RA Bylaws: Board Elections Must Go On

Three candidates for three Reston Association board spots still must go through election process, Reston bylaws say.

Even though all three of the open Reston Association Board of Directors spots have just one candidate each, the election must go on as scheduled.

That's because Reston bylaws say there must be voting by referendum by the members and there must be an election quorum of 10 percent of the eligible voters.

"In accordance with the Section III.5(a) of the Amended Reston Deed, the Directors are elected by the voting members," says Cate Fulkerson, RA's Director of Administration, IT & Member Services. "In order to have an election, there must be a vote of the members."

Fulkerson added that the Association’s governing documents say the voting by the members must be done by referendum.

"So whether running contested or uncontested, annually, the Association's members have the right to and the sole responsibility for electing Directors to the board," said Fulkerson.

The cost to conduct a vote by referendum of the members, is currently approximately $55,000, she said.

Only when there is a resignation or vacancy of a board seat that comes about outside of an annual election can the vacant seat be temporarily filled by appointment of the remaining Directors, Fulkerson said.

The last time RA had an uncontested election was in 2009.  Kathleen Driscoll McKee was running for her second term as the South Lakes District representative; Paul Thomas and Tom Vis were running for the two open At-Large Director seats.

The 2013 elections began with five candidates for three spots, but at-large hopeful John Farrell and Northpoint candidate Larry Dunn both dropped out.

So Eve Thompson (Lake Anne/Tall Oaks), Tim Cohn (Northpoint) and Ken Knueven (at-large) continue in the race.

Here's a little bit about the candidates:

At-Large candidate Ken Knueven, a technology executive, is the current RA president and represents Lake Anne/Tall Oaks. He has been a Reston resident for more than 25 years.

"Three years ago, I set out to focus my first term on Reston’s heritage, its existing assets, and its infrastructure," he said in his official candidate's statement. "In an era of strained budgets, it is important to prioritize investments in a way that leverages, and most importantly, enhances what we have.  To address this, as President, I decided to focus the Board’s attention on items we can hold ourselves accountable:

* Begin now, to annually develop and allocate appropriate financial resources to sustain and enhance the Association’s physical infrastructure.

* To establish procedures that will ensure Reston Association’s interests and needs are considered in redevelopment and revitalization of our community. 

* Regularly engage the diverse elements of the community on issues and opportunities that impact Reston. 

The key point here is to build upon and leverage our existing investments, our resources and our partners.  If re-elected I will continue to focus on these initiatives, ensuring our community thrives and prospers."

Lake Anne/Tall Oaks candidate Eve Thompson, a Long & Foster Realtor, is also a longtime Reston resident who runs the Saturday Craft Market at Lake Anne Plaza. She is also a former president of the Lake Anne Merchants Association.

Says Thompson:

"The amount of development already planned for Reston poses serious challenges and great opportunities for our community.  In the Lake Anne/Tall Oaks district the proximity of the Metro begs for strong integration of walk-able and bike-able access from Metro to our neighborhoods.  My primary goal would be to protect and improve the assets of the Lake Anne/Tall Oaks district and to make sure that where development is done that it contributes to the value, beauty and overall quality of life of this community.

* Improve non-car access to Metro

* Protect and improve recreational facilities and open space

* Be demanding about design standards for new development

Northpoint Candidate Tim Cohn is a water scientist and former Reston Runners president.

"The arrival of our new Metro system will accelerate new development," says Cohn. "As we go through this period of transition, my goal is to maintain and preserve Reston’s open spaces.  I pledge to support smart growth and alternative modes of transportation while protecting and upholding the qualities that define Reston."

"I will strive to keep annual assessments at comfortable levels while accomplishing our goals as a community.  Fostering civility in all of our activities is important, and I will work to improve the Association’s responsiveness and respectfulness to our community."

To see the candidates' complete statements, click here.

 A candidates' forum will be held at 7 p.m. on March 4. Voting also begins that day.

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Stuart Rakoff February 12, 2013 at 03:48 PM
What happens if fewer than 10% of the residents vote in this non-election - do the seats become vacant and can be filled by the board?
Holly February 12, 2013 at 04:38 PM
Seems like a waste of money, to hold the elections if the seats are uncontested. In the grand scheme of budgeting, maybe $55,000 is not that much, but I could think of some great ways that could be used within the community. Can we modify the Reston Deed to handle this situation?
Lilguy February 12, 2013 at 06:07 PM
So, what about write-in ballots???
Mike Collins February 12, 2013 at 06:20 PM
Stu - The sitting director stays until a successor is elected. So, I would keep my seat until I resigned and then the Board could appoint someone to serve until the next annual election. Holly - That's a great idea. Of course, we have to have a referendum to change the deed. Lilguy - I think write ins are allowed.
Holly February 12, 2013 at 07:39 PM
I hadn't thought of write-ins. I guess that would be the reason to keep the election in place...
Mike Collins February 12, 2013 at 07:46 PM
Oops - I was mistaken. Write-ins are not allowed.
Holly February 12, 2013 at 07:50 PM
If the slate is set, and there is no competition, then I am back to my first comment--can we amend the Reston Deed? I am all for free and fair elections, but if the election truly doesn't/can't change the outcome, is it necessary? Just curious given this unique situation.
Mike Collins February 12, 2013 at 08:03 PM
We can amend, but that wouldn't be easy or cheap. Per Section VIII.2. of the Deed, amendments to require the prior approval of the Board of Directors and more than a two-thirds vote of owners (not renters) in a referendum in which at least thirty percent of such owners participate. The last referendum failed to garner a quorum so we wouldn't want to do it unless it were an extremely important issue. One way to save money is to get more people to vote online and staff does a lot to promote that method.
Holly February 12, 2013 at 09:40 PM
That makes senses
Laura Calacci February 13, 2013 at 04:34 PM
Amendments, by-laws,the deed, referendum.....sounds like much ado about nothing to me. If Obama can disregard the constitution, can't we disregard the by-laws and start from scratch with common sense solutions to these issues? Times change, things change and situations arise. We need to be able to adapt to these changes without such silly rules and regulations. RA is after all, a homeowner's association, but it acts like it is a government entity. RA is wasteful and is disconnected from the people it is supposed to serve. I honestly believe it should be disbanded and Reston should just be "folded" into the county. I used to feel Reston was different than Burke, or Fairfax, or Centreville. But now, it isn't that different. And we pay a lot of money for staff and boards and leasing offices that frankly are not giving us our moneys worth.
Tiffany May 29, 2013 at 10:00 PM
Is it possible to actually disband the reston association? If so how?


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