News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Snowgate: The Buck Stops Here

Reston Association CEO Milton Matthews has sent an e-mail to all candidates running for seats on the RA Board saying that he alone made the decision to send an official Reston Association e-mail with the names of three candidates who were among the organizers of last weekend's snow removal push.

In the message, Matthews said he was aware the snow-removal event was planned by three Board candidates, but "given the nature of the volunteer work and what I believe were many benefits to the community, I do not second-guess my decision to disseminate the information via RA's various communication channels." Milton also apologized for creating "a stressful situation" for election committee members. The full text follows:


As many of you know, there are e-mails and probably other forms of communications circulating which call into question whether it was a wise decision on the part of RA to disseminate information about a community-wide call for volunteers to assist with snow removal on sidewalks, pathways and, in some cases near bus stops, located adjacent to several schools in Reston. The first point I need to make is that the decision to disseminate the information was mine and not that of RA’s Board of Directors. And, given that the members of the Board of Directors are my bosses, I take absolutely no position on whom those individuals will be, with the only exception being the vote I cast as a Member of the Reston Association.

When I was asked if RA would send out the information about the call for volunteers, my first question was whether RA would be the only source attempting to get the word out to the community. I was assured that efforts by many others were already underway to get the word out. Yes, I was very conscious of the fact that the information to be disseminated acknowledged that among the organizers were three candidates for the RA Board of Directors. However, given the nature of the volunteer work and what I believe were many benefits to the community, I do not second guess my decision to disseminate the information via RA’s various communication channels. On a personal note, I actually shoveled snow and ice at Armstrong Elementary School shoulder to shoulder with individuals I was meeting for the first time.

I have repeatedly stated that I want the Reston Association to be a valued and reliable resource to the community, even if there is a matter in which we are not the direct service provider. I believe getting the word out about the call for volunteers was a service to the community, notwithstanding the fact that three of the organizers of the effort are candidates for the RA Board of Directors.

To members of the Election Committee, I apologize if my decision has created a stressful situation for you.

Milton W. Matthews
Chief Executive Officer
Reston Association
We still think in the interest of full disclosure, the three board candidates should have been identified as such in the e-mail, or that it should have been left to other groups to disseminate. But kudos to Matthews for stepping up and taking responsibility.


  1. It would be good I think if Mathews would apologize(to the list he violated the use of) to instead of to the Election board to the citizens of Reston for forever influencing this election.

    Why not since it seems to be a mistake to give the responsibility of the email list to a independent board made up of Reston Citizens appointed by the Reston Citizens Association, ARCH and three from the Reston Asociation? At least until this can be investigated.

    I'm thinking of Watergate and how so many people said ah can we get back to watching out TV. Get over it.

    Joe Layton told me of how Robin and Milton Mathews tried to get him into a room alone in a effort to silence him. Richard Chew meet with me in a effort to get me to resign from the race I was in with him. So there are people who try to influence the election.

    Only a few of the 64,000 of Reston citizens read here regularly and even know of this. It's in their interest that they do.

  2. Matthews is long overdue to be gone. It's awful to see how he manipulates the RA board for his own interests. On the other hand, I don't know why the RA board, and specifically Robin, can't be strong enough to make the decision to go ahead and dismiss him. He was under=served Reston and for $180k a year, all Restonians would expect better from him.

  3. Milton is not even addressing the real issue. Most people don't have a problem with Reston Ass sending out an email in support of an effort by the FCPS to get citizens to help shovel snow. It's the fact that Reston Ass used this as an opportunity to advertise the names of their preferred slate of candidates. Why were their names even mentioned in the email? What purpose did it serve to the task at hand? The 3 candidates didn't even know each other before this event. What they have in common is that they are the handpicked candidates of the current RA board.

  4. kudos to Milton Matthews - are you kidding me? where is the apology?! He only apologizes to the RA election committee for "creating a stressful situation". Please show me the apology line in that letter - he actually defends his actions. He is so disingenous and is only sorry for tipping the hand that the board has hand picked three candidates. He is the CEO of Reston, we all pay his salary. His actions should have ramifications.

    The issue is over and I am sure everyone is ready to move on, but please don't give the Milton Matthews "kudos" - that is insulting.

  5. Why did Reston Ass find it necessary to link the names of 3 candidates running for the board with an effort by FCPS to ask citizens to help with snow removal. The FCPS sent messages via their keep in touch system and through school principles and PTA's asking for help with snow removal. The following is a line from one such message that I received from FCPS:

    "The school system asks for everyone’s help in clearing walking paths and bus stops so that students can get to school safely. See the Fairfax County Public Schools website for more information. "

    I don't have a problem with Reston Ass sending out a message in support of this effort. I have a problem with Reston Ass including the names of 3 board candidates in the message. Board candidates with very strong ties to existing board members and the RCC. No mere coincidence. Mattews so called apology is an obvious attempt to control the backlash.

  6. Oh, this is just so much fun to follow. Maybe we should bet MM to prostrate himself before the media alongside Tiger Woods. Remember, folks, No Questions Allowed!

  7. What I don't understand is why this can't just be out in the open? If the board wants to endorse candidates, they should. Heck, even have psuedo-parties! It would make it a lot easier for those of us who can't follow the tedious minutia of Reston politics!

  8. Meanwhile back to the campaign to feed the homeless: I've heard back from Cate (at least we're back on a first name basis again, for a while there it was all Mr Koozmin, Mrs Fulkerson. If you'd ever meet Cate , well you want to keep on her good side. I get the feeling that Cate cares about the homeless and about this possible project)

    As far as I'm concerned if we can gather this food which for the most part will otherwise just get old in peoples cupboards and be thrown away and it can feed people who are hungry let's invite everyone Milton Mathews and Richard Chew included!

    Let's just get together Reston and make Reston the best place on the planet to live work and play as Robert Simon envisioned. let's PUT THE PAST BEHIND US.

    I've been in contact with FACETS and they are eager to receive the food for the hungry homeless.

    Flag this messageRE: food drive for FACETSThursday, February 18, 2010 4:19 PMFrom: "Cate Fulkerson" View contact detailsTo: "Rod Koozmin" Cc: "Milton Matthews" ,,,, tim_donohue_37@hotmail.comRod -

    I think it is a good idea to invite all of the Candidates to participate. However, if it is a “candidate advertised” effort; i.e. “RA Board Candidate Rod Koozmin is organizing an effort to…”, the Elections Committee will have to look into the veracity of RA advertising such a Candidate lead event. I have copied the Committee and Mr. Matthews on this request.

    Regards -- Cate

  9. should work on feeding the homeless because it's important to you...not so that eveyone can see what a swell guy you are.

    Matt. 6:1-6 "...So when ou give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do..."

    What effort have you put to this and other similar works prior to Snow-gate?

  10. If it takes this to get this done, if it takes the controversy over the sending RA endorsements to get theRA to send a email then let it be.

    I had previously chaired the Reston Citizens Association forum on sharing information (if you read my candidacy statement) I hope to be able to communicate both ways in Reston and think that would make Reston a better place. If we had citizen to citizen communication included in the RA budgeted 1.5 million for RA computers and comunication than all of this wouldn't be.

  11. Rod—I’m sorry but this is insincere at best. Your idea was born out of a desire to also have your name associated with a “good deed” not by a desire to help those in our community who are in less fortunate circumstances. By all means—launch a campaign to feed the hungry. Just separate it from your candidacy.

  12. Some RA members have lodged a formal complaint with the Election Oversight Committee. The basis of the complaint is:

    The movement to enlist citizens to help dig out bus stops and sidewalks was actually organized by FCPS. They distributed many notices via email, the media and phone calls to parents.

    RA could have sent out an e-notification about the event on behalf of FCPS without including the candidates names. This would have been appropriate.

    It was not appropriate to distribute a notice that prominently mentions the names of 3 candidates (who happen to be running in 3 separate races). The inclusion of their names in the notice served no purpose other than to promote the candidates.

    Although only a small percentage of Reston residents vote, the people receiving e-notifications and checking the RA Facebook page are among the most likely to vote. Their are very limited opportunities for candidates to communicate with RA members. Any communication which prominently mentions candidates creates an unfair advantage.

    The candidates mentioned in the email are the preferred candidates of at least one current board member, Richard Chew. Did Mr Chew use his influence as a board director to get this message sent out?

  13. Don't take the bait, Rod. The Troll has turned its eye towards you.


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