Columbia board considering extending Brown's contract

Announcement slated at a meeting tonight

April 24, 2003|By Laura Cadiz | Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF

The Columbia Association's board of directors is considering extending association President Maggie J. Brown's contract through 2007.

Brown is in the third year of her contract, which expires in February next year. Board member Pearl Atkinson-Stewart said the board's management appraisal committee has come to an agreement on Brown's contract that it will announce at tonight's council meeting.

"They're very happy with all of the things she's done so far," said Atkinson-Stewart, who chairs the committee.

As president of the 95,000-resident homeowners association with a nearly $50 million annual budget, Brown is the top administrator for the planned community that provides many recreational amenities to residents.

Atkinson-Stewart said Brown has been "a very, very good leader for us," and that can be reflected in the results of surveys conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, which reveal high satisfaction ratings of residents.

A survey in February and March last year showed that 62 percent of the 800 polled residents think Columbia is on the right track.

A similar survey last month yielded an identical result.

In April and May last year, 52 percent of the 807 surveyed adults responded that they felt they are getting their money's worth from the annual property liens they pay to the association - currently 73 cents per $100 of valuation on 50 percent of the fair market property value.

"I think it shows that the citizens are happy with her," said Atkinson-Stewart, who represents Owen Brown.

Brown declined to comment on the possibility of her contract being extended, saying she will wait for the committee's announcement at tonight's meeting.

Brown is the first African-American to lead Columbia and was hired at $125,000, which the board increased to $130,000 in April last year.

The board hired her in February 2001 after a tumultuous nationwide search to replace President Deborah O. McCarty, who resigned in May 2000 - amid concerns about her leadership - after 20 months on the job.

The $35,000 national search was mired in board infighting, with some board members accusing others of racism because they supported a white finalist for the job instead of a black finalist.

Two of the three finalists for the president's position withdrew, saying racial politics was a factor in their decisions.

Before being hired as president, Brown had served as a Columbia Association vice president since 1993 and briefly as interim president after McCarty left.

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