CA leaders list priorities

Downtown development, association president's contract key issues


Tom O'Connor of Dorsey's Search village wants to keep the Columbia Association board of directors on top of development plans for downtown Columbia. In addition, the newly reappointed board chairman wants to make final plans for the association's electricity cooperative, among other priorities.

Phil Marcus of Kings Contrivance village, reappointed as vice chairman, wants to get discussions moving on the contract extension for association President Maggie J. Brown and to strengthen the relationships between the homeowners association and the individual villages.

The two leaders, who were reappointed by the board this week, will work together in promoting their ideas and those of the other eight members on panel that sets policy for the community of about 100,000.

"For both positions ... you have to be steady and not rattled by circumstances. You have to be very fair-minded and not have one view over another as an advantage," Marcus said.

O'Connor said he is looking forward to seeing how the board's three new members - Gail Broida of Town Center, Cynthia Coyle of Harper's Choice and Philip W. Kirsch of Wilde Lake - will make a difference.

"With three new members, it's going to be significant," said O'Connor, who added that he is eager to learn more about the new members' interests.

O'Connor was vice chairman for two years and was appointed chairman in February when Joshua Feldmark of Wilde Lake stepped down.

"We have 10 individuals who are very strong individuals, and we all come here because we love the city of Columbia," O'Connor said. "It's a challenge to get 10 people ... in the same direction, and the job of the chair is to develop a consensus."

When O'Connor became chairman, Marcus was named vice chairman. Marcus stepped in as chair a few times when O'Connor was absent.

"The first time was with all the budget stuff going on," Marcus said. "Everybody wanted to talk, and the major thing you do as chair is maintain the speakers' queue, and that is very stressful because people want to talk and you have to make sure every person gets the chance."

O'Connor was unopposed in his bid for chairman. He speculated that was because members know how much time the position consumes.

"Everybody recognizes it takes a lot of work, and you have to have the type of job to handle that," he said.

O'Connor, a representative for more than a dozen electronics manufacturers, said he has to plan his business meetings and trips around the association agenda.

Marcus was challenged by Patrick von Schlag of River Hill for the vice chairman's seat.

"I thought that we as a board need to focus on the collaborative relationships," von Schlag said. "One of my strengths is helping to build bridges between CA and the villages and [the homeowners association] to do more outreach. That was a priority, and I saw vying for the vice chair was the way to [implement] that."

Henry F. Dagenais, board representative for Long Reach, said he is confident that the leadership will continue working on issues such as following the guidelines in a task force report on how the board could improve its work.

"We need to be able to make the board more effective by itself and be as productive as its should be," Dagenais said. "The board should be more responsive. ... Some of the times, it drags just because of the procedures."

CA board

The 10 members of the Columbia Association board of directors.

Pearl Atkinson-Stewart Village of Owen Brown Phone: 410-381-8229 E-mail: Two-year term expires in 2008.

Gail Broida Village of Town Center Phone: 410-730-4663 E-mail: Two-year term expires in 2008.

Miles Coffman Village of Hickory Ridge Phone: 410-997-5323 E-mail: One-year term expires in 2007.

Cynthia Coyle Village of Harper's Choice Phone: 410-997-7637 E-mail: Two-year term expires in 2008.

Henry F. Dagenais Village of Long Reach Phone: 410-992-7059 E-mail: Two-year term expires in 2007.

Philip W. Kirsch Village of Wilde Lake Phone: 410-730-5596 E-mail: One-year term expires in 2007.

Phil Marcus Village of Kings Contrivance Phone: 301-498-4992 E-mail: Two-year term expires in 2007.

Tom O'Connor Village of Dorsey's Search Phone: 410-730-3385 E-mail: Two-year term expires in 2007.

Barbara L. Russell Village of Oakland Mills Phone: 410-730-7870 E-mail: One-year term expires in 2007.

Patrick von Schlag Village of River Hill Phone: 410-531-9864 E-mail: Two-year term expires in 2007.[Source: Columbia Association and village officials.]

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