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RA Board Continues Negotiations Over Lake House Budget Review Contract

by Jennifer van der Kleut — December 8, 2016 at 2:45 pm 9 Comments

New Lake House(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) Members of the Reston Association Board of Directors held an executive session after a public meeting Wednesday night to continue contract discussions with MediaWorld, the firm it voted to put in charge of a review of the Tetra/Lake House’s budget overrun.

According to RA’s director of communications, Mike Leone, the board ended up taking no action at the meeting.

That means the matter continues as it has for roughly two-and-a-half months since the RA board voted 4-3 to task MediaWorld with the review.

The board has not yet announced any future meetings.

If you’re just catching up to speed with the issue, here’s a little background:

After renovations at Lake House (formerly the Tetra Building) were found to be nearly triple what was originally budgeted, a review of the handling of the funds was deemed necessary. Earlier this year, RA moved $430,000 from its operating budget to help cover the project’s deficit.

All of that came after many citizens said they feel the RA overpaid to purchase the building in the first place. Fairfax County tax estimates put its value at closer to $1.2 million.

Following completion of the project, the RA Board formed a panel consisting of residents and staff to audit the entire project’s books, though many citizens and staff members urged the board to hire an independent firm to ensure the process was completely impartial. An initial search found, however, that such a firm could cost in the six figures.

A compromise was found in MediaWorld, who agreed to do the review for just $1 if RA members could be used to perform some of the necessary work.

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  • 30yearsinreston

    Aren’t closed meetings of taxpayer funded qangos illegal ?

    • Burden of proof

      If you suspect criminal liability in excess of $10000 you can get the FBI involved.

  • Edward Calvert

    Apparently they have, in effect, lawyer ed up, so receive due process, lawyer client relationship privilege, etc
    Similar to an IRS audit / tax court ?

  • Terry Maynard

    Indeed, the independence of the Mediaworld consulting team was a key issue in last night’s two hour open discussion of the Tetra contracting imbroglio. Team members highlighted the absolute need to be independent, which meant they couldn’t agree to terms in the 17-page draft contract calling for:

    1. Mediaworld’s notes and internal communications were to
    be considered RA’s property. It was highlighted that in every case anyone knew about, attorney’s, auditor’s, or other contractor’s notes & internal communications were the property of the consultant, not the client.

    2. RA could decide who could and could not be on the team. That would utterly destroy its independence. If an employee mis-behaved, RA could bring it to Mediaworld’s attention and they could dismiss the team member–or RA could cancel the contract. But it can’t pick and choose team members.

    3. RA had the authority to modify the report the team submitted and publish
    it. No, it is the team’s report for RA to accept or reject although it will have the opportunity to review the draft and provide comments, corrections, etc., before the team submits its final version.

    Confidentiality was the other area of major concern, including the unheard of draft contract terms holding individual members personally libel for any mishandling of internal RA information.

    The two-hour open session ended when the Board decided to go into executive session, ostensibly to provide counsel guidance in moving quickly to a contract agreement. We’ll see…..

    I will be posting a lengthy summary of the meeting on the Reston 20/20 blog over the weekend–probably Sunday covering all the issues and providing some perspective. Too much going on to do it before then.

    Stay tuned.

    • 30yearsinreston

      Thanks

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Why, dear gawd, can’t we level the Outhouse and be done with it?

    • Greg

      Best advice yet.

    • 30yearsinreston

      That would be the most cost effective, therefore it won’t be an option for RA

  • John Farrell

    RA stonewalling of this fiasco continues unabated.

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