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Reston Association Board Appoints New Director; Remains Deadlocked on Next Board President

by Fatimah Waseem May 25, 2018 at 12:00 pm 44 Comments

After several failed attempts to appoint a new board member, Reston Association’s Board of Directors appointed Caren Anton, chairwoman of RA’s elections committee, to serve as the Hunters Woods/Dogwood District Director through April 2019

The board was tasked with appointing a new director from a pool of four candidates after the previous director resigned earlier this year. At a Thursday meeting, five board members voted for Anton to fill the position after several motions to appoint other candidates failed to garner enough votes.

But the board failed to make a decision on the next board president after David Bobzien, the former president and apartment owners’ representative, resigned due to a leukemia diagnosis earlier this month.

Despite two rounds of voting, the board remained deadlocked due to a tie between two directors: newly elected Andy Sigle and incumbent Sridhar Ganesan. The board deferred a decision to its next June 28 meeting when an apartment owners’ representative is expected to be seated. Sigle previously served on the board from 2011 to 2014.

Sigle’s first attempt to appoint Anton failed to gather enough votes. But after Director Sherri Hebert’s motion to appoint John Bowman and Julie Bitzer’s nomination to appoint Travis Johnson fell through, the board reconsidered Anton’s appointment. Both Bowman and Johnson ran for a board seat earlier this year.

Board members lauded Anton’s experience as a Reston resident for 30 years, her knowledge of the community and what Sigle called her “goals of independence and collegiality.” Newly-elected Director Ven Iyer applauded Anton’s “independent thinking,” a point that Hebert found “offensive.”

“I have to say Ven that I find it offensive that you think the rest of the board members do not think independently and do not make the votes on their own merit,” Hebert said.

Iyer also urged board members to recuse themselves from voting if any financial intermingling took place between them and other candidates in order to shield the board from accusations of “cronyism or impropriety.” Bowman and Johnson ran for seats on the board earlier this year.

Hebert abstained from voting for Anton and instead unsuccessfuly pushed for Bowman, who previously served on the board. She said he would “hit the ground running” as RA navigates complex issues in the coming months, including the absence of a permanent CEO and other staffing changes.

Rick Landers, who also ran for the position, was not nominated.

Bitzer said she looks forward to having another woman serve on the board. “I feel that we as a board in a sense owe Caren a chance to show how much more she can do and give to us,” she said.

Positioning herself as “an open, honest, ethical and transparent” candidate, Anton said she hopes to engage with apartment renters, who often have little knowledge of the function and role of RA. She also wants to explore ways to make the Hunters Woods Village Center a more enjoyable place to dine, play and gather.

“I come to you with no hidden agendas or allegiances,” she said.

Photo via Reston Association

  • Are you

    Wasn’t Sigle on the Board, even an officer, when Tetra was purchased?

    • John Higgins

      No

    • JoeInReston

      Sigle wasn’t on the board at the time of the Tetra vote but was on the board prior to the Tetra vote when it was first being considered.

      There has been some “Sigle was for it before he was against it” debate ..

      In this link – https://www.restonnow.com/2015/03/04/ra-candidates-support-tetra-purchase-with-caveats/ – Sigle is quoted “In general,
      yes, I am in favor,” said Sigle. “We can hold that space and make sure
      it stays the way RA wants it means a lot. But we need to ask the
      questions that need to be asked.”

      In the comment section of this link – https://www.restonnow.com/2018/01/26/critique-of-tetra-purchase-flags-conflicts-of-interest-transparency-concerns/ – John Farrell and Sigle debate the context of Sigle’s prior quotes.

    • Donald

      Ganesan is the one that proposed Boston Properties donate some of their significant parking revenues to Reston. He said this as the RCA president. Dumbest idea ever imagined. And who made him spokesperson for Reston at that time?

      Donald

      • Ray Wedell

        A year ago, Brene Brown said to avoid comments from anonymous cowards online who are too ashamed to put their own name on a post. So Let’s get right to the chase and ignore these “anonymous” Kitchen Kabinet posters, shall we? Here is the bottom line: Andy Sigle is a great guy; he is extremely knowledgeable; he has a calm leadership style and good communication skills; the ridiculous nasty comments in here from thise who cannot even identify themselves notwithstanding: Andy is clearly the best choice to be the next President of RA.

        • Why do you bother?

          Who died and made you king of Reston Now? People have many reasons not to use their names – that doesn’t make their opinions any less valid than yours.

          • Tom H

            “.. that doesn’t make their opinions any less valid…” this reader believes that it does.

          • JoeInReston

            Says the anonymous commentator that goes by the name, “Tom H”. Are your comments on this forum less valid because you haven’t revealed your full name?

          • Tom H

            Absolutely. That was my point.

          • John Higgins

            Joe, this thread has changed directions a few times…postings, opinions, comments. They are not the same. All opinions honestly held are valid. Valid only from the perspective of the speaker. But readers need context and some gauge of reliability if the opinion is to mean anything to them. When I have confidence that someone knows that they are talking about (fair and full presentation of facts – rarely found in these abbreviated snipes) an opinion carries some weight. I say “some” weight because all of us misunderstand or misconstrue facts from time to time. So, while one’s opinions are valid, I find the majority to be unreliable and therefore useless when thrown at us anonymously.

          • JoeInReston

            I had a long winded post but thought better of it.

            Context is everything. There are times when knowing a name is pivotal. Other times where it is not as important.

            For the vast majority of Reston Now comments, those by posted by Reston hoi polloi such as myself, I just don’t think name is that essential, particularly with the risks as wonderfully outlined by Nick Rivers in a recent comment.

        • Donald

          Ganesan was a proponent and led the tennis community to convince RA to spend $4.5 Million on a tennis facility at Lake Newport. On behalf of RCA, he was a proponent of allowing Boston Properties to continue to charge for parking, as long as “Reston received some of the proceeds”. He’s self-motivating, lacks creativity, answers to others.

          Donald

          • Ray Wedell

            Hi Donald. I hope you are well. Your last statement is more true than people realize….don’t you love how the anonymous vitriol-spewers continue to rip anybody and everybody personally. And they think their “wit” is funny or biting. Then when called out on it, they hide like cockroaches in dark corners and tell you they have “good reason to stay anonymous.” That line is almost too good to pass up, but why bother? Brene Brown is right: don’t debate anonymous misanthropes in online comment sections. In our case, they are very likely Kitchen Kabinet members, a Board member, or closely related others. Sneaks. The kind of people who muscle out CEOs in the dark of night with no explanation. Clearly not worth listening to, nor debating with. Nor hanging out with. Let me repeat: Andy Sigle is clearly the best candidate for President and most honorable person on this Board now. He is the only one I see who has any chance of leading them forward in a measured way and erasing the disfunctuonal behavior that was institutionalized over the last 6 to 9 months.

          • JoeInReston

            Ray,

            I find your comment silly. You write in support of an anonymous poster named “Donald” complaining about the mean spirited anonymous posters. Are you oblivious to all of Donald’s mean spirited posts in this thread? Are you oblivious to Donald’s posting history of ascribing dark motivations on individuals he dislikes with little backing support? Perhaps its not anonymous posters you dislike, perhaps its just posters with opinions different from yours.

          • Hook Road Parking Lot

            Donald is the biggest tattle teller on rnow, and completely off the mark more than half the time. Him and Ray go well together.

          • Ray Wedell

            That’s Joe Who?

          • JoeInReston

            Lookup ‘compartmentalization’ in wikipedia

          • 20k households

            So lets get rid of voting because those are anonymous cowards.

          • Ray Wedell

            Yeah, that is a valid comparison. And you are who?

        • JoeInReston

          Which specific “ridiculous nasty comment” on Andy Sigle are you referring to?

        • Are you

          So you want someone to lead RA that thought Tetra was a good idea and in fact was on the fiscal committee when the deal was being formed? He and others were asleep at the wheel as they spent millions of RA dollars. Even a little analysis would have been nice.

          Sigle should NEVER be president of RA!

          • KimGr

            Agreed.

        • Nick Rivers

          There are many reasons someone may choose to post here under a pseudonym, and doing so does not dismiss the validity of their comments or opinions. The content of the comment or opinion is what matters, and if it is filled with sniping or negativity or namecalling, then naturally it should be dismissed as trolling.

          However, using a pseudonym is oftentimes a protection mechanism used for very real, valid reasons for many folks out there. Not all of us are self-employed with a comfortable reputation in the community, or happily retired and not looking to re-enter the workforce. Some of us may be former Board directors who would like to add context to a discussion without our identity being the focus of the conversation. Some of us may be former staff of organizations that are being discussed and therefore potentially liable for our comments about the culture or our experiences at those organizations. Some of us may have experienced doxxing in the past and are therefore very reluctant to put our real names out into a discussion forum based on past experiences. Some of us may have dealt with stalkers in the past and do not want to encourage additional trouble but do want to participate and contribute to the conversation.

          All of these are legitimate reasons to prefer to use a pseudonym on this or any other forum, and therefore calling those people cowards en masse for choosing not to use their real name (while ignoring their reasons for doing so) is only diminishing the conversation. Ms. Brown is entitled to her opinion about “anonymous cowards online” and there certainly are those who choose to hide behind a nickname so they can post inflammatory garbage, but not everyone who uses a pseudonym has those intentions.

          I would advise you to consider the reasons why someone may choose not to use their full name here before you badger them for not doing so. You might instead consider yourself lucky that you feel so comfortable to post freely under your real name, that you have such confidence in your standing in the community and your employment, and no concern about stalkers or other nefarious types using any of your words against you, either in this forum or in real life. Others have not been so lucky. Please consider this before attacking posters for using a pseudonym in the future.

    • ForFiscalSanity

      Julie Bitzer also supported Tetra deal and subsequent waste of hundreds of thousands of dollars to redo it as a voting Board member. No surprise -she voted for Sigle to be Prez!

  • 30yearsinreston

    Hunters Wood Supervisor ?

    Hudgins has a competitor ?

  • Donald

    Last night’s board meeting showed a lot.

    Ganesan was horrible at attempting to lead a public facing meeting. It came across as if this might have been his first real board meeting as a chairperson. His continual need to ask counsel on how to proceed just demonstrated his lack of leadership experience and common knowledge.

    Ganesan, Carr, and Hebert definitely showed their colors.

    Donald

    • KimGr

      Maybe it’s good that someone is finally asking a professional what the proper procedures are in this kind of situation. Making stuff up as you go has been for too long the way of this association and others in Reston. It is time for someone to admit they don’t know everything and to confirm that what they are doing is the right thing.

      If I were on the board, I would appreciate the person who admits they are unsure of procedure and will make sure they do the right thing over the one who just “wings” it.

  • Ray Wedell

    I want to congratulate Caren, who was clearly the best choice for this seat. She will do well and, yes, will be independent and not locked into any sort of “let’s bind together and finish the job” mentality.

  • Richard

    Great to see the new RA board is already getting along so well.

  • Why do you bother?

    ” the previous director’s”

    Eh? First, no apostrophe in a plural – directors.

    Second, how many directors? “The previous” is non-informative.

    “knowledge base of the community”

    Either “broad community knowledge base” or “knowledge of the community.”

    “Newly-elected”

    Don’t hyphenate words ending in “ly.”

    ” tried to push for Bowman”

    One doesn’t try to push – one either does or doesn’t push. Should have been “pushed unsuccessfully for Bowman.”

    Seriously – I keep offering to proof these articles….

    • Reston Now

      Updated.

      • Why do you bother?

        I’ll be happy to review these pre-publication for a very small fee.

    • Mike M

      Seriously. Why do you bother?

      • Why do you bother?

        It’s hard out there for an editor.

  • Are you

    I would hate to see a proponent of the tetra purchase as the president of this board. Hold onto your wallet. Assessments are going up.

    • ForFiscalSanity

      Indeed, Andy Sigle did support the
      Tetra purchase, both in public statements and preliminary Board action votes preceding the final purchase, by which time he was off the Board.
      Unbelievable that he would be nominated for Board President!!
      Let’s finish the cleanup and budget tightening, not reverse course!

  • MakeRestonBetter

    So…two candidates who had run, but not been elected by the constituents they hoped to serve. One candidate with many years experience being closely aligned with RA practices, and one candidate with professional ethics and mediation experience, wide range of knowledge and no “unhealthy entanglements.” So who didn’t get nominated at all? Yeah, the one who had the least baggage. Oh, RA …. we get what we pay for. And aren’t they off to a lovely start with immediate sniping? Landers is probably exhaling loudly and gratefully that he didn’t get chosen!

  • Donald

    Carr was downright rude, putting on his hat, checking his phone and watch continually. Not paying any attention to possibly the most important matter facing Reston, the selection of a new CEO.

    Donald

    • cRAzy

      Putting on his hat? Isn’t that a violation of the Deed somewhere? Shouldn’t he be excommunicated?

  • Michael Gandolfo

    Quid pro quo. Caren played her part as chair of the elections committee in hiding misconduct of the “Four for Reston” and was rewarded for her efforts. Corruption in RA is at an all-time high.

  • 30yearsinreston

    RA doesnt need a CEO
    It needs a line manager

  • Checking

    Personally I like Ganesan: he paid off the loan. Sigle looks smart and Anton is also a very decent candidate – I dont care about the gossip. There may be other good candidates, who knows.

    All I care about is that the HOA do their job , keep the costs low, and make people work and live together in harmony. Thats the best you can do for 20,000 households when only 5-15% vote. So far so good.

    As for the Lk House, the Hook Rd parking lot, the Pony Barn, the scope creep as it relates to new projects and density – lets not. Reston is still a good place to live and things will be best if we all plan together. This is a chance we never had before! And it could be our last opportunity to protect and serve WORK LIVE and PLAY!

  • Ray Wedell

    In the early-1900’s, Teddy Roosevelt gave a speech at the Sorbonne. He had become accustomed to losers endlessly criticizing him.

    “It is not the critics who count.
    It is not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the ‘doer’ could have done it better.
    The credit goes to those who are active in the arena; whose face is marred with blood and sweat and guts.
    Who, at the best…in the end…knows the triumph of high achievement.
    And at the worst, if they fail, they fail daring greatly.”

    So Andy Sigle, Ven Iyer, and others trying to do their best at Reston Association. Please keep putting in the hours. Please keep looking forward. You are in the arena; the anonymous critics can’t stand the heat…..take Brene Brown’s advice: avoid them.

    Thank you.

    Brene Brown’s TED speech is linked below. I think it is outstanding. I could care less whether the haters like it or not.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-JXOnFOXQk

    • Why do you bother?

      So you care a lot then?

      COULDN’T care less.

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