Thursday, January 12, 2023

The Other Shoe


The Columbia Controversy continues.

Last night CA President Lakey Boyd released this statement*:  

I attended a meeting with the CA Board Chair and Vice Chair on January 6, 2023, along with CA's Director of Human Resources, Diversity and Inclusion. I was told the meeting was to discuss actions taken at the January 4, 2023 closed Board meeting. I was provided a hard copy of the Board's plan in the January 6 meeting. After review and reflection of the discussion, and due to the terms of the plan and the timeline, I believe the Board's plan renders me ineffective in being able to carry out my duties as President/CEO as they are detailed in my contract. I have concluded that I have no other choice but to ask the CA Board to transition me out of the Columbia Association. 

The Baltimore Sun and the Baltimore Banner subsequently put out stories last night as well.

Is this an announcement of her departure?  Or is it a very public statement that tell us that whatever was proposed to her was a dealbreaker and, if she is to stay, must be withdrawn? After all, the Board announced the presentation of their Plan in a similarly public way. It would make sense from a public relations standpoint to respond in kind.


I reached out to my CA Rep about  Item (a) on tonight’s agenda. Remember that? That’s the one Ms. Thomas omitted from her letter to Oakland Mills residents.

a) Audit Committee Recommendations to the Board of Directors regarding Governance and Ethics Matters

 In her response Ms. Thomas stated:

…it is a report from the consultant hired by the CA audit committee give their recommendations on how CA should handle ethics complaints. We will be discussing their report. You can find it in the Jan 12 agenda packet.

Let me know if you have any questions about it. I am studying it and have some concerns that I need them to address especially on who can or can’t vote.

In looking at the report one item in particular caught my eye.

Board and Staff Relationships

General Comment: It is critical that the Board, President/CEO and Senior Staff maintain a working relationship with open communication and trust.

Recommendation: Good faith efforts must be made towards trust, communication and transparency between the Board and all CA senior staff. In cases where that is overly difficult, the Committee recommends mediation provided by an independent, qualified third party.

Yes, yes, yes!

If I could wave a magic wand over the specifics of the current controversy, I’d probably wish that we had some sort of truly effective mediation process that could assist Boyd and the Board in hashing out their differences and in establishing a healthier way of relating with one another. - - “Press Conference”, Village Green/Town²

You can find the memorandum in the packet for tonight’s meeting. It’s absolutely worth reading in its entirety but this is the one issue I will be focusing on when I write a letter to the CA Board later today.

Another piece of information worth noting is the most recent letter/blog post written by the CA Rep from Wilde Lake, Bill Santos.

Notes from Hillside, Bill Santos, Wilde Lake CA Representative 

Without revealing any confidential information, Santos paints a clear picture of the goings-on of the current board in a way which fills in some of the blanks for me. My most important take-aways from his piece are that 1) statements and actions taken against Ms. Boyd do not represent a unified board in its totality, and 2) Santos implores residents to diligently pay attention to what’s going on at CA for the next several months. 

A good place to start is reading this piece by Michael Golibersuch for The Merriweather Post. 

“CA Board Releases Statement on Relationship with CA President that Leaves Many Unanswered Questions”

Update on January 8th, 2023: Owen Brown CA Representatives Mr. Andy Stack, Wilde Lake CA Representative Mr. Bill Santos, and Long Reach CA Representative Ms. Janet Evans have all voiced their opposition to the press release that was issued by the CA Board on January 6th and said they were in the minority that voted against it. 

If you are finding all of this rather exhausting, I’m with you. But, following Bill Santos’ lead, I’m going to recommend that you really pay attention to what’s going on at CA right now. Watch the livestream of tonight’s meeting if that’s something you can do. Read the recommendation of the audit committee. Write to your CA Rep in support of mediation.

The immediate crisis feels all-consuming. But there’s another challenge waiting in the wings. If Columbians want to see real, long-term change in how the CA Board works, they are going to have to elect better representatives. And that means starting now. (If you haven’t already.)  Identify potential candidates and get people in your village excited in a positive way about the CA elections in April. Some of our current board members have extremely deep roots in their communities which have served them well, election after election. 

To build a better board we have to build and activate better networks. That’s probably the only simple part about this.

*I am pulling this from The Merriweather Post blog because I wasn’t on the distribution list for this statement. 

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