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Fulkerson: Challenges Present Opportunities for Reston Association

by Dave Emke — April 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm 24 Comments

Speaking at Reston Association’s annual Members’ Meeting on Tuesday, CEO Cate Fulkerson said she is looking to capitalize on the opportunities presented by challenges RA has faced in the past year.

“For anyone who knows my leadership style, I’m not one who walks away from a challenge or ignores difficulties,” Fulkerson said as she addressed the audience. “I believe in taking responsibility for errors, correcting them so they do not happen again, and I believe in finding opportunity in difficulty.”

Specifically, the difficulties of which Fulkerson spoke included the controversy surrounding the Tetra/Lake House renovation, concerns about how RA handles conflicts of interest, and the public input process regarding the Lake Newport soccer field proposal. Moving forward, Fulkerson said she understands the importance of building community trust and continuing on the path of leading sustainable change.

Fulkerson said she and her staff have a number of important tasks to complete in order for that to happen. The first, she said, is to establish a solid foundation with the incoming board — based, she said, on mutual respect, reciprocal communications and shared purpose.

The CEO said the StoneTurn Group review of the Tetra/Lake House deal highlighted several ways Reston Association can work toward bettering internal control policies and procedures for project management. She said she is developing a proposal along with RA CFO Robert Wood that includes the conduct of an internal process control and a walk-through review of RA’s purchasing practices, contract processing and capital-project management.

“The goal will be to have a new system in place by August of this year, so we can take the opportunity to invite StoneTurn to audit the Association in 2018 and to make sure the new processes and policies are being followed,” Fulkerson said.

Continuing work to establish a Code of Ethics for Reston Association is also on Fulkerson’s list of tasks, as she said it is of utmost importance as they work to build community trust.

In regard to new development, Fulkerson said Reston National Golf Course, Tall Oaks Village Center and St. John’s Wood are just some examples of “how vitally important it is for Reston Association to keep on track with leading sustainable change by vigilantly monitoring land-use happenings and advocating for trees, trails and thoughtful design.”

Fulkerson said community input is important to all decisions made by Reston Association. She said listening meetings are being planned for May and June in each of Reston’s districts to gather feedback on what matters most to RA members.

“Our interest is to engage you in conversation,” she said. “The timing of these listening meetings goes hand-in-hand with the development of the 2018 and 2019 Capital and Operating budgets.”

In addition to inviting feedback at the upcoming meetings, the CEO encouraged members to fill out request/suggestion forms for the budget.

Full video of Fulkerson’s speech is available through the Reston Association YouTube channel.

  • Bah

    “For anyone who knows my leadership style, I’m not one who walks away from a challenge or ignores difficulties,”

    Yes, I just lie about them.

    “I believe in taking responsibility for errors”

    But for some reason my error in the Tetra purchase that cost Reston homeowners hundreds of thousands of dollars did not require me to resign.

    “Our interest is to engage you in conversation,”

    And then we will ignore you and do what we want anyway.

    • Jenny Gibbers

      Nice poetry.

    • Greg

      She really is incredible (and we mean that in the true sense of the word — impossible to believe). Incompetent. Fire her.

  • Why do you bother?

    What does “taking responsibility” mean? “Oops – my bad”?

    RESIGN!

    • Reston Realist

      So if she is “taking responsibility” then what are the consequences which follow her actions? Oh yeah… The RA members are the ones who suffer the consequences. Thanks for taking responsibility Cate.

  • Conservative Senior

    Just do us a favor & resign! You are a disgraced CEO!

    • Umust B Kidding

      Just a disgrace.

  • drip

    So, basically, she’s just learning on the job while fiddling away member dues on all sorts of misguided boondoggles, and still does not abide by a code of ethics because nobody has told her what those ethics should be. Question: Will the new board remove her or otherwise ask for her resignation?

    • Greg

      There are many codes of ethics available at the CAI’s website. We pay dearly to belong to the CAI. No need to pay a lawyer tens of thousands to cut and paste.

      Here’s one: http://www.caisa.co.za/documents/CAI_Code_of_Ethics.pdf

      It’s beyond belief that a POA that’s been around as long as the RA has no codes of ethics. More evidence of Cate Fulkerson’s incompetence and malfeasance.

      • Jenny Gibbers

        Time to play til “August”. Wondering whats next.

      • LookingAhead

        And, according to the less-than-penetrating Stone Turn review of the Tetra purchase and rehab debacle, RA still lacks essential policies and procedures for budgeting, contracting/procurement, and accounting. If that assessment is accurate, there is plenty of blame to share among the outgoing Board and prior RA leadership as well as Ms. Fulkerson.

        The new Board must lay down the law to Ms. Fulkerson, setting forth a clear statement of their expectations for improving her performance, including the prompt creation of the missing essential policies and procedures. Also, tLookinghe Board should oversee the preparation of a serious code of ethics applicable to themselves, complete with independent review.

        • Greg

          How many chances does Cate Fulkerson get? She’s been around the RA block a few times, and has worked there for decades, no?

          She’s demonstrated gross incompetence and her platitudes don’t cut it. It’s time to fire her, get a pit bull in her place and clean and disinfect the RA house!

      • John Farrell

        A Code of Ethics already exists for the RA Board: Va. Code Sections 13.1-870-13.1-874. They just have to follow it.

        No need for consultants or weeks on end of drafting and wordsmithing

  • Umust B Kidding

    The Lake House decision alone will cost RA members literally MILLIONS of dollars over the next several decades. Unless Fulkerson is willing to pay us back for that mistake, she should be fired.

  • Jenny Gibbers

    Nice poetry. Sounds like we heard it all before tho.

  • Conservative Senior

    Did she receive a bonus & a raise?

    • Greg

      She sure did — nearly $10,000. Cate Fulkerson’s total compensation was $221,513.00 in 2015. Disgusting, isn’t it?

      https://www.reston.org/Portals/3/2016%20Governance/Reston%20Association%202015%20990%20Public%20Inspection%20Copy.pdf

      • Conservative Senior

        It is! Fire her…..someone start a petition.

      • Jenny Gibbers

        Most CEO would at least back down and work for $1/year … not Cate.

        Honestly I dont see a future for the RA and the current board, nothing will change.

      • Mike M

        Wow! I wouldn’t have guessed that!

      • John Farrell

        That’s more money than the COUNTY EXECUTIVE gets and he’s got 14,000 employees serving 1.1 million people covering 400 square miles while the tennis coach in chief has 90 full time employees serving 60,000 people covering 11 square miles.

        Value for money?

  • John Farrell

    Could someone please tell the tennis coach in chief that they are nor “Her” employees or “Her” board or “Her” CFO.

    They are work for the membership.

    Unless, of course, she’s personally paying their salary.

  • Fed up with RA

    I love the title “tennis coach in chief” how true.
    I may be striking the third rail here. But why is RA in the tennis business at all? RA has a full-time tennis staff an it costs nearly $1m to support tennis. RA is not a country club! I have no objection to RA providing the courts but let a community organization run the program. Just like little league baseball, football, soccer etc.
    ( waiting to see the reaction for the “Reston tennis mafia” )

    • Greg

      The silence is deafening, isn’t it?

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