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Notes from the June 23 Columbia Association Board of Directors Meeting: Inaction Continue

The Columbia Association Board of Directors met for approximately 2 hours on June 23rd. The Board opted to delay decisions on several key issues including the CA President/CEO's Goals and Objectives for FY23 and an updated ethics policy. The agenda, document packet, and meeting video recording are available. The board meets next for a worksession on July 14.

All CA Boardmembers were in attendance. Brian England (Hickory Ridge) and CA President/CEO Lakey Boyd attended remotely. The Board approved their meeting minutes from the 6/9 CA Board worksession meeting (see The Merriweather Post recap) as well as minutes from a June 13 closed meeting on architectural covenant cases and a June 16 closed meeting of the CA Audit committee.

Resident Speakout

Two community leaders - Tonya Aikens (President & CEO of Howard County Library System) and Mae Beale (Prominent Civic and Community Activist) praised Lakey Boyd for her leadership and partnership joining other leaders (Erica Chavarria, Marcy Leonard, Laura Bacon, & Philip Dodge) who spoke highly of Ms. Boyd during the 6/9 meeting.

Mollie Nelson of Wilde Lake spoke on behalf of Bryant Woods families about a petition urging CA to adjust the schedule of the Bryant Woods pool to ensure family swim is available on weekends after 4:30 PM. Currently, the pool is only open for lap swimming on weekdays after 4:30 PM, so nearby families are unable to use the pool for a late afternoon/evening. Alan Klein stated this was a decision of the Wilde Lake Village Board (WLVB) and that Ms. Nelson should take the issue up with them. Bill Santos clarified it was a decision of CA Aquatics that was run by the WLVB.

Marina Blackman - a 2022 Oakland Mills graduate - spoke about an Adopt a Stream Pilot Project she led to clean-up and improve the health and quality of a stream segment in Oakland Mills. She especially thanked Ginny Thomas (Oakland Mills CA rep) and Bob Marrietta (Howard County College Health and Safety Department) for their mentorship. The student-led project can be used as a template for future student-led projects to improve stream quality elsewhere in Columbia and Ms. Blackman offered to be a resource.

Two residents spoke in regards to the Lake Elkhorn Stream Mitigation Bank. Michael Golibersuch, chair of the Owen Brown Village Board and author of the last 2 CA Board recaps on The Merriweather Post - spoke in support of the proposed stream restoration mitigation bank. Michael noted that the project would reduce the amount of dredging needed for Lake Elkhorn and appreciated that future opportunities for community input will be provided during the design phase if/when the project proceeds. Michael joked about tying himself to same tree as Sharon Boeis if design plan calls for unnecessary tree removal. Sharon Boeis then spoke and quoted Jim Rouse as part of her objection to the stream mitigation project. She thanked 7 CA Board members for joining her on a recent tour.

Anna Lee and David Donvan spoke about the Columbia Clippers Swim Team and Howard County Swim Special Olympics, thanking CA Aquatics Department for the robustness and vibrancy of Columbia Swim Community.

Nina Basu (President & CEO of Inner Arbor Trust) provided an update on open space and events on the Chrysalis stage in Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods).

FY23 President’s Goals and Objectives

The Board had been scheduled to vote to finalize the President/CEO’s Goals and Objectives for Fiscal Year 2023 (May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023). The goals were provided in advance of and presented during the June 9 worksession. See the the presentations slides starting on pages 4 of the meeting packet and/or June 9 meeting recap. While there was a lengthy discussion during the June 9 worksession, there was no strong opposition to any of Ms. Boyd’s presented goals. Nonetheless, just prior to the vote, Ginny Thomas (OM) suggested to significantly amend the objectives by deleting the “Next Normal in Operations” objectives and replacing them with new objectives regarding “Board Relations”.

The Objectives Ginny Thomas wants removed. To be replaced by objectives regarding "Board Relations"

Janet Evans (LR) noted that they are currently in a voting meeting and comments like this should have been made in the work-session 2 weeks ago. Lakey Boyd stated that the worksession did not result in any actionable items that warranted changes to FY23 objectives. Ms. Boyd explained that Individuals voiced perspectives but no clear board consensus was reached and that there has been no communications from board members since the work-session and now, suddenly, amendments are being proposed in voting session, which is an inappropriate.

The end result was the vote to finalize the CA goals and objectives for FY23 was tabled, meaning that goals and objectives for the current year will not be finalized until at least 1/4 of the way through this year.

Board Ethics Policy Discussion

Beginning in January 2022, CA staff has been developing a revised ethics policy for consideration by the Board. During the 6/9 worksession, the CA Board decided to create a new board sub-committee to revise the ethics policy. It was implied that the draft ethics policy developed by CA staff would still be the version that, once finalized, would apply to CA employees and the sub-committees output would apply only for the Board of Directors. It appears that the CA Board of Directors is planning to hold CA staff to a higher standard they they plan to hold themself.

Alan Klein (HC) brought up a new provision included in the draft ethics policy:

If a CA employee or Board member is terminated or removed, as a result of substantiated unethical or inappropriate business conduct, they shall be permanently banned from working for, or serving on behalf of CA.”

Mr. Klein stated this provision is inappropriate for a CA ethics policy as this is not for CA to decide, it is for villages to decide. Note that had this provision been part of the existing ethics policy, Alan Klein would not have been able to be re-elected to the CA Board of Directors because he had been removed in October 2021 for an ethical violation (See: Alan Klein Running for CA Board After being Removed for Ethics Violation).

Dick Boulton (DS) explains that the subcommittee is “tightening up” and “condensing” the draft ethics policy and one of the only big changes in the draft is the removal of the above provision. Boulton stated that subcommittee’s new policy will be first presented to Columbia Association General Council Wes Aniton for review and hopes to have the new policy ready for the July 14th worksession.

Lakey Boyd stated that in order to get the new policy on the agenda for the July 14th meeting, it will be needed by July 8 for inclusion in the meeting packet, which gives the subcommittee very little time to finalize the draft and have it go through legal review. Andy Stack (OB) stated the timeline does not seem realistic and other Board members generally agreed. Since CA does not meet in August, it appears that the ethics policy may not come back up until September.

President’s Report

During the President's Report, Lakey Boyd introduced a new Change in Columbia Speaker series. The first session is Tuesday July 26 at 7 PM at Slayton House (flyer below).

Dick Boulton (DS) asked whether the two Memorandums of Understanding that were noted in the President's Report would be shared with the Board. The report states “The OGC executed the MOU with Howard Research and Development (HRD) concerning Lakefront events scheduling and an MOU between CA and Columbia Aquatics Association concerning Columbia Clippers operations.” The HRD easement requires coordinating events at the Lakefront (see calendar of events The Clippers MOU formalizes relationship between CA and non-profit Columbia Aquatics Association. Lakey Boyd explained that these MOUs are normal operational practices that are typical not shared with the Board. Dick Boulton and Ginny Thomas stated that these are important programs and requested that the MOUs be shared. Lakey reminds the Board that these requests take staff resources away form other tasks to prepare documentation for board.

Other Topics

  • The Board voted 10-0 to finalize the FY23 charges to the CA Advisory Committees. They first agreed to change the name of the Millennial Advisory Committee to the “CA Next Gen” Advisory Committee, pending committee approval. They also voted to specify that the Climate Change and Sustainability Advisory Committee’s Climate Vulnerability Assessment planned for Wilde Lake in FY23 is a pilot that can be expanded to other villages in the future.

  • The CA Board voted to approve the Village Excess Cash Reserves plan as presented in the meeting package despite a letter from the Town Center Village Board with suggested modifications.

  • Shari Zaret (KC) provided an update on the Board Policy Compilation project. Shari explained that the policy committee is doing a comprehensive review of historical Board-approved policies from decades past to check for contradictions, reconciliations, cross-references etc. to decide what actions, if any, are needed in hope of creating a searchable database of CA policies that can be a useful tool.

  • Discussion on a board retreat, facilitation, and date.


Katie Kirk
Katie Kirk

Full disclosure- I have not watched the meeting only read these updates (which are super helpful b/c so condensed). Did Ms. Thomas give a reason why she wanted the objectives changed in the New Normal goal & replaced w/ board relations? I'm curious why it is even allowed for goals & objectives to not be approved prior to the start of the FY where they would be getting worked on. What am I missing? Did no one else want to vote to approve?

Katie Kirk
Katie Kirk

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!


Jessamine Duvall
Jessamine Duvall

Something you wrote here is very important - “It appears that the CA Board of Directors is planning to hold CA staff to a higher standard they they plan to hold themself.” There is absolutely no reason for a subcommittee to revisit the excellent policy created by CA staff. The desire to revise and have a separate policy for the board is a clear indication that several board members know that the proposed new ethics policy will impact them personally. Pay attention, Columbia. These folks are damaging CA’s reputation and its legal and financial health.

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