On January 28th, Harper's Choice Columbia Association (CA) Representative, Alan Klein, emailed a statement regarding the resignation of former CA CEO and President Lakey Boyd to some residents of Harper's Choice (Mr. Klein's statement is posted in its entirety below). This article compares Mr. Klein's statement to other statements and adds context to portions of it.
Lack of Justification for Ms. Boyd's Departure
While Mr. Klein's statement provides an explanation of the circumstances that led to recent events, it does not explain why Ms. Boyd's departure was beneficial to the community nor offer a justification for Mr. Klein's decisions. The statement clearly explains Mr. Klein's belief that the community was harmed by these events but did not explain why he believes Ms. Boyd's departure was better than other options available to the board. Other options available to the board included at least 1) simply accept a contentious relationship because Ms. Boyd's positive contributions to the community were more important than her contentious relationship with the board and 2) board members could have resigned and allowed community members capable of working with Ms. Boyd to take their place. At least six current or former board members who served during Ms. Boyd's tenure were able to work with her - Mr. Stack, Bill Santos (Wilde Lake), Janet Evans( formerly Long Reach), Tina Horn (formerly Wilde Lake), Ashley Vaughn (formerly Harper's Choice), and Jessamine Duvall (formerly Hickory Ridge) - indicating that difficulty working with Ms. Boyd was limited to select individuals.
Corroboration of Previous The Merriweather Post Reporting
Mr. Klein's statement corroborates several major assertions in previous The Merriweather Post articles: that the board's issues with Ms. Boyd were centered on the board themselves instead of on Ms. Boyd's service to the community and that specific points of contention included the settlement related to Symphony of Lights as well as CA's decision not to cast votes in the 2022 elections. Specifically, Mr. Klein's statement corroborated past reporting by referring to the communication between Ms. Boyd and the Board about the Symphony of lights settlement agreement (as opposed to the terms of the agreement itself) as a reason the Board's relationship with Ms. Boyd deteriorated.
Disparity with Other Recent Statements
Mr. Klein's statement conflicts with the press release issued by CA's Board of Directors on January 7th. The press release claimed that speculation and "rumors" concerning Ms. Boyd's job security were false. Mr. Klein's statement conflicts with the press release by explaining that the issues that created Ms. Boyd's conflict with the board and eventually led to her departure from CA have been building for over a year.
A portion of Mr. Klein's statement also conflicts with the statement issued by Owen Brown representative, Andy Stack. The two statements disagree on whether mediation between the board and Ms. Boyd was possible with Mr. Klein's stating it was not and Mr. Stack's claiming mediation was possible.
Additionally, Mr. Klein's statement claims the board attempted to "co-create a good working relationship with [Ms. Boyd]." The claim that the board sought to "co-create" a good working relationship conflicts with previous statements by Mr. Stack that claim the board's "plan" to improve the relationship was unidirectional and outlined responsibilities only for Ms. Boyd.
The disparity regarding the possibility of mediation could reflect an honest disagreement between Mr. Stack and Mr. Klein. The other disparities relate to objective facts and indicate that at least some of these statements are inaccurate and possibly dishonest.
Omissions and Lack of Detail
Mr. Klein's statement omits or lacks several relevant details.
Specifically, Mr. Klein does not explain his centrality in some of the events he described. He references his absence from the board but does not explain that he was removed from the board by at least two thirds of the other board members due to an ethics violation. His ethics violation was directly related to one of the events Mr. Klein identified as damaging the board's trust in Ms. Boyd: her decision not to cast votes in the 2022 election due to the "candidate pool." Mr. Klein's statement obfuscates the fact that it was his candidacy that likely led Ms. Boyd to judge it was in the best interest of CA to avoid endorsing an individual with recurrent ethics violations. A corporation (such as CA) endorsing a board member with serious and chronic ethics violations could potentially place the corporation at risk of elevated insurance and interest rates among other issues.
More generally, Mr. Klein's statement is vague in many places and avoids identifying the number and names of board members who perceived the issues as described (e.g. is "many" a reference to two board members or ten?) and whether Mr. Klein thought those perceptions were justified. Additionally, Mr. Klein expresses a hope that the community learns from this experience but did not specify what he hopes other people learn and whether he had learned anything himself.
Mr. Klein's statements refers to a mutual non-disparagement agreement between Ms. Boyd and the CA Board. This is the first publicly available claim that Ms. Boyd's resignation was accompanied by a negotiated agreement. It seems likely that a negotiated agreement would have also included some sort of financial compensation for Ms. Boyd (paid for with community funds) and an agreement not to pursue legal action.
Mr. Klein's Statement
I am disheartened by the resignation of Lakey Boyd as CA President. When she applied, I was one of her strongest supporters and ensured that her candidacy stayed active, even over the skepticism of some. I thought that she answered questions well and thoughtfully. I was hoping she would have a long, successful tenure. Lakey was in many ways an impactful leader who, in her short time at CA, had many accomplishments and I congratulated her on them publicly. I wish her success in the future and thank her for her work with CA.
Unfortunately, when I returned to the Board in May 2022, it was clear that the majority on the Board had lost trust in her. Much of it seemed to arise from communications between the Board and her over the lawsuit concerning encroachment in Symphony Woods. This was compounded by her unilateral decision to end a 50-year tradition of CA casting its votes in Village elections because she did not like “the candidate pool”. This was felt by many to have tarred the whole group. There were other reasons that I was told about, but was not a party to, since they occurred when I was not on the Board.
Compounding the trust issue was her appeal of her first year’s evaluation (which I was not party to), the Board’s denial of her appeal, and other major events (that she initiated) which rendered the Board unable to communicate with her (with or without a mediator) or with the public about what was going on. (We agreed to mutual non-disparagement, so I will not elaborate on what these events were, even though the issues at this point are moot.)
This fiscal year, the Board attempted to let her know what we expected in order to co-create a good working relationship with her, and she replied, to the media and not to us, that what we expected was unacceptable to her and at that point declared her intention to transition out of CA.
No one comes out of this a winner. No one comes out of it looking good.
Some of this, I believe, traces its roots to our CA founding documents, which have created a more “political” board than other non-profits have. There is strength in this, in that it gives residents continuous say in the direction of our community’s HOA. There is also weakness in it, in that it creates some inherent tensions that do not exist in other non-profit corporations.
My only hope is that we all learn from this and continue to work to make Columbia the visionary place it has been for over 50 years and guide it successfully into the next 50.