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RA Board to Discuss Filling Seat Vacated by Thompson

by Katherine Berko June 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm 41 Comments

Following the resignation of Eve Thompson earlier this month, the Reston Association Board of Directors has a decision to make.

At their meeting Thursday, directors will discuss how to move forward. Thompson, who had served on the board since 2013 and was voted to an At-Large seat in 2016, announced her decision to step down June 6.

Thompson’s vacated term doesn’t expire until April 2019. This means the board has three options:

  • Do nothing. If this option is selected, the seat will remain vacant until next year’s RA Board election.
  • Appoint a member in good standing. If this option is selected, the eight remaining members of the board would decide among themselves who to put into the seat immediately.
  • Issue a call for candidates. If this option is selected, the position will be posted by RA within 24 hours, and qualified applicants will appear before the Board at its July meeting.

Staff has recommended the Board fill the position rather than leave it vacant for nine months. If a new director is selected, he or she will serve through April 2018. The final year of the term will be voted upon in next year’s election.

The meeting will be held Thursday, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at RA Headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). It will also be streamed live on RA’s YouTube channel.

  • Jenny Gibbers

    Funny that the RA will go to great lengths to empower their constituents and even “educate” them on topic lake house but when there are vacancies on the board the public suddenly loses their voting rights and cannot decide who should be on the board.

    Perhaps the board should look at another option and immediately call another election – a special election. And to forgo their typical argument: this special election should be of no expense to anyone because its “electronic”.

    Further, electronic voting should yield immediate results! Its crazy that residents have to wait 3 weeks for the computer to tally results.

    The options that are currently on the table leave much room for improvement to say the least. I think its downright un-American, perhaps foreign how the Reston constituents are getting played. Managua?

    • John Farrell

      There will be a special election in March for the unexpired term of one year. It will appear on the annual ballot just like this past April’s election for the unexpired term of the North Pointe seat.

      The governing documents do not provide for a special election now.

      It would be expensive to run since the ballots would have to be mailed and counted.

      Many local governments in the US handle vacancies in similar fashion. So spare us the inapplicable allusions.

      • The Constitutionalist

        I guess the RA is a local government now…

        We all know how well the (any) government functions.

        • John Farrell

          Most political scientists have recognized that HOAs are a form of local government for 40+ years.

          That would be particularly true for the larger HOAs like RA, especially after MobilLand gave up contol.

          • The Constitutionalist

            It is true. HOAs do seem to embody everything people hate about governments, just a lot closer to home.

            I’m more interested in whether or not most ‘people’ consider HOAs to be a form of local government – and whether they like it.

          • John Farrell

            And the alternative is?

            City status?

            Dissolution and turn over of RA assets to Fairfax County?

            Other?

          • The Constitutionalist

            The alternative would be for the RA to not be completely garbage at literally everything.

            I’m not saying that the RA isn’t a necessary evil. But the RA, like any “government,” exists for one main purpose. Just as animals exist to procreate and duplicate, governments exist to grow.

            All anyone wants from RA is for them to give them back some semblance of control as a home owner, a property tax payer, and a neighborhood contributor, to stay the f*ck out of everything they don’t need to be involved in, and to stop raising annual assessments.

            People don’t just want to be left alone. They want that happy balance of control over what they spend their money on, and for the things they are FORCED to spend their money on, to have their best interest at heart.

          • John Farrell

            Like what should RA not be involved in?

          • Commie F.

            You come out hitting hard and heavy! Definitely you deserve a spot on the board. Maybe you can do it all ok again without bending every rule in the book.

          • John Farrell

            Thanks. Not interest in this vacancy, though.

            It’s only 9 months and, even if you were successful in March for the rest of the unexpired term, you’d only be able to serve for 5 years because of the term limits in the RA governing docs.

            Its going to take a full 6 years to turn this ship around.

          • Commie F.

            John

            With all fue respect but I think the community is looking to find a replacement that can bring upon changes within 6 months not six years. 6 years would be more along the lines of a regime overhaul, Russia style. We re a small community in comparison and although leadership has been compromised its not nearly as corrupt as one would think-we dont need a five year plan and for sure, we dont need a 6 year plan.

            Any other candidates?

          • Jenny Gibbers
          • John Farrell

            The recently appointed Treasurer might be a good idea.

            A treasurer already goes to the meetings and the term of that office expires in March also.

          • Reston Watcher

            Oh– gee. That’s exactly what they want to do and it BS. Follow the process and let the chips fall where they will.

          • John Farrell

            Because?

          • Donald

            I would anticipate the new board leadership will just appoint one of their own, without a call for candidates. Power corrupts absolutely.

            Donald

          • John Farrell

            Lord Acton actually said, “All power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” He said that in response to the First Vatican Council adopting the doctrine of Papal Infallibility.

            Given that the RA Board does not have absolute power, I’m a little more sanguine about their choice for a vacancy that will only last 9 months at most.

          • Drip

            Although it’s merely academic, I do wonder what would have happened to the players involved in the Tetra debacle if RA was a government entity rather than a quasi-government entity that RA has become. Would law enforcement get involved? Would the lawyer face repercussions with the state bar? Would Thompson’s omissions on her conflict of interest forms be considered criminal i.e. perjury?
            Back to reality, the best way to limit the scope of RA is to elect a board willing to cut all extraneous expenses and minimize RA just to the very basics. A new CEO and legal structure also would help.

          • John Farrell

            Law enforcement might still get involved.

            The lawyer might still face the bar.

            The failure to disclose for a local government official can have criminal consequences but don’t usually do with a fact pattern like Thompson’s.

            What RA expenses (other than Tetra) would you eliminate?

          • Drip

            Although it may be counter-intuitive, I would consider hiring a local, in-house attorney and small, potentially part-time staff to handle all legal matters, to include collections. The attorney can use RA workspaces and share RA IT and other resources apart from any necessary, specially-licensed legal software. Even with salary and software licenses, this could effectively cut RA’s legal expenses in half.
            I would also direct competent staff to look into outsourcing maintenance in common areas to a contract company like the clusters do, just on a larger scale. The contract expense could be markedly less than employing RA staff, maintaining equipment and infrastructure, and dealing with the requisite HR.
            Cutting expenses and reducing the RA footprint can go much beyond merely “cutting the magazine.”

          • John Farrell

            In-house counsel is on the agenda for tonight’s meeting.

            Not sure about the efficiency of eliminating most of the maintenance staff who are seasonal.

            There are only 90 year-round staff. Who would you RIF?

          • Drip

            Beyond eliminating maintenance positions and related support staff, RA could sell the equipment as well as any RA-owned land used to store/maintain equipment.

  • Reston Watcher

    The normal process would be to issue a call for applicants. This is the process that has been followed for all of the mid-term vacancies that I can recall, low these many years. Why would anything else be done? Oh, wait, unless you were trying to stack the board? Ha- what was I thinking!

    • John Farrell

      This is basically a caretaker position for a term of only 9 months. Not the most appealing prospect.

      Not sure a months’ long delay in filling the spot to go through the applicant process won’t make the position even less appealing.

      • Donald

        Mr. Farrell,

        In general I would agree. But, in this instance, this vacancy represents a critical vote, allowing the new board leadership to potentially maintain a majority.

        I don’t think this is a little, sleepy matter to be brushed over. For the new directors, this is a political opportunity — to address and benefit their own self-interests. In my opinion, the telltale will be an appointment versus call for candidates.

        Donald

        • Reston Watcher

          Donald- this is exactly what the new board leadership is hoping for in their “lets skip the applicants” process. This is about their personal interests not our interests.

          • Donald

            That will be a real shame.

          • John Farrell

            Could you give us an example of the new majority not acting in the interest of the membership?

        • John Farrell

          The new board already has a majoirity: Herbert; Carr; White; Mooney and Bobzein with the occssional support of Waddell.

          A seventh vote won’t make much difference.

          • Donald

            I see… then the cards have been stacked.

          • John Farrell

            How is that?

            The membership voted these 5-6 folks onto the Board by a majority vote in each case?

          • Donald

            Good point. I guess it’s time to just sit back, enjoy the ride and see what this team is up to.

            Donald

          • Donald

            I see the new team has made a decision…It was apparently made before the meeting.

            Donald

    • John Higgins

      There is one minor and one significant difference in a proposed new selection process. In the past, vacancies were known and people invited to submit their name for consideration. That submission was unstructured, but generally gave a brief resume and a statement as to why they were a viable candidate. A “call for candidates” suggests a bit more outreach than in the past. The big difference is the proposal that the board interview candidates. By doing this openly, we all get to make comparisons and perhaps better understand why the successful candidate was selected. Either way, appointment by a majority vote is not quite “stacking” unless one believes that selection of the person with fewest votes is somehow appropriate.

  • Richard

    Ridiculous to see people on this comments page leap to accusations of corruption and collusion by our HOA reps. The role of an HOA representative is a thankless job taken by normal members of the community. I don’t know why anybody would want it, but keep in mind that the reps have been elected by the people of Reston to represent them. Blame yourselves and your neighbors. You’re never going to see our dues drop or stabilize. Inflation will preclude that, as will the increasing demands of the community. There’s very little fluff in the RA budget, but if you think you can find some, run for election and build your constituency. If you are as brilliant as you think you are, see if you can convince the rest of us instead of nitpicking those who have already stepped up to the plate. I’m disappointed in Eve Thompson’s decision to resign. If a rep isn’t prepared to follow through with the service, don’t run for election. I’m far more troubled by the education board rep who resigned a few days before she would have prevented a $250,000 special election billed to the county. That’s a poorly-reported scandal and a tag that should be pinned to the Republican-affiliated candidate in the special election.

    • Jenny Gibbers

      If Candidates resigned in a proper and timely manner we would not be where we are. The recent election was very close and a number of well qualified candidates could have easily won.

      The talk of voting irregularities did not make sense at the time but now it does.

      Also. Nobody on this thread raised the issue of corruption or collussion but you. So maybe you have a point – even though you re “disappointed” you see nothing wrong with the outcome. The problem with this kind of thinking is: where it will lead us next?

      Here. An example.

      https://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/condo-board-battle-string-of-disputes-raises-questions-about-elected-directors/article34985050/

  • Reston Watcher

    Well, with a complete and total disregard for the community and transparency and everything else this B.S. RA Board that says they stand for, tonight chose to bypass the process followed by every other mid-term vacancy and filled the position with the person of their choosing.

    Sorry Ven Iyer, but you were NEVER going to be a serious candidate although at least you got on the B.S. Ballot! Mike Collins, Arlene Kregier, or any of the rest of you who MIGHT have wanted to put your hat in the ring; who previously did put your hat in the ring? Sorry- TOO BAD, You were not even WORTHY of consideration by this Board.

    All I can say is watch out B.S. Board, we are watching.

  • John Higgins

    My apologies to readers for earlier comments that anticipated a logical and equitable approach to filling the vacant board seat. After an hour of consternation, I finally reached the point of being able to laugh at the board’s actions tonight. A fourth approach was offered and accepted by the board. It was actually option #2 posing a option #4, but had the added benefit of being contradictory. It was proposed that a call for candidates was not necessary because anyone wanting a seat had an opportunity to run in the last election. So, the board put two names on the table. One who had run and one who had not. Confused? Me, too. And this could not wait until July because the board has weighty budget work ahead of them. Never mind that the board has no budget deliberation involving this director in the coming month. We have just witnessed a good example of group non-think.

    • Donald

      The most absurd display of stupidity I have witnessed in a long time. It is apparent to me this decision was discussed amongst the “majority” well ahead of the meeting.

      Donald

    • Reston Watcher

      Completely asinine and worse since this is the “transparency” Board. This was a sham.

      • Donald

        A predetermined sham. This new “majority” has an agenda and they may believe nobody is aware. Too bad for them — it’s obvious.

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