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2023 CA Board Election: Long Reach Candidates Q&A Responses

The Merriweather Post shared a list of questions with all candidates seeking to represent their villages on the CA Board. The questions consisted of three long responses of 500 words or less, which focused the candidate's overarching philosophy of serving on the board, as well as four shorter answers consisting of 150 words or less, which focused on topics that have recently garnered community attention. Candidates were also free to submit a statement covering any topic they desired of 750 words or less.


Here are links to all Q&A articles. Hickory Ridge, Long Reach, Oakland Mills, River Hill, Wilde Lake.


Below are the responses from the two candidates seeking to represent Long Reach: Reginald Avery and Rick McCray. A third candidate, Allan Klima turned in candidate paperwork but quickly withdrew.


 

Reginald Avery

Long Form Questions

Q1. Amenities and Services: CA provides and has to balance the cost of a wide variety of amenities and services including Open Space, gyms, outdoor pools, tot-lots, after school services, villages, etc. How do you think those services and amenities should be prioritized? Do you support increased spending on any new or existing services CA provides or should provide? If so, how much would you invest and how would you fund those increases? Where would you reduce services to pay for expanded services and amenities?


Prioritization of amenities and services should be based on the needs and preferences of the community, i.e., the residents. For example, if there is a high demand for outdoor activities, open spaces, swimming pools and parks, then prioritizing the maintenance and expansion of those amenities would be beneficial to both residents and the overall community. We residents want our pools, our gyms, our trails and other amenities but we also want our facilities and services to be affordable and well kept.


In terms of funding, increasing spending on services could be funded through various sources such as user fees, grants, and partnerships with private entities. CA could also consider borrowing funds or do a better job of prioritizing capital projects. When it comes to reducing services to pay for expanded amenities, it is essential to evaluate the impact of those changes on the community. The decision to reduce services should be made with caution and involve consultation with community members. Any reduction in services should be done with the goal of minimizing the negative impact on the community. Ultimately, finding the right balance between providing services and amenities and managing costs requires careful planning, community input, and a commitment to transparency and accountability. The CA should carefully evaluate the potential benefits of any new or expanded services against the costs and determine if they are financially feasible. We should also consider alternative sources of funding, such as grants or partnerships, to help offset the costs of any new or expanded services. We have already loss too many amenities and services, let’s keep what we have and improve on those services.


When it comes to reducing services to pay for expanded amenities, it is crucial to consider the impact of those changes on the community. The decision to reduce services should be made carefully, with input from the community, and with the goal of minimizing any negative impacts. CA may consider implementing cost-saving measures in non-essential services or programs while maintaining essential amenities and services and prioritizing how to bring nonessential service back. Ultimately, finding the right balance between providing services and amenities and managing costs requires careful planning, community input, and a commitment to transparency and accountability. The community association should communicate its decision-making process to its members to ensure that they understand how resources are allocated and how decisions are made.


Q2. The Board’s Role: Explain your thoughts on the role of the CA Board (not CA as an organization but the board itself). Given the board’s finite time, what are the key decisions the board must make? How much time should the board spend on those key decisions vs. non-key issues? How will you approach differences with other board members? What mistakes do you think the board has made over the past year?


The primary role of the CA Board is to govern the Columbia Association, oversee its operations, and represent the interests of its residents. The Board should establish policies, set strategic priorities, and allocate resources to ensure that the Association operates effectively and efficiently.


Key decisions that the board must make include:

  1. Setting the annual budget and determining the appropriate allocation of resources

  2. Making strategic decisions related to the CA's long-term vision and goals

  3. Ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements

  4. Hiring and supervising the Association's President.

  5. Developing and implementing policies and procedures that govern the Association's operations.

The Board should spend most of its time on these key decisions and delegate operational tasks to the CA's President and staff. Non-key issues can be addressed by committees or staff members with the Board's oversight. When it comes to differences with other board members, it is essential to approach everyone with respect, professionalism, and an open mind. Board members should listen carefully to each other's perspectives, and work collaboratively to find solutions that best serve the community. Potential mistakes that the Board may have made over the past year could include:

  1. Failing to adequately communicate with the community and seek input from its residents.

  2. Not allocating resources effectively, resulting in budget shortfalls or overspending in certain areas.

  3. Failing to address issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion within the community and the CA.

  4. Not developing and implementing policies that align with the CA's long-term goals and vision.

In summary, the CA Board plays a critical role in governing the Association and ensuring that it operates effectively and efficiently. The board should focus its time on key decisions, delegate operational tasks, approach differences with other board members respectfully, and learn from mistakes made in the past.


Q3. President and CEO: Due to the resignation of Lakey Boyd, CA is operating with an interim CEO and President and, if elected, you will help will choose the next president. Do you think Ms. Boyd’s departure – and associated legal fees toping over $100,000 and likely payout of several hundred thousand more – benefited the community? If so, how? What qualities will you look for in candidates for CEO and President? How will you approach the relationship between the board and future president differently than the board this past year?


Regarding Lakey Boyd's departure and the legal fees associated with it, it is difficult to say whether it benefited the community or not without more context and information. A lot of that was behind closed doors and secret sessions. It is possible that her resignation and the legal fees were necessary to address some issues within the organization, and the community may have ultimately benefited from the changes that resulted from it. However, it is also possible that the situation caused much disruption and uncertainty that had negative consequences for the community and Columbia Association as a whole. In terms of qualities to look for in candidates for CEO and President, some important characteristics should include strong leadership skills, strategic thinking, experience in the industry or field, effective communication abilities, and a commitment to the organization's mission and values. It is also important to consider factors such as cultural fit, diversity and inclusion, and the ability to work collaboratively with the Board and other stakeholders. To approach the relationship between the Board and the future president differently than the previous years, it will be helpful to prioritize open communication and transparency, establish clear expectations and goals, and ensure that the Board and President are aligned in their vision and strategies for the organization. It may also be helpful to establish regular check-ins and evaluations to ensure that the relationship remains productive and effective.


The CA President should have strong leadership qualities, including the ability to inspire and motivate employees, make difficult decisions, and communicate effectively with the Board, stakeholders, and the wider community. Secondly, the CA President should have a proven track record of success, preferably in a similar industry or organization. They should have experience leading teams and managing complex projects, as well as a history of achieving results and driving growth.


Third, the President should have strong communication and interpersonal skills, as they will need to build relationships with Board members, stakeholders, and employees. That person should be able to listen to feedback and incorporate it into their decision-making process, as well as provide clear direction and guidance to their team. To improve the relationship between the Board and the future president, it's important to establish clear lines of communication and transparency. The Board will need to clearly define its expectations and goals for the CA President. Additionally, the board should provide support and resources to the President to help succeed in their role. This sould include training and development opportunities, as well as access to industry experts and advisors. Overall, the Board and President will play a critical role in the success of CA. Therefore, it is important to choose a candidate who has the right mix of skills, experience, and leadership qualities. By building a strong relationship between the Board and the CA President, the organization can achieve its goals and serve the community effectively.


Short Form Questions

Q1. Land Use: Land use and development is a controversial topic within the community. What do you think CA's role in this topic should be (if any)? What actions should CA take on this topic?


Land use and development are complex and multifaceted issues that involve various stakeholders, such as government, residents, and environmental organizations. The role of CA is engagement in community outreach and education, gather input and feedback from residents on land use and development issues through public forums, surveys, and focus groups.


Another action is to advocate for sustainable and responsible land use policies and practices that align with CA's values and goals, such as preserving natural resources, promoting environmental sustainability, and enhancing community well-being. This involves partnering with local government agencies and organizations to support policy initiatives that prioritize smart growth, green infrastructure, and equitable development.


Overall, CA's role in land use and development should be guided by its commitment to serving the best interests of the community, promoting sustainable development, and protecting the natural and cultural resources that make Columbia a unique and vibrant place to live.


Q2. Diversity: The disparity between the demographic mix on CA's board of directors and the

community at large has been criticized. What do you think of this line of criticism? Do you think CA should take any action to address this issue?


The diversity of the Columbia Association (CA) board of directors is an important issue that reflects the organization's commitment to promoting equity, and inclusion. The disparity between demographic mix of the board and community at large may be perceived as a legitimate concern by stakeholders, particularly those who feel underrepresented or marginalized in the processes. To address this issue, CA should target outreach and engagement efforts, and partner with local organizations and community leaders. The Board should promote a more inclusive and welcoming environment. Overall, addressing the disparity between the demographic mix of the CA board and the community at large requires a commitment to working together at all levels of the organization. By taking proactive steps to increase representation, support diversity, and fostering an inclusive culture, CA will promote a more equitable and responsive organization that better reflects the needs and priorities of the community.


Q3. Stream Restoration: The Lake Elkhorn Stream Restoration Project was approved by the CA Board in January 2021 with the endorsement of CA's Watershed Advisory Committee and professional staff but the board seems to be reconsidering the project. Would you support an attempt to pull CA out of the contract currently in place with Wetland Studies and Services Inc. (WSSI) to perform the stream restoration regardless of potential legal costs this could create for the community? Do you believe CA’s residents should pay for stormwater management improvements on county-owned property or property owned by individuals? What actions should CA take to address the serious erosion problems throughout the watershed and cost of dredging Lake Elkhorn?


The Lake Elkhorn Stream Restoration Project is an important initiative to address erosion and stormwater management issues within the watershed. Reconsideration should be based on a thorough review of the scientific evidence and community input.


To pull out of the contract would depend on the legal and financial implications of such a decision. It may be necessary to consider the potential costs and benefits of terminating the contract, including any legal costs that may arise from breach of contract or other disputes. Regarding whom should pay for stormwater management improvements, is a complex issue that depends on various factors, such as property ownership, the extent of improvements needed, and availability of funding sources. In general, it may be appropriate for the CA to work collaboratively with county and state agencies, as well as private property owners, to identify and implement cost-effective stormwater management solutions that benefit the entire community.


Q4. Corruption and Ethics: Vocal members of the community have accused board members and other members of the community of corruption. Do you believe any current board members, current of former CA staff, or candidates are corrupt (meaning they are acting for the financial benefit of themselves or a benefactor instead of the good of the community)? What policies should CA implement to mitigate the risks of corrupt board members?


Allegations of corruption can have serious implications for its reputation, credibility, and effectiveness. It is important that CA to take allegations seriously and investigate thoroughly to determine their validity and take appropriate actions.


Regarding whether current board members, current or former CA staff, or candidates are corrupt, is a difficult question without specific evidence or information about the allegations. It is important that allegations should be investigated through proper channels, such as internal audits or independent investigations and CA should implement policies and practices, such as:

  1. Develop code of ethics and conduct for Board and staff.

  2. Regular training and education.

  3. Implement financial and accounting controls.

  4. Conducting audits.

  5. Encourage and support whistleblowers.

Overall, unethical conduct requires strong commitment as well as ongoing evaluation of activities. Promoting transparency, accountability, and integrity, will ensure resources and decision-making processes are used for the benefit of the community.


Statement

[Mr. Avery did not provide an additional statement.]


 

Rick McCray

Long Form Questions

Q1. Amenities and Services: CA provides and has to balance the cost of a wide variety of amenities and services including Open Space, gyms, outdoor pools, tot-lots, after school services, villages, etc. How do you think those services and amenities should be prioritized? Do you support increased spending on any new or existing services CA provides or should provide? If so, how much would you invest and how would you fund those increases? Where would you reduce services to pay for expanded services and amenities?


The first priority of the Columbia Association should be to ensure we are meeting the needs of our community. By keeping the needs of our residents as our first concern, we can properly prioritize our spending. I support continuing to invest in family-friendly programs, safe and clean open spaces, accessible gyms and pools, and inclusive spaces for our youth to play and learn. We should look at our financial records and then make reasonable projections of what our fiscal need is and use that data to determine our fee structures. We do not have to increase any cost for the sake of increase, but instead must have a sufficiently data-driven reason to do so.


Q2. The Board’s Role: Explain your thoughts on the role of the CA Board (not CA as an organization but the board itself). Given the board’s finite time, what are the key decisions the board must make? How much time should the board spend on those key decisions vs. non-key issues? How will you approach differences with other board members? What mistakes do you think the board has made over the past year?


As Board Members, it is our responsibility to prioritize the key issues of our communities. I expect there will be differences among us, but I believe communication, transparency, and empathy go a long way in bridging gaps. I won’t comment on any mistakes of the Board in the past year. However, I commit to taking an honest look at opportunities for growth so I can best serve the needs of our community.


Q3. President and CEO: Due to the resignation of Lakey Boyd, CA is operating with an interim CEO and President and, if elected, you will help will choose the next president. Do you think Ms. Boyd’s departure – and associated legal fees toping over $100,000 and likely payout of several hundred thousand more – benefited the community? If so, how? What qualities will you look for in candidates for CEO and President? How will you approach the relationship between the board and future president differently than the board this past year?


In the spirit of working together for the benefit of our community, I believe it is best we look forward to the future. As a Board Member, I will represent the residents of Long Reach Village and any prospective CEO and President needs to be receptive to representing the needs of our growing community.


Short Form Questions

Q1. Land Use: Land use and development is a controversial topic within the community. What do you think CA's role in this topic should be (if any)? What actions should CA take on this topic?


The Columbia Association should have a short, medium, and long-term perspective about any decisions we make. Any actions regarding land use and development must be beneficial to our community now and for future generations. That is the perspective I will bring to the Board.


Q2. Diversity: The disparity between the demographic mix on CA's board of directors and the

community at large has been criticized. What do you think of this line of criticism? Do you think CA should take any action to address this issue?


Although I have been a proud resident of Maryland for close to fifteen years, I was raised in North Carolina. The State Motto is, “to be rather than to seem”. Columbia is one of the most diverse cities in the country and that is reflected throughout our beautiful neighborhoods, shops and schools. While it is undeniably important that we reflect the community we represent, we can take action now by listening to our residents and representing their diverse needs. I commit to doing just that when I am elected. We need candidates who will zealously represent their villages and that is exactly why I am in this race.


Q3. Stream Restoration: The Lake Elkhorn Stream Restoration Project was approved by the CA Board in January 2021 with the endorsement of CA's Watershed Advisory Committee and professional staff but the board seems to be reconsidering the project. Would you support an attempt to pull CA out of the contract currently in place with Wetland Studies and Services Inc. (WSSI) to perform the stream restoration regardless of potential legal costs this could create for the community? Do you believe CA’s residents should pay for stormwater management improvements on county-owned property or property owned by individuals? What actions should CA take to address the serious erosion problems throughout the watershed and cost of dredging Lake Elkhorn?


This is an issue I will research more as a Board Member. I am receptive to our community perspectives and we have to think about the long-term implications of any legal action we take. This decision should not be rushed, and our response should be measured.


Q4. Corruption and Ethics: Vocal members of the community have accused board members and other members of the community of corruption. Do you believe any current board members, current of former CA staff, or candidates are corrupt (meaning they are acting for the financial benefit of themselves or a benefactor instead of the good of the community)? What policies should CA implement to mitigate the risks of corrupt board members?


My campaign is transparent, and I look forward to winning this race and representing the Village of Long Reach on the Columbia Association Board of Directors. I will listen to my community, and I will make principled decisions based on their feedback. The best disinfectant is sunlight, so I will represent Long Reach with a clear conscience knowing I am giving my best, listening intently, and leading with a heart for service.


Statement

[Mr. McCray did not provide an additional statement.]

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