I’ll bite with the obvious question…

    How can it be an independent review if the task force is made up primarily of RA Board members? Wouldn’t that be an internal review?

    • LakeNewportLady

      My thoughts exactly. Maybe they consider it independent because they’ve clearly never reviewed a document on this purchase to-date.

    • cRAzy

      They got confused because both words begin with “i.”

  • Rational Reston

    The RA Board is quickly acting on this oversight of the RA Board by the RA Board before the RA Board ratifies a new Ethics Code of Conduct.

  • Ming the Merciless

    I can already predict the conclusion:

    “Nothing to see here, the system worked, our top people have everything under control, everybody go back to bed.”

    • Reston Realist

      They could have it done overnight. Here’s the full text:

      “Nothing to see here, folks. Move along, move along!”

  • JoeInReston

    How long should a review take, particularly for an non-independent, internal review like this one? September 28 seems like an awfully long time.

  • Reston.All.Grown.Up

    I have stopped reading news about Reston Association and started reading some fiction as a form of escapism.

    My first play, “Much Ado About Nothing”

  • cosmo
  • cRAzy

    You can read the draft terms of reference for this inside job over at Reston 20/20: http://reston2020.blogspot.com/2016/06/ra-board-governance-committee-to.html

    • JoeInReston

      Nice find. Spoiler alert conclusion:

      “It is a task force designed not to do a thorough job of examining why RA and the Board of Directors moved to buy the Tetra property at twice its market price, misled the public in the process, and did not disclose near-triple cost overruns until the Board was pressed to act immediately, among other shortcomings. In short, the proposed RA task force is a sham.”

  • cRAzy

    At first I thought this was like the Cosa Nostra investigating its own crimes, but I’ve decided it’s more like the 3 (or 9) Stooges trying find their way out of a dark closet.

    How pathetic can the RA Board get???? Good grief!

  • No One of Consequence

    Oh man this is terrible luck… seriously, who could have foreseen something like this happening before the referendum barely passed?

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Water under the bridge. Flatten the place and put in dog park.

  • Lake Anne Fan

    What a sham! A “TAsk Force” consisting of RA Directors, the same folks who got us into this mess?!? How is this either genuine “fact finding” or a review that could restore eroded Association members’s confidence. Why did Sanio write the Task Force workscope BEFORE the Committee even met to discuss what the review might consist of? Certainly one of the recall petitions should have Mike Sanio’s name on it.

    • NamingNames

      Oh a petition launched by John Lovaas! (aka Lake Anne Fan) there’s something to take seriously! Or NOT!

  • Visionary

    I’ve figured out solution for the Lake House deficit. Take the top salaries from RA that total up to $430,000 and fire every single one of them. Problem solved.

  • Why do you bother?

    ” with a task force made up primarily of RA Board members.”

    Stop! I’m laughing too hard! Yer killin’ me!

  • Overrunhell

    Is anyone here interested in focusing the conversation on the “knee-bone-connected-to-the-thigh-bone” implementation process needed to make some changes to the RA quagmire?

    Or does everybody here just enjoy flapping their tongues, feeding more empty calories into their obese derrieres, letting the day go by?

    Seriously, everyone from the uber data analyst, who hasn’t been listened to once by anyone in authority, to so called “realist” write a lot, complain a lot, but at this point, offer little in substantive solutions.

    Anyone interested in formulating a group who’s mission is to:

    Identify the mission and objectives to hold RA accountable
    Formalize outreach
    Identify and recruit innovative thought leaders (not the wannabes like Maynard, Petrine, etc.)
    Establish a fact-based implementation plan
    Identify critical tasks with a project plan, etc

    Or, are we here just to enjoy topping each other with our creative wit…? If that’s the case, I’ll keep it light going forward…

    • Guest

      Try Reston Recall:



      • Overrunhell

        So, the BIG effort is to have a recall…”Making certain that the Tetra mistake never repeats…” Really? So, here are a few simple questions:

        How? What does it mean? Why is this the critical path? What does success look like? When will this happen? Who’s leading, who’s involved? How will “certainty,” as described above, be achieved?

        Wake me up when the 32 likes get to something interesting. I take it they’re going to solve world hunger too?

        This is why Mike M is spot on.

    • Reston Realist

      Wow! You’re getting as wordy as that Maynard guy you hate so much and yet you say nothing that makes any sense.

      • Overrunhell

        Yup, I expected as much.

    • SickOfTheBS

      I am interested in helping move forward that process you outlined. I am not a leader but can do whatever grunt work needs to get done. I attempt to speak my opinion in a non-confrontational way and would look forward to helping define an action/results oriented approach to getting Tetra under control of the dues paying membership. I am somewhat biased in an end result which would sell the property and cut losses followed by loss reimbursement; however I am all ears to other ideas.

      • Overrunhell

        I think it would be important to focus on solutions that go into the fabric of the the RA governance process, leveraging the governing documents in our favor.

        Start thinking about person(s) that are able to lead. Name recognition is not important, we need capable, innovative people that may be hesitant at first to step up to this mess. One thing is for sure — avoid at all costs, the conspiracy theorists that continually show up here.

        I’ve reached out to some folks that focus on the law in these areas to gather some possible areas of challenge.

        I think it’s important for those who would be dedicated to making this happen, get together and identify direction and objectives. This is a path to real change, not vengeance, or some form of reprisal. This will take a little time to have proper impact.

        The idea here is to change the fabric of governance within RA — that impacts all future RA boards, not just this one.

        Don’t let the bellyachers here influence your ideas, the same old wailing will get us nowhere.

        • SickOfTheBS

          The comments section here is probably not the best platform to move this forward. Other than coffee, I don’t have a suggestion on how to progress. Any ideas? Would you be willing to publish an OpEd here?

  • 30yearsinreston

    Another coverup
    Investigating themselves and producing a ‘report’ in 4 months
    They are hoping it will die down by then and the sheep will have been truly fleeced

  • John Farrell

    Can you say “cover-up” “sham” and “conflict of interest,” boys and girls?


    Apparently neither can the defenders of the Tetra fiasco on the RA Board either.

    • John Lovaas

      Tonight, June 14, at 6 PM the Governance Committee of RA, the body formalizing the coverup, will meet to initiate their “independent” review. A minority in the committee will oppose the coverup, but they will not succeed unless they get some community support.
      Bring your critical comments and positive suggestions for a genuinely independent examination of the Tetra debacle to date.
      The Board pays little attention to RestonNow or other media.
      But if 10 or 15 unhappy assessment payers come and look them in the eye, on the record, the odds of affecting outcomes grow.
      Hope to see some of you tonight!

      • Eric Carr

        I will be there tonight. I want to watch this fiasco in person.

  • Eric

    Time to sign that recall petition. This is like a Leslie Nielsen movie, except not funny.

  • Greg

    “…with a task force made up primarily of RA Board members.” #doomed.

  • Terry Maynard

    As has been universally pointed out in the comments below, the proposed RA Tetra financial study makes a fool of Restonians and anything resembling due and fair process for examining the many major problems (intentional or not) in the Tetra acquisition and renovation process.

    I strongly encourage you (and all Restonians) to attend this evening’s meeting (6PM) and make your points known to the Board Governance Committee during its public comment period. You have 3 minutes each, 5 minutes if you represent a local group. Restonians deserve better than this self-licking lollipop.

    Regrettably, I am out town and won’t be able to attend, but you know (and so does the RA Board) that I will be there with you in spirit.


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