Months-long CEO Vacancy at Reston Association Remains

by Fatimah Waseem October 12, 2018 at 1:30 pm 11 Comments

Reston Association’s top leadership position of CEO remains unfilled following the previous CEO’s departure from the organization in late February.

Since former CEO Cate Fulkerson left her position in late February and transitioned into a special advisor role, RA’s Board of Directors has not yet found a permanent replacement. In a note to RA’s members, board president Andy Sigle said the board is working with human resources to expand the search for CEO and voted last month to hire an executive search firm to assist with the hiring process.

Larry Butler, RA’s senior direct of land use and planning, took over as acting CEO in mid-April after Robert Wood, the acting CEO at the time, stepped down to take another position at a non-profit organization in the District.

Since beginning the process of selecting a new CEO “in earnest” in May, Sigle indicated that no candidates advanced during a second round of interviews with the board in August. The board voted on candidates for the first round of interviews, which were held in June and July. Candidates were interviewed by an internal board search committee with RA’s senior leadership team and selected board members.

Here’s more from Sigle’s note to members:

Members can rest assured that the board is seeking a CEO who can work cooperatively and collaboratively in establishing short and long-term goals and priorities for the association. The CEO leads the effort to develop biennial budgets, so it is vitally important to the future of Reston that resources allotted in those budgets are used wisely. The board plays a fiduciary role in making sure your assessment dollars are spent in a way that aligns with the association’s Strategic Plan and focuses on the quality of life issues that make Reston a special place to live, work and play.

While there are an array of traits and qualifications we are seeking in the next CEO, the ability to lead and manage ranks near or at the top. Integrity, ethical conduct and the proven know-how to foster a climate that attracts, retains and motivates a diverse staff are important skills in leading any community organization, especially one as large and intricate as Reston Association.

Making the tough calls isn’t always fun, but it is a necessary requirement in overseeing a staff with over 100 employees working in a broad range of jobs that all focus on RA’s mission statement. The CEO position is a member-facing, rollup-your-sleeves job that requires the ability to smartly navigate through internal issues and also external policy matters involving Fairfax County and private businesses. Financial stewardship and extensive knowledge of customer service are at the forefront of what the board and RA members expect from a CEO.

While we wind through the process of hiring a new CEO, the board wants to express its thanks to the RA staff for stepping up to make sure that “the trains continue to run on time” in the interim. The importance of selecting the right person to lead RA can’t be overemphasized enough, so we continue to appreciate the patience shown by staff and members as we do our due diligence.

While board members come and go with each annual election, the CEO should bring a sense of stability and vision to the organization that will hopefully last for years. We will keep you posted on our progress and promptly introduce you to our new CEO when they are onboard.

Photo via Reston Association

  • 30yearsinreston

    This reinforces the fact that a CEO is not required
    The money saved on salaries and benefits can be put to better use
    Now how about dumping the other ‘Directors’

    • Tammi Petrine

      Dear 30, Your comment indicates that you are not fully aware of how RA is ‘running’ right now. Some BOD members are spending enormous personal time helping staff ‘run’ RA. In addition, Larry Butler has stepped up but in that process, is paying less attention to the duties under his dept. It is imperative that RA BOD concentrate on finding the right person to fill the CEO slot. Status quo is not an option in the long run. A LOT of important decisions face both RA and Restonians throughout One Reston (PRC and TSA areas) so that our planned community survives & thrives.

      • Frank El

        But you know, the rest of Fairfax County does just fine without a supersized HOA.

        • Greg

          The rest of Fairfax County does FAR better and spends MUCH less in the process.

          Meanwhile we are stuck with both RA’s assessments and the RCC’s special tax which add thousands of dollars to the annual cost of living in Reston.

          The RA and its enablers are the problem.

          For example, just take a look at the rundown Popeye’s almost across the street from RA’s posh HQ and right along Reston’s main street: Reston Parkway.

          Why isn’t the RA’s covenants enforcement director doing her job and forcing that dumpy place to clean up?

          • 30yearsinreston

            She is busy liaising
            Besides, she only eats at fancy restaurants not Popeyes

          • Conservative Senior

            There is a town home area off of Glade that has windows covered in plywood with window AC units installed. When I complained to RA, I was told they had to have a formal, written complaint. It’s around the corner from RA headquarters & looks like a garbage dump but RA doesn’t care! Disgusted with their disregard of flagrant violations. Neighbors don’t want to formally complain for fear of retaliation.

          • Greg

            All the more reason Anna Varone is overpaid and unneeded?

          • Conservative Senior

            Don’t forget that the BOS/Hudgins imposed a transportation tax if your reidence is within a mile of a Silver line station. Why only the Silver line?

      • 30yearsinreston

        Heres a suggestion : if the staff need ‘help’ to do the job they are paid handsomely to perform, they should be put on a performance plan. Shape up or ship out
        Not having an overpaid drone who sits at meetings and ‘liases’ with the Board is an option
        The CFO’s job can be done by a book keeper wirh a spreadsheet

        Finally, while I agree that a lot of important decisions need to be made it is the boards responsibility not the CEO or other ‘executives’

  • 250K+ and no less

    We need to open up this position to nextgen regardless of qualifications – I think we owe to them. We basically screwed them bigtime, there is no future on the board without fresh outlook and new ideas. A high school graduate would be perfect, they are most resistant to corruption and have the idealism and mojo to steer things the right way. Furrhermore we need to stop spoiling older candidates who already have pensions, social security and savings. There is no doubt in my mind that a high schooler can speak as eloquently as anyone on the board right now, can hone their skills over time especially since WE ALREADY KNOW

    1. This position is not really required
    2. This position is mostly symbolic in nature
    3. This position basically calls for a chief scapegoat for everything that can go wrong

    Again, I propose to scan the candidate pool of the most ambitious high school in the area by SUV count and extra curricular interests (SLHS). Let the old people stick to their voting duties, I digress.

    Thanks and may the schwartz be vid you,

    • 30yearsinreston

      Hiring an executive search team is symptomatic of RA’s rot
      No one on rhe staff seems capable of reading a resume


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