RA information technology director resigns, website upgrade still pending

Reston Association’s IT director has resigned, an IT committee has no chair and the organization has been working for over a year to upgrade its website.

It comes after Ven Iyer, a former RA board member, raised concerns about information technology issues, noting issues in March that included an email breach of former RA CEO Hank Lynch resulting in a loss of $187,000.

Clara William took on the role in September 2019, but RA spokesman Mike Leone said she resigned last month.

The organization temporarily took down its website in July 2020 and has been using a platform called Squarespace, a website builder that doesn’t require coding. A DropBox — a popular file hosting service — is used to house meeting materials for the public.

“We upgraded the website in July 2020, and it currently resides on SquareSpace,” Leone said in a statement. “It is secure and no member data is housed on that platform so there are no security concerns.”

In late February, the board agreed to have staff create a report by its next board meeting about all IT incidents in the past two years that resulted in the loss of “data, money or website capacity,” costs associated with the incidents and more. The motion said it would be released to members at the earliest date possible.

The board again reviewed the issue in executive session during a June 24 regular meeting, referred “the matter of the website to the IT Committee for review and recommendation” and instructed the association’s CEO to have “staff answer all Board questions” by Aug. 18.

Staff has completed the document but it’s not being made available to the public. Leone said it’s an internal document that addresses website capability and security. It wasn’t immediately clear whether dues-paying RA residents will have access to it. Leone said the IT committee will have access to the questions when they officially meet.

According to RA, it hopes to launch a new website sometime in 2022 but a timeline won’t be set until the IT committee meets.

Meanwhile, Lynch resigned in August. Larry Butler has since been named acting CEO as the search for a permanent CEO continues.

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