Voting in the 2022 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run from March 1 through April 1. This week, we will begin posting profiles on each of the candidates. The complete election schedule is available online. All races are uncontested, but a 10-percent quorum must be met.
Featured here is Irwin Flashman, who is running for Lake Anne/Tall Oaks District Director With the exception of minor formatting edits, profiles are published in unedited form. Each candidate had an opportunity to answer the same questions in their own words.
How long have you lived in Reston? What brought you here?
My wife and I moved to Reston in 2009. I had lived in Puerto Rico for forty years and we were looking for a place to live following my retirement. We took several trips to the Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia area. One of my friends mentioned Reston to us. We visited and were attracted by its environment, its lovely treed setting and wooded areas, its trails, lakes and streams. The availability of many facilities in the area and its proximity to Washington, D.C. were clear pluses.
What inspired you to run for the board?
In 2013, the RA Board proposed trading RA land for other land that would be useless to it. I went before the Board and explained in detail my reasons for opposing the proposal. The Board did not change its mind. Since then, I have followed the Board’s and several committees’ activities closely. I served on the Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) for 9 years, 6 of them as its Vice Chair. I have also supported candidates running for the Board. This time, some friends urged me to run for the Lake Anne/Tall Oaks seat and thus become a full participant. I agreed that by being on the Board I could do more than by commenting at its meetings for three minutes.
What are three of the biggest concerns you have for Reston and what do you hope to accomplish by being on the board?
The preservation and enhancement of Reston’s environment is paramount, especially in the face of the existential challenge presented by climate change. It is well past time for Reston to take the environment and climate change fully into account as it considers its actions. Additionally, RA needs to minimize its contribution to climate change by becoming energy conservation conscious and avoiding the production of CO2. Among other things, RA can plan to convert its fleet of vehicles to electric vehicles over the next few years. Of course, the preservation of the open space is an essential part of this approach, not only of RA land, but also the land of the two golf courses that have been dedicated as such since the inception of Reston.
Another point of concern is the protection of RA’s interests in the Reston Comprehensive Plan, whose draft revision is currently being finished up and will be placed before the public for comment. Due recognition of RA’s contribution to recreational facilities and amenities, including its trails, should be given in the Plan. New developments already constructed and to be constructed, especially in the TSA, should be encouraged to join RA and participate fully as members. Additionally, the County should provide that some portion of the proffers from developers should be granted to RA for the continued maintenance and creation of adequate facilities which are and will be used by the residents of these new housing units. The growth contemplated for Reston should be accompanied by adequate and timely infrastructure to meet the increasing demands from that growth. At the same time, the characteristics which make Reston Reston should be preserved.
The third issue is the need for greater transparency from the Board. RA is a membership organization. Its obligations are to protect and enhance the value of real property covered under the Deed, as well as to maintain it, the recreational facilities and common areas for the benefit and use primarily of its members, and to promote the peace, health, comfort, safety and general welfare of its members. To do so, the Board needs to have consistent and meaningful two way communication with the RA membership. The Board has done this at a basic level, but on some matters, it has been less than open. It can improve its transparency by keeping the membership timely apprised of not only the good things it does, but also of the issues which arise and present problems.
I want to work with other members of the Board to address these concerns in meaningful ways for the benefit of the membership.
How will your personal or professional experience help you in your role with RA?
During my service on the EAC, it evolved into a group with expertise in many areas. This resulted in the creation of the Reston Association State of the Environment Report (RASER) and the later inclusion in it of an initially separate report on Climate Change. The report examines impacts on Reston, and ways to reduce its contribution to and enhance its resilience to climate change. This experience and knowledge will assist me making things happen regarding the first item of concern noted above. I have over many years closely followed the Board’s and some of the committees’ work and am aware of how things get done or not. I have been on other membership corporation boards. Communication is a basic element of getting things done. I am aware of the importance of good clear communication, not only with Board members, but also with the RA members. I will listen to the members from my district and keep their concerns in mind while looking for solutions to the issues they may bring to the fore.
Photo via Reston Association
Wind Advisory Takes Effect Tonight — Winds could reach 20 to 30 miles per hour with gusts of up to 50 miles per hour, potentially blowing down tree limbs and creating power outages, the National Weather Service warns. Its Wind Advisory for Northern Virginia, including Fairfax County, will be in effect from 10 p.m. today (Thursday) to 10 a.m. tomorrow. [NWS]
Herndon Police Welcomes New Officer — Officer Stephen Ferrigno joins the Herndon Police Department with three years of previous law enforcement experience. [HPD]
Appraisal Roadshow Returns — The annual event, which is organized by Reston Association, returns on March 5 at 11 a.m.. at the association’s headquarters. Registration is now open. [RA]
Local Zoo Celebrates National Bird Feeding Month — Roer’s Zoofari in Reston is celebrating National Bird Feeding Month. The zoo has several bird-related events planned and is currently home to 12 different bird species. [Roer’s Zoofari]
Photo by Marjorie Copson
County Promotes Redevelopment Incentives — The county is encouraging redevelopment by offering a 10 percent reduction in site planning fees and some real estate tax abatement. The move comes in response to state enabling legislation that passed in 2017. [Sun Gazette]
Tent Community Goes Up in Reston — Over the weekend, Reston Strong, a local nonprofit organization, set up at least 100 tents along Reston Parkway to raise awareness about homelessness in the community. [WJLA]
Reston Association Seeks Volunteers — The association is seeking a volunteer to fill the North Point District seat on its covenants committee. The seat is for a three-year term and applications are due by Feb. 28. [RA]
Deadline for Annual Assessment Approaches — RA members are encouraged to pay their annual dues by March 1. Payments can be made over the phone, online or by mail. [RA]
Metro to Add More Trains — Although the transit agency is waiting to bring 60 percent of its rail car fleet back into service, Metro could add other trains. Its 7000-series cars were suspended due to a federal investigation into derailment issues. [Washington Post]
Photo by Ray Copson
Reston Olympian to Race Today — “Fans of Team USA will need to set their alarms early on Friday if they hope to catch Reston short track speedskater Maame Biney’s next race in the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. Biney will be competing at 6:04 a.m. (EST) on Friday in the second quarterfinal round of the Short Track Women’s 1000m.” [Patch]
Kids’ Trout Fishing Derby Returns — The Town of Herndon will restart the 17th annual kids’ trout fishing derby on March 19. Pre-registration is open through March 18. The event is open for children between the ages of 2 and 15. [Town of Herndon]
Changes Underway at Reston Tennis Courts — Two courts at Autumnwood in Reston are closed due to cracks caused by low temperatures. Reston Association is working with a contractor to repair the cracks. It’s unclear when the courts will reopen. [RA]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
County Government to Develop COVID-19 Memorial — “Fairfax County supervisors on Feb. 8 directed staff from the county’s Facilities Management Department, Park Authority and other agencies to begin planning for a COVID-19 memorial that will be placed on property owned by the county government or its park system.” [Sun Gazette]
Reston Association to Host Candidate Forum — Residents can meet candidates running for RA’s Board of Directors election in a debate-style forum on Feb. 23. [RA]
McKay Responds to Senate Move on Mask Authority — Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said that he is deeply disappointed in the state Senate’s attempt to overturn local authority to be able to require masks in schools. He says that a “one size fits all directive will only put our children and teachers at risk.” [McKay]
Photo by David Taube
County Joins Hope Card Program — The county has joined more than five dozen jurisdictions in the state in offering the Hope Card program. The initiative is a way to enforce a civil protective order and offer additional support to victims of family abuse. [Fairfax County Government]
Herndon Town Council to Discuss Van Buren Street Project — The town council meets today to award a contract for improvements along Van Buren Street. Other items up for discussion include the allocation of a trust to Herndon students and the upcoming Herndon festival. [Town of Herndon]
Reston Association Discusses Effects of Salt Use — The association is reviewing the environmental effects of de-icing salt. Salt that seeps. Into the environment can raise sodium levels in drinking water, harm fish and plans, and corrode vehicles and parking lots. [Reston Today]
Photo by Marjorie Copson
All three open seats for Reston Association’s Board of Directors are uncontested races this year. The month-long election for the organization’s nine-member board will be held next month.
Despite the lack of competition in the races, RA requires a 10 percent quorum to validate election results.
Glenn Small is running for an at-large director position. Irwin Flashman is running for the Lake Anne/Tall Oaks district director while Laurie Dodd is running for the North Point district director. All three positions are for a three-year term.
Dodd, who has lived in Reston for 26 years, has served on a variety of boards and community organizations, including Reston Community Center and the Reston Swim Team Association. She also ran unsuccessfully for Hunter Mill District Supervisor in 2019. Professionally, she is a child advocate attorney.
Her top goals include fiscal responsibility, member engagement and environmental sustainability.
“I hope to use my commitment to the community, ability to work with a wide range of people, and optimism to bring Reston Association forward while upholding our quality of life,” Dodd wrote in a candidate statement submitted to RA.
Flashman moved to Reston after launching serving at an environmental law practice in Puerto Rico. He was recognized as volunteer of the year in the 55+ category by RA. He hopes to prioritize board transparency, increased community with members, environmental issues and fiscal responsibility.
“The board should be upfront with the membership. It is the members’ money,” Flashman wrote in a statement.
Small, a former journalist and current consulting executive, said he works with nonprofit universities and colleges to achieve transformational change. His goals include understanding RA’s fiscal challenges, promoting outreach for RA’s members and identifying ways to protect recreational and open space.
“If elected, I believe I would bring an experienced, common-sense approach, first seeking to understand more deeply how RA operates, and then identifying ways to be helpful while respecting others and looking for ways to involve and include the most perspectives to help drive us to better decisions and better plans that will serve all of us.” Small wrote in a statement.
An online ballot will be posted on RA’s website at 5 p.m. on March 1. Members can also submit mail-in ballots.
The weekly planner is a roundup of interesting events over the next week in the Herndon and Reston area.
We’ve searched the web for events of note. Want to submit a listing? Submit your pitch here!
Tuesday, Feb. 1
- Town Center Toastmasters Zoom Meeting — 6-7 p.m. online — Practice your speaking skills with the Reston chapter of this nationally renowned organization.
Wednesday, Feb. 2
- Reston Plays Games — 5-10 p.m. at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods — Bring your tabletop games and enjoy them with other adults. Registration required. Free. Repeats on Wednesdays.
- Virtual Nature Class – Birds and Nest Boxes — 7-8 p.m. online — Bird enthusiasts of all ages can enjoy this online class, exploring types of birds and their life cycles and how to install a nest box at your home. Starts at $5.
Thursday, Feb. 3
- Friends of Reston Regional Library Mystery Book Sale — 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Reston Regional Library — The first day of a three-day book sale starts.
Friday, Feb. 4
- Ana Popović — 8 p.m. at The Barns at Wolf Trap — Bluegrass guitarist shares her fiery style that’s graced the stage with B.B. King, Gary Clark Jr. and many more. Tickets start at $30. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 5
- A Reading of American Moor with Keith Hamilton Cobb — 8 p.m. at the CenterStage — Author Keith Hamilton Cobb reads his modern play about race in America and participates in a discussion afterward. Tickets start at $15.
Sunday, Feb. 6
- Maple Syrup Boil Down — Noon to 1 p.m. and 1-2 p.m. at Colvin Run Mill — Brave the outdoors and get reward by sampling pure maple syrup. Cost is $10.
An organization that stands to benefit from a potential townhome project plans to communicate with neighbors and share its stance with planning leaders.
The board of directors for the Reston Association, which provides recreational amenities and sets standards for building exteriors, agreed yesterday (Thursday) to draft a letter to get input from residents near the Fannie Mae redevelopment project (11600 American Dream Way).
It’s looking to send the letter to the Reston Planning & Zoning Committee, an advisory board to the Fairfax County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors, as the committee looks to vote on a project that involves potentially adding townhomes there.
Board members expressed their interest in having the townhomes be added to the Reston Association, where dues-paying members contribute an annual fee that covers maintenance and operational costs of amenities such as pools and tennis courts.
The organization also stated that it wants to preserve public access to the property, noting that a current arrangement allows people to traverse through the development along American Dream Way to access Plaza America Shopping Center at Sunset Hills Road.
The Planning & Zoning Committee deferred a vote Tuesday (Jan. 25). RA acting CEO Larry Butler said key concerns noted by community members involved the number of townhomes in the project and public access to the shopping plaza.
In other news:
- Irwin Flashman announced his candidacy to run for a board of directors position.
- Director Bob Petrine said the fiscal committee is looking to see whether RA should continue waiving a credit card surcharge that the association absorbs for members when they pay their assessment fee, and the committee could give a recommendation to the board.
- The board agreed to add Reston Arboretum, a yet-to-be-built development at 12700 Sunrise Valley Drive consisting of 40 townhomes, to the Reston Association.
- The board approved a contract with Titan Pool Service for $176,555 for a Ridge Heights pool project.
The Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee is formally recommending that RA reopen the pool after completing renovations that will boost pool usage.
“Top amenities for increased enjoyment especially include lengthening of the pool to provide for standard lap lanes,” committee chair Julie Bitzer wrote in a Jan. 9 memo.
The committee is also suggesting other additions like slides, a play area, bigger bathrooms and a hot tub. Other recommendations include improving the appearance of the pool, maintaining comfortable water temperature in the pool and on the deck side, and renaming the facility from Shadowood to South Lakes.
The committee also cautioned that future investment in all RA pools should be considered in concert with the whole facility, not just the pool, and with a specific eye toward enhancing the “desirability” of RA’s facilities.
RA’s Board of Directors is expected tot discuss the issue at a meeting this Thursday.
Recommendations were made after RA completed a community survey and launched a public feedback period last year.
Help Sought in Identifying Person of Interest — The Herndon Police Department is asking the public’s help to identify a person of interest in a robbery that happened on Jan. 18. The individual is seen entering and exiting an elevator in the business. [HPD]
Metro Kicks Off Budget Talks — Metro is seeking comments on its budget for fiscal year 2023. The budget takes into account the launch of six new Silver Line Stations. [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]
County Districts Could Get New Names — The Lee, Mason, Mount Vernon, Springfield and Sully districts could get new names. The county’s redistricting committee meets today to discuss possible name changes. [Fairfax County Government]
Search for Boat Owner Continues — Reston Association is looking for the owner of a Malibu boat that was found at Lake Anne. The organization has been stepping up efforts to manage abandoned boats in the area in recent months. [RA]
Photo by Marjorie Copson
(Updated at 7:51 pm)
Library Testing Kits Put On Hold — County libraries will no longer provide COVID-19 rapid tests for distribution. The program, which is managed by the Virginia Department of Health, is on hold due to supply chain issues. The program will restart when the issues are resolved. [Fairfax County Government]
Deadline for Reston Association Fee Approaches — The association’s annual fee is due on March 1. Payments can be made online, over the phone or by mail. [RA]
Reston-based Company Prepares for Growth Spurt — Science Logic, a software company, is embarking on another hiring spree. It plans to boost its workforce by 40 percent this year, a spree that could lead to a Wall Street debut. [Washington Business Journal]
Reston Association has acknowledged that technological mishaps resulted in tens of thousands of dollars in additional expenses.
The organization described how it’s working to prevent those types of incidents following a cybersecurity review by information technology professionals with Wipfli, a consulting firm that the organization is using.
The recreational services organization created an IT committee in March that met for the first time last week. RA says that upgrades put in place in 2020 and recommendations it pursued from an assessment report from Wipfli will help mitigate the risk of similar incidents.
“The security of personal information is and remains our top priority and these new processes and protocols will help safeguard our information,” RA said in a statement. “Additional security initiatives will continue to be explored in 2022 with the assistance of RA’s new Board Information Technology Committee.”
Issues with RA’s technological framework and IT practices drew some board scrutiny early last year.
Incidents cost RA an extra $46,000
As part of the IT review, the association recently described three costly problems in recent years.
One incident involved a compromised Microsoft email account that resulted in a loss of over $187,000 in December 2020. That amount was recovered through insurance policies, though, but RA had to pay a $10,000 deductible.
Reston Now previously reported that it involved then-CEO Hank Lynch’s account, according to a board member.
Earlier that year, an individual also accessed the RA website and embedded malware, making the website lose functionality and member access to information.
The organization used a national law firm, BakerHostetler, to investigate, and directed Crypsis to conduct a forensic investigation, showing that members’ personal information was not exposed.
Insurance covered the costs, aside from a $10,000 deductible. That led to the association replacing its website with an interim site through Squarespace.
“The rating on that is yellow,” Kraus said, adding that the website is more of a billboard, though than an interactive portal for members.
Also, a server crash in 2019 led the organization to shift to cloud-based storage. On-site hard drives failed that contained financial data and vehicle fuel log data, requiring the association to around $26,000 in additional costs.
Ratings, recommendations given for IT practices
The assessment review found the organization is reactive — but not chaotic — in four areas: constituent-facing services, IT governance and benchmarking, cybersecurity, and IT vision. Wipfli also found that RA is proactive — but not optimal — in two areas involving Microsoft 365 deployment as well as roles and responsibilities of its managed service provider.
“We rate these key areas from red, yellow, green, blue, to white,” Joseph Kraus, a chief information officer advisor with Wipfli, told RA’s board of directors last week, noting the review showed RA having green and yellow statuses. “Most organizations we evaluate are largely red, yellow, and some green.”
RA’s visual report card, consisting of green and yellow reviews, is not that bad, though, Kraus said, noting it’s rare to be blue or above.
The results come after the organization’s chief information officer, Clara William, resigned in August, just short of two years on the job.
A Wipfli employee, Michael Lockett, began as a virtual chief information officer for RA in November and helped the organization with operational improvements.
He’ll be working with the IT committee to act as a partner with the organization, approve projects, create baselines for communications, and assist RA with other areas.
Wipfli’s assessment also included a roadmap of solutions. Among those recommendations, it said RA should decide if a full-time IT director is needed or if a service should be used. RA currently has two IT staff.
Lynch, hired in 2018, left for a position as CEO with the San Francisco-based nonprofit WildAid, which seeks to protect wildlife.
To help with finding his replacement, the board approved creating a search committee in August with four then-yet-to-be-named members. But following advice from Baker Tilly, the Chicago-headquartered firm hired by RA, the board rescinded that motion in December, RA communications director Mike Leone wrote in an email.
The position has been marketed with a recruitment brochure that describes the position, community and organization. Baker Tilly created it, RA staff and the board of directors provided input, and the board ultimately approved it, the organization says.
A job posting listed the deadline to apply as Monday, Jan. 10.
Meanwhile, Baker Tilly is looking for feedback from RA members about what they would want in the next CEO. An online survey is available through Jan. 21 at 5 p.m.
“Survey results will be compiled and shared with the RA Board of Directors,” the survey says. “The Board of Directors will consider this information in the evaluation and selection of top candidates and in structuring a competitive interview process.”
The eight-question survey asks for information such as what experience and expertise the board should prioritize in making its selection, what leadership qualities the candidate should have and what areas should the next CEO be prepared to address, such as environmental issues, board governance, establishing community partnerships, engaging members and financial sustainability.
Based on members’ preferences, Baker Tilly will screen applicants and forward selected candidates to the board for consideration — as an interview schedule will be set up.
Further Investigations Continue on 7000-series Railcars — Metro’s general manager and chief executive officer says he does not plan on bringing 7000-series trains into service until an engineering and mechanical analysis on technology solutions occurs. [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]
Herndon M&T Bank to Be Revamped — M&T Bank in Herndon will be revamped so that it expands financial access to ethnically, racially, and diverse communities. The branch is among 23 multicultural centers operated by the bank. [M&T]
Reston Association Releases Camps Schedule — The association has released its camps schedule and activities guide. [RA]
Schools Superintendent Gets Another Role — Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Braband has been named the new executive director of the Virginia Association of Schools Superintendents. [VASS]
Photo by vantagehill/Flickr