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One Day After Election, Vacancy on Reston Association Board Surfaces

by Fatimah Waseem April 12, 2018 at 12:00 pm 42 Comments

Victoria White stepped down from Reston Association’s Board of Directors Wednesday (April 11).

The vacancy comes just one day after four new board members were elected to serve on the nine-member board.

She stood alongside her colleagues on the newly formulated board at the conclusion of RA’s annual member meeting on Tuesday (April 10) when results were announced.

White who served as the Hunters Woods/Dogwood District representative resigned because she no longer lives in the district she represents, according to a statement by RA. She also served on RA’s covenants committee and the board governance committee.

RA will issue a call for candidates to fill the open seat, which expires in April 2020. The board will consider possible candidates at its May 24 meeting.

Information on when and how RA was made aware of the need for the change was not immediately available.

At a meeting on Wednesday, David Bobzien, formerly the board’s vice president, was elected board president. Sridhar Ganesan, formerly the board’s treasurer, was elected vice president.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Photo via Reston Association

  • Donald

    So, when did she move? She obviously didn’t do all of this in 24 hours. How long ago was the previous board aware of this?

    Donald

    • Ray Wedell

      Donald, draw your own conclusions here. But I was told two days before the elections results were announced that Ms White had moved into the SL District, so would have to give up her Board seat. ”

      As for when Ms White knew, only she can answer that. But we all know the process of finding a home, putting in a contract, getting a mortgage loan, and closing on it takes quite awhile, doesn’t it? The tax records will give you the exact closing date. It is convenient to keep things hush-hush and not disrupt the already-in progress election, so I assume…and that is all it is, my assumption…..that at least some of the Board members knew she was leaving quite some time ago.

      And if a home is under contract, with all intentions to move, but not yet officially closed: does that constitute an obligation to tell people your intentions? And if the person moving tells a Board or Board member of her intentions but the actual event (closing) has not yet happened, do those who heard the news have an obligation to speak out?

      I will leave it up to others to do the research and make decisions about what to do about this. But really, are you surprised?

      • Donald

        The prior board has a lot to answer to. They claimed they came in to reform.

        They ended up with some of the worst behavior yet. Anything that suited their needs.

        Donald

        • Ray Wedell

          As one who began last year with high hopes, only to see halfway through the year what you are speaking of now (and not wanting to be associated with that), i obviously agree. But it is out of my hands and pretty much out of mind now as well. I have so many other things to do now. Let’s see how David can steer this new Board. There are good people there.

          • Donald

            Are you at all curious about why they were in executive session for over an hour? Their first initial meeting of the new board? Really?

            To come out of executive session and read a statement regarding their disappointment in the county’s response to their last letter seems like a head-fake.

            Donald

          • 30yearsinreston

            The taxpayers do not need to know the inner workings of the politburo

          • Donald

            Yes comrade.

            Donaldsky

  • JoeInReston

    If only there was an election near the time she decided to leave, the open seat could have been put up for election. If only…

    Ok, so why is this only coming out now?

    • Donald

      Agree.

      Nothing like easily appointing the person you really want, versus putting the position up for the election process.

      Donald

      • Ugly truth

        The rebels fall into two categories

        1. The rebel who quits because he/she thinks because they believe the system is stacked against them

        2. The rebel who quits because he/she thinks that their undemocratic approach has failed and now must give up their cause

        Summary: rebellion presupposes the ecistence of oppression and, on the psychological plane, deification of rebellion creates an affective compact with oppression.

    • Hunter Woods

      Apparently the Board found out about this just this week.

      Why White chose to withhold this information from her fellow Board members for months can only be answered by White.

      • Donald

        I find that a very thin excuse/response from the board.

        She’s very tight with Hebert, Carr, Ganesan. Moves are big, visible things. People on and off the board talk.

        Several on the board knew way before last week.

        Why did they keep it quiet?

        Donald

        • Hunter Woods

          Your evidence for calling me a liar is what exactly?

          • Donald

            Not calling YOU a liar.

            I challenge what someone on the board has shared.

            Donald

  • Rational Reston

    Reston is a banana republic

    • JoeInReston

      Imagine what Restonites could do if Reston was its own town.

      • TEAMSTERS #1

        Agree.

      • 30yearsinreston

        Hudgins & Bulova Gone ?
        Two for the price of one

        • JoeInReston

          Has the performance of the Reston Association board been all that much better than the performance of the Fairfax County board?

    • 30yearsinreston

      Republic ?
      More like a bulova/hudgins satrapy

    • OneReally

      It’s like a Soap opera or a really bad reality show.

      I have a working title:
      “Reston Really Reeks”

  • I’d rather post as a guest

    I think we need to have our candidates properly vetted before allowing them to join the board. In my mind the vetting process falls directly under the responsibility of the elextion commitee.

    By vetting properly we can not only avoid conflicts of interest but also secure their commitment to the community. Proper vetting also should ensure that candidates cannot bypass the governing process by declaring alliances on the board that would otherwise compromise the democratic approach to running our HOA.

    I know this sounds very idealistic but my guess here is that most candidates only have the best imterests of the community at heart, so please, act accordingly.

    • Donald

      Obviously this matter never even went to the elections committee. The intent to move must have been known well before the elections.

      Why wait until after the elections closed?

      Who on the board new this? And when did they know it?

      This should not be swept under the rug.

      Donald

    • JoeInReston

      You want to give an election committee the power to determine whether candidates are properly committing to the community? And you want this election committee the power to determine and nix alliances? How is any of that idealistic?

      • 2018 Fixed

        Idealistic because the election commitee should be staffed by volunteer community activists and the board members should be paid for their service, not the other way around!

        • 30yearsinreston

          Just like the Chicom peoples assembly

    • 30yearsinreston

      Idealistic ?
      I would call it undemocratic and smacking of totalitarianism

  • Donald

    Last night’s election of officers is directly related (and potentially impacted) by the full story behind this matter.

    The new counsel is going to get very busy.

    Donald

  • Ray Wedell

    Don’t know about that. I thought RA was very late to the game in trying to fight development issues. They were ultra-soft in the Tall Oaks affair, and actually blasted me mercilessly for opening the door initially for the St Johns Wood people to speak their minds during the three minute comment period. It was deemed an inconvenience to that Board and a distraction from their other functions. How dastardly of me to recommend citizens come to a public meeting and speak during the public 3-minute period.

    Only the obvious fury and organized efforts against that development caused them to write a letter; a soft “me too” in my mind as in,”Hey Ms Hudgins. We are also mad,” many months after the firestorm began……. So my take is that they are having difficulty figuring out how to be heard and appear relevant right now. Getting the last letter totally brushed off as if it was never written probably is a surprise to some.

    One thing that nobody seemed to notice about the annual meeting on Tuesday. Every year that is a ceremonial thing, and the usual political players come and give a short speech: Hudgins; Plum; Bulova; Connelly. This year NONE of them showed up. What kind of a statement might that be? Just askin’.

    • Donald

      What did Rescue Reston, as well as the Reston Association, do so well, when Northwestern started making moves.

      Did they say – “don’t worry, we’ll let the county know how we feel…” ?? No, they both retained talented and recognized land use attorneys/firms. They hit the issue head-on, with muscle.

      The members yelling at the county and developer meetings help. But the county and developers bring their ear plugs and just ride it out.

      Writing letters… without actions. No, not gonna work.

      Leveraging the Reston P & Z is also crucial. Has Hebert ever spoken at any of their meetings, sharing the RA members’ concerns?

      Time for RA representatives, preferably legal, to start walking the county building hallways.

      Donald

      • Ray Wedell

        Rescue Reston was beautifully led by Connie Hartke and John Pinkman. I was honored and glad to be a cheerleader and advisor as a Board member there, but those two drove the show.

        I liked it because it was aggressive and played to win. They were clear from the outset that compromise with Goliath was not an option. And Connie played the necessary legal strings masterfully. However, it was necessary to get huge public support, or any attempt to fight anybody would never have worked.

        RA did jump in and the support from Cate helped a great deal. And they did not try to overtake Rescue Reston as some sort of power broker, but just supplied extra fuel to drive the train. That engine was just perfectly greased and engaged. In our current struggles, my opinion is that RA should yield to CPR and stop trying to flex muscles, especially those they don’t have. As Cate did with RR, bang the bully pulpit in support of the lead community group and trust them to lead you properly. I sense that this Board will attempt to prove their “power” and try to take a leadership role, a role the County and developers don’t respect. As they say, “Too many cooks…..”

        I may be totally off base here, but another observation: the CPR group is not as strategically focused as RescueReston was. Many people seem to be speaking out more haphazardly than with Rescue Reston, where John and Connie spoke for the community, and the community rallied behind RR. And Connie had a good way of thinking two-three steps ahead and anticipating future hurdles. Rallies were planned and had organized passion.

        A feature of that effort that we can all learn from is the power in having fewer decision-makers with great knowledge taking the bull by the horns and being allowed to run with it. Too many voices, too many committees, too many people wanting credit……these things can murder a good cause.

        “Your strategy matters and your passion rules.” Isn’t that always true? The Rescue Reston fight had that. Beautiful strategy from knowledgeable strategists, and an overflow of passion. Time will tell if anything close to this will emerge in our current development struggles.

        • Donald

          Who is the official spokesperson for CPR? Who are the leaders?

          It appears to be Maynard and Petrine (and the old RCA gang). Heck, they’ve been screaming at the same county leaders for way too many years.

          They’ve always been placated — the county folks just say “thanks, good to see you… come back soon… yes, just leave your analysis on the table, we’ll let ya know…”

          CPR cannot let these folks speak for its mission.

          Hartley and Pinkman would be better suited.

          Donald

          • Ray Wedell

            Hi Donald…. I have nothing but respect and high regard for the work Terry Maynard and Tammie have done on this, They have delved into data and analysis, making it possible to present a logical case in the first place. But you have a point that it is one thing to have a great case, one thing to be right, and quite another to overcome the forces that are going to do pretty much whatever they want, if allowed to proceed unchecked.

            The President of this group is Dennis Hays, and he has strong interpersonal skills that to me, should have been front and center earlier and more often. In any successful challenge of this sort, there always seems to be one or two central figures to lead the charge, am I not correct? So while CPR has so many excellent individuals, it is so difficult to mold them into a cohesive team quickly, and agree on important goals (think of the All Star basketball team versus a great team that has played together a long time and has good talent, but less talent than the All Stars. Who wins?).
            This goes back to my belief in smaller groups of successful leaders as opposed to large teams of “experts” and excessive committees. That is, if you want solid results and efficient action. We can have that debate for the next 3 years, but let’s not for now.

            Having said the above, Rescue Reston had one bad guy to attack, Northwest. RR was on that one opponent, and we went after them relentlessly and tried never to let any oxygen into their masks. I believe the current effort has become so wide, so broad-based, that it has become too difficult to get the necessary early victories to help gain momentum. Example: Maybe go hard at the taking of Hidden Creek land; maybe make SJW a total “no go”; really hammer away at the need to create useable open spaces……. but get something tangible and understandable to attack (most residents have no idea what density rules of 16 versus 13 really means).

            One thing John Pinkman did brilliantly was putting together hard-hitting captions over pictures, using humor to embarrass Northwest. Painting a picture is better than writing 2,000 words. Many of his captions were great, but the one I found very effective was when he had a split screen: to the left is a beautiful picture of a golf course, with the caption: “The view from your home today”…then to the right, a picture of bulldozers plowing mounds of dirt and holes, with a portion of a Reston townhouse showing behind it: “This will be the view from your house tomorrow.” Simple stuff…but powerful. Somehow we should get some visuals of what 16 versus 13 really means.

            And your comment, “Hartke and Pinkman are better suited”. Well, probably yes, but cloning technology is in its mere infancy. Be thankful we had those two and their small team of helpers when we needed them. We have really good people fighting for us now, and someone needs to quickly/firmly “grab the bull by the horns” here and get some meaningful focus clearly led by one or two strong people.

            At least that is how this one person sees it!

            Thanks for listening.

    • 30yearsinreston

      They were too busy

  • 30yearsinreston

    Arent ‘executive sessions’ by RA in violation of Virginia sunshine laws ?
    Shouldnt minutes be published

    • John Higgins

      Executive (closed) sessions are permitted by Virginia law and are often wise. This is where the board can discuss sensitive personnel matters, consult with legal counsel, discuss contracts and pending/probable litigation, and a number of other subjects. They can vote or take other actions in executive session, but must reconvene in open session and vote again, giving somewhat less detail, but enough for members to know what the action is all about.
      Yes, minutes are to be taken but generally at a high level; again, so as to identify the subject of the discussion. Those minutes are not available for inspection by members.

      • Donald

        What took a new board over an hour to discuss?

        Donald

  • Why do you bother?

    Slick move, ensuring that her seat couldn’t be filled in the election.

    SMDH

    • Donald

      Agree. A move made by members of the prior board. Where’s the governance and ethics committee on this?

      Donald

    • John Higgins

      Let’s see where the facts lead. Moving out of the district automatically ends a director’s term, but we have seen at least two instances where directors stayed in place for months after their moves, not only out of their district, but out of Reston. Unless someone has facts to the contrary, it is reasonable to believe Ms. White resided in her qualifying residence until past the date for having her seat included in the 2018 election. She did not participate in the election of officers. Sounds like a case of “no harm, no foul.”

      • Donald

        John,

        It may indeed be a case of ”no harm, no foul”.

        However, if she had the opportunity to tell the board of her intentions, which she should have, they should have let the members know.

        Assume she shared her intentions to move two months ago. Why didn’t they inform the membership at that time?

        Look, if there was an opportunity to appoint or include in the election process why did they hold off?

        Having that ninth seat filled might have changed the dynamics of Wednesday’s initial board meeting, Voting counts for officers might have looked very different.

        Someone other than Bobzien and Ganesancould easily be the new president and Vice President.

        If I were Sigle, Bitzer, or Iyer, I’d be very upset.

        Donald

  • SuperCoop1280

    How is her vote even allowed? The moment she moved out of the district should have automatically disqualified her as an active Board member. This is shady and embarrassing. Yet, we allow this to happen so the joke is on us.

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