So maybe all the talk about goats and bocce of late have been a textbook example of willful misdirection. While we've all been hand-wringing about memorial gardens and whatnot, a shadowy "consultant" has been recommending the creation of a
star chamber governance committee that would help select potential Reston Association Board members.
In a "web log" post, John Lovaas described this proposal:
Since July, Board members, along with a consultant brought in by the CEO, have been skirmishing about the Governance Committee which would sit at the very top of the pyramid of RA committees. This ruling committee would be in addition to the existing Board Planning Committee which currently sets the agenda for Board meetings and is responsible for strategic planning. The Governance Committee would absorb several of its functions, including strategic planning. This new Committee would consist exclusively of Board President, VP, Secretary, and the CEO, whereas the Planning Committee is much more broadly representative. This concentration of power, including decision authority, is one reason why Board members have not reached agreement yet.RA Board Chair Ken Kneuven responded:
In addition, the proposal calls for Governance to have extraordinary powers, such as “succession planning”, including picking a “pool” of people who would be eligible for election to the Board; naming a slate of approved (endorsed?) candidates for election and orienting them to RA before the election is even held; and, establish[ing] a Board code of conduct and conflict of interest rules.
Certainly a code of conduct and more effective conflict of interest prohibitions seem to be in order after events of the last two years. The land swap in effect transferring an acre of Reston community upland hardwood trees for private use as a parking lot is one prime example. But, putting conflict of interest and code of conduct matters in the hands of the three officers and CEO does not seem the best solution. Independent, third party help with appropriate credentials is needed, as is broader Board participation.
And, the proposal to put Board succession into the hands of incumbents—deciding who is eligible, picking a Board-blessed slate—is inconsistent with our community values and downright anti-democratic. I am not 100% sure where this idea originated, but it is a bad one and should be returned to sender.
While the proposed Board Governance Committee will help to generate interest in running for the board and serving on the RA board of directors, the membership of Reston is still responsible for electing those who lead them. Helping to ensure a viable pool of candidates exists only strengthens the choices the community has when voting every Spring.Just what you'd expect them to say, right?
Actually, given the fact that RA board elections have just as often been unopposed as contested in recent years, identifying more people who want to throw their hat in the ring isn't necessarily a bad idea. But as with goats and bocce courts, the devil's in the details. Also, apparently this was discussed at a working meeting last week, but who knows what happened since the last meeting minutes posted were from the end of July, the end.
Update: Our BFFs at Reston2020 helpfully point out that most of the most egregious language has now been gutted from the proposal.