Reston Association’s newly-elected Board of Directors will fill a vacancy on its board after Sridhar Ganesan resigned earlier this year due to personal and business reasons.
Two applicants have applied for the open at-large director seat, which will have a special term through the next election in April 2020.
The board will vote on the appointment on Thursday (May 23) at its regularly scheduled board meeting.
Edward Abbott, a Reston resident of 39 years and chairman of RA’s elections committee, said he wants to work with the board to ensure Hank Lynch, RA’s new CEO, implements the goals and plans he has outlined.
Abbott, who cited his experience as a lay member of RA’s Design Review Board, said he wants to ensure the board’s actions are also “in the best interests of its members.” He also hopes to make progress on finalizing RA’s code of ethics.
Doug Britt, the second candidate and a Reston resident of 44 years, says he wants to ensure “growth does not outpace infrastructure” and maintain Reston’s connection to nature.
Britt, who notably led the first Reston Annual State of the Environment Report project and served on RA’s lakes, boats and docks working group and its environmental advisory committee, also stressed the need for “substantive communications between the board, staff, and public.”
Their candidate statements are in their entirety and in unedited form below:
I have lived in Reston for 39 years. While our sons were growing up, I volunteered on their swim, baseball and soccers teams. More recently I was a lay member on Reston’s Design Review Board and am currently Chairman of the Elections Committee. Since coming to Reston, I have worked at the highest level for a large federal regulatory agency, a congressional technology office, testified before Congress and founded a successful engineering and management consulting business. I have served on numerous corporate boards, evaluated personnel and organizations for large corporations and state agencies. I have performed detailed analysis of complex systems and conducted comprehensive multi-billon dollar cost estimates for large industrial projects. Finally, prior to coming to Reston, I served on a school board in a rural district in upstate New York.
The Board recently hired a new CEO. He has outlined his plans and goals for the association. They appear sound and should improve the Association’s operation and member experience. As a Director, I would work with the Board to oversee the progress in implementing those plans and goals and providing guidance as needed. Also, I would work with the Board to assure that the Board’s actions are in the best interests of its members, in conformance with the governing documents and conducted in accordance with good business practices. Finally, I will work with the Board to finalize the Code of Ethics.
I’ve lived in Reston for 44 years. I started a company here in 1984 and served as a contractor to Reston Home Owners Association providing lake monitoring services. My professional background is in the fields of life sciences, natural resources management, and sustainable development. I served as President and COO of four professional services firms where I was responsible for day-to-day operations, strategic planning, policy development, and profit and loss. Since retiring in 2015, I have been supporting numerous RA initiatives. I am a volunteer stream monitor, work WNC events, and drafted Reston’s successful Biophilic Cities Network application. I serve on the Lakes, Boats & Docks Working Group, and the Environmental Advisory Committee where I designed and led the RASER project, which was selected for RA’s 2017 Volunteer Group of the Year Award. I also was very honored to be selected as RA’s 2018 Volunteer of the Year.
I want to use my special skills and experience to give back to this community which means so much to me and my family. This is a critical transition for Reston as it undergoes redevelopment while the entire metropolitan area girds for more population growth. I understand we must accommodate growth, but not at the expense of our quality of life, nor to the detriment of our recently acquired “Biophilic Cities” designation (i.e., the unique way Reston connects its people to nature where they live, work and play). I believe Reston is special in how it was conceived and designed; its best features still reflect Bob Simon’s original vision and founding principles. Consequently I will strive to see that growth does not outpace needed infrastructure and that our connection to nature is preserved and remains an iconic part of the Reston experience. I will also stress substantive communications between the Board, staff, and public.
(Update at 2:31 p.m. to include information about the timing of Ganesan’s resignation)
Sridhar Ganesan has resigned from his position as vice president of Reston Association’s Board of Directors roughly one week after the results of this year’s board election were released.
Ganesan was appointed to a one-year, at-large seat in 2017 and served as treasurer. The next year, he was elected to an at-large seat. His term expires in 2021.
After missing several board meetings earlier this year, Ganesan said he realized that it would be difficult to balance his commitment to the board with his business obligations. The Reston resident recently took on two major projects in Frederick, Md. and another abroad, making it challenging to balance both obligations.
Ganesan told Reston Now he did not want to officially announce his resignation during the board’s election process in order to prevent confusion. He had hoped to leave in the beginning of the year so that the new board-appointment member could serve a more complete term.
Mike Leone, Reston Association’s director of communications and community relations, told Reston Now that Ganesan notified the organization of his resignation on Sunday (April 14). In order to make it in time for the latest election, Ganesan would have had to make an official announcement about his intention to resign by the end of November or early December. His new business obligations surfaced earlier this year, he said.
Reston Association released the following statement from Ganesan:
“I very much appreciate the confidence placed in me by the RA membership and the support I received from them, the RA staff and my board colleagues, especially during 2017-2018, when I helped implement new operational policies and procedures, as well as internal controls at RA. I am also happy that during my two years on the RA board, I helped forge and maintain a strong partnership between RA and Coalition for Planned Reston (CPR), which resulted in holding off the Fairfax County from raising the density cap for Reston PRC district.”
The board has issued a call for candidates to fill the seat vacated by Ganesan. Candidates can apply by submitting a statement of candidacy to the assistant secretary by May 16 at 5 p.m. The board will review candidate applications that are certified by staff at a May 23 board meeting.
The term will run through April 2020 and be up for election in 2020. The elected candidate will serve the final year of the term.
Photo by Reston Association
In its most recent public hearing on the proposed budget for 2018, held on Monday evening (video here), members of the Reston Association Board of Directors proposed yet another new assessment rate of $681 for residents.
The rate would equal a decrease of $39 from the 2017 initial proposed rate of $720, which was later reduced to $692 only through the spending of around $550,000 in reserve cash.
Previously, in the first draft of the budget, the assessment rate had been proposed at $678.
On Monday evening, board treasurer and at-large director Sridhar Ganesan said a few changes had brought it back up roughly $3 to $681. Those changes included the decision to pay off the loan on the Lake House renovations using reserve cash, which shaved $8.66 off assessment rates, and changes to the RA pool schedules he said they made in response to resident feedback, which added another $2.88 back on to the rate.
“There was a lot of public request from a pool schedule request. We changed that – we brought a lot of it back to around what the 2016 levels were,” Ganesan explained.
Ganesan said other cost-saving measures had initially allowed the directors to get assessments all the way down to $670, but after the first few budget work sessions and last week’s first public hearing, more changes were made. Those included adding staff coverage for more litter clean-up and the handling of Design Review Board covenants requests, as well as the adding of an additional Parks and Recreation staff member. In addition, Ganesan said healthcare costs for some employees went up slightly with the recent annual enrollment period.
“So, with some changes up and some changes down, we ended up at $681,” he finished.
Only one resident showed up for the public hearing portion of the evening. The woman asked for more maintenance of tennis courts due to high usage, including repaving and cleaning of mold and slime from the courts, which she said are a slipping hazard. Additional lighting was also requested, particularly at courts in the south part of Reston.
Furthermore, the woman asked for a feasibility study for the addition of indoor tennis options.
“It’s something our tennis community has been wanting for a long time,” she said, pointing out that it would allow for year-round lessons and exercise opportunities for residents.
Following the public comments, the meeting was adjourned.
The final vote on the 2018 budget and assessment rate is scheduled to take place at the board’s regular meeting on Nov. 16.
Ganesan immediately took his new seat at the directors’ table after the ballots were counted.
Ganesan is president of the Reston Citizens Association and also heads the group that applied to conduct the audit of the Tetra/Lake House purchase and renovations.
“I’m here for the same reason many of you are; I want to be a volunteer,” Ganesan said when addressing the board just before the ballots were cast. “And I feel this is the right time for me to step up and serve.”
Ganesan said he feels community involvement is crucial now, perhaps more so than ever.
“I think RA is at a critical juncture at this stage, as it is attempting to inspire renewed trust and confidence with the community.”
He added that through his experience as a CFO, he is familiar with taking recommendations from experts and moving them past the “talking” phase and into the implementation phase, which he thinks will be a valuable skill he can bring to the table.
“I also bring a lot of corporate finance experience, which is something I think could be of great help when it comes to balancing capital investment projects,” he added, explaining that the “balancing” part means not “analyzing something to death,” while also being sure to follow correct procedures and being as transparent as possible, which is crucial when dealing with public money.
“I think I can help build bridges with the public community, as the CFO of a public corporation,” he concluded.
Mike Werner, who ran against Ganesan for the treasurer’s seat, continues to serve on the Reston Association Finance Committee, which he has been a member of since 2014.
Image: Sridhar Ganesan via Twitter