Tuesday, September 13, 2005

More than a suburb, not yet a city

I haven't paid enough attention to the Columbia Association governance reform to comment extensively on the issue, but this seems like a good idea.

The council will ask a state elected official to request a formal opinion from the attorney general's office on the legality and effects of eliminating the council.

The council voted in July to disband - and the 10-member group will act only as the board of directors for the Columbia Association - with the decision being contingent on the board approving changes to the Columbia Association charter.

This whole process has been complicated by the fact that CA is a very complicated animal--not a government, not a homeowners association, certainly not something that is easily defined or, for that matter, governed. From the little I know of the governance reform movement, it seems like a lot of paper shuffling and hand wringing, although I hear the end result might make CA less confusing (a good thing, obviously). However, I think Barbara Russell is correct in proceeding cautiously.

"This is a serious issue that deals with changing the basic governance process of the Columbia Association, and I think it's important that we as an organization get a formal opinion from the attorney general's office ... because we will have to live with this in the future," Russell said.
Governance aside, I think the real issue CA needs to address is its role. Governance changes seem like an attempt to get at this, but in the end they will only scratch the surface. A proactive council, excuse me Board of Directors, like the one we have now, may be just what the organization needs to help it find its course and place within the county.

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