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

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

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Reston Association President Resigns After Cancer Diagnosis

David Bobzien resigned from his position as the president of the Reston Association Board of Directors Monday evening after revealing he has recently been diagnosed with cancer.

In a statement on RA’s website, Bobzien informed residents that he has already begun chemotherapy treatments for acute myeloid leukemia.

Bobzien was elected to a three-year term on the board in 2017, as the apartment owners’ representative. He  has served on several committees, and was the board’s vice president before the board elected him president.

Sridhar Ganesan, the board’s current vice president said in a statement, “David played a strong leadership role during the last year helping Reston Association make some critical decisions. His governance approach helped bring about consensus on many matters before the board. I thank him for his service to RA during a critical time and wish him strength and success through his treatment and a speedy recovery. “

“David will be missed as both a board member and president. His understanding of the county and its many components was a real benefit to RA,” said RA’s acting CEO, Larry Butler. “I am hopeful that his treatment is speedy and effective so that he can get back to all of the things in which he was involved in the Reston community.”

Bobzien’s departure means there are now two vacant seats on the board, as Hunters Woods/Dogwood Director Victoria White resigned her position on April 11 when she moved out of her district. A replacement for White is scheduled to be elected during the May 24 meeting.

A replacement for the apartment owners’ representative will be elected by a majority vote of apartment owners, to serve out the rest of the year until the 2019 elections.

Though he won’t be on the Board of Directors anymore, Bobzien said his love for Reston will remain strong.

“My hope is to get through this so that I can continue to enjoy the people and pathways that [my wife] Cathy and I fell in love with when we moved to Reston in 1975,” said Bobzien. “‘Reston for Life’ has taken on a new meaning for us.”

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