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By Laura Vozzella and Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF | January 8, 2001
The two men competing for the Columbia Association presidency made their pitches directly to the public yesterday, one day before what appears to be a closely divided Columbia Council might try to choose between them. Appearing at a public forum that attracted about 80 residents were Gregory C. Fehrenbach, 53, administrator for the township of Piscataway, N.J.; and Michael D. Letcher, 47, city manager of Sedona, Ariz. A third finalist, Theodore J. Staton, 45, city manager of East Lansing, Mich.
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NEWS
By Laura Vozzella and Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF | January 19, 2001
It may have looked like the Columbia Council was hopelessly divided and dug in last week, split 5-5 between two candidates for Columbia Association president. But behind the scenes, support was growing for one of the candidates -- Michael D. Letcher -- who probably would have gotten the job if he hadn't dropped out, council sources said. "We had it, and he just quit right in the middle of it," one source said. "The votes were there," said another. In a nearly five-hour, closed-door meeting Jan. 8, the council deadlocked over who should head the homeowners association, which provides recreational and other services to the town's 87,000 residents.
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NEWS
By Laura Vozzella and Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF | January 10, 2001
Racial politics, internal disputes and honest philosophical differences have left the Columbia Council deadlocked 5-5 as it tries to choose a new president for one of the nation's largest homeowners associations. In a five-hour, closed-door meeting Monday night, the council was evenly split between finalists Gregory C. Fehrenbach, 53, administrator for the township of Piscataway, N.J., and Michael D. Letcher, 47, city manager of Sedona, Ariz. The council is scheduled to try again tomorrow night.
NEWS
January 13, 2001
LIMPING back to square one. After months of laborious and expensive screening, the search for a new Columbia Association president has foundered on the shoals of a flawed council structure, allegations of racial politics and differing management styles. The Columbia Council deadlocked in a 5-5 vote over two candidates: Michael D. Letcher, the city manager of Sedona, Ariz., and Gregory C. Fehrenbach, administrator for the town of Piscataway, N.J. Differences of opinion about Columbia's needs were to be expected, even healthy.
NEWS
January 13, 2001
LIMPING back to square one. After months of laborious and expensive screening, the search for a new Columbia Association president has foundered on the shoals of a flawed council structure, allegations of racial politics and differing management styles. The Columbia Council deadlocked in a 5-5 vote over two candidates: Michael D. Letcher, the city manager of Sedona, Ariz., and Gregory C. Fehrenbach, administrator for the town of Piscataway, N.J. Differences of opinion about Columbia's needs were to be expected, even healthy.
NEWS
By Laura Vozzella and Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF | January 19, 2001
It may have looked like the Columbia Council was hopelessly divided and dug in last week, split 5-5 between two candidates for Columbia Association president. But behind the scenes, support was growing for one of the candidates -- Michael D. Letcher -- who probably would have gotten the job if he hadn't dropped out, council sources said. "We had it, and he just quit right in the middle of it," one source said. "The votes were there," said another. In a nearly five-hour, closed-door meeting Jan. 8, the council deadlocked over who should head the homeowners association, which provides recreational and other services to the town's 87,000 residents.
NEWS
By Laura Vozzella and Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF | January 13, 2001
The Columbia Council voted early yesterday against hiring the only candidate who still wanted to run the town after bitter racial politics helped chase off the two other finalists. At a two-hour, closed-door meeting that began late Thursday and broke up after midnight, the council voted to advertise again for a new Columbia Association president. "I think the process has been so perverted that there's no hope of salvaging it," said Councilman Kirk Halpin of Kings Contrivance. The council is trying to hire someone to fill a job left vacant since May, when Deborah O. McCarty resigned the $130,000-a-year post under pressure.
NEWS
By Laura Vozzella and Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF | December 19, 2000
The city manager of an Arizona resort town is competing with his counterparts in a Michigan college town and a New Jersey suburb to head the Columbia Association, one of the country's largest homeowners associations. The Columbia Association announced yesterday the names of three finalists for the job of Columbia Association president, although one candidate's name had surfaced in the news media last week. The candidates are: Gregory C. Fehrenbach, administrator for the township of Piscataway, N.J.; Michael D. Letcher, city manager of Sedona, Ariz.
NEWS
By Laura Vozzella and Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF | January 12, 2001
Dozens of angry residents confronted the Columbia Council last night over its derailed attempt to hire a new Columbia Association president, saying they were embarrassed and outraged by a process that unraveled with the withdrawal of two finalists. The panel later met behind closed doors to try to determine whether to hire the one candidate left or start over. The council was still in session early this morning. About 70 people crammed into the council room to blast the council for how it handled the hiring process, which fell apart this week amid claims that some council members did not back finalist Michael D. Letcher because he is black.
NEWS
By Laura Vozzella and Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF | January 11, 2001
The search for a new Columbia Association president collapsed yesterday as the second of three finalists bowed out, complaining about the community's racial climate and threatening to sue over an alleged attack on his integrity. The surprise withdrawal of Michael D. Letcher came less than a week after another candidate, Theodore J. Staton, dropped out, also citing racial politics as a factor. That leaves one finalist in the running to oversee one of the nation's largest homeowners associations.
NEWS
By Laura Vozzella and Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF | January 13, 2001
The Columbia Council voted early yesterday against hiring the only candidate who still wanted to run the town after bitter racial politics helped chase off the two other finalists. At a two-hour, closed-door meeting that began late Thursday and broke up after midnight, the council voted to advertise again for a new Columbia Association president. "I think the process has been so perverted that there's no hope of salvaging it," said Councilman Kirk Halpin of Kings Contrivance. The council is trying to hire someone to fill a job left vacant since May, when Deborah O. McCarty resigned the $130,000-a-year post under pressure.
NEWS
By Laura Vozzella and Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF | January 12, 2001
Dozens of angry residents confronted the Columbia Council last night over its derailed attempt to hire a new Columbia Association president, saying they were embarrassed and outraged by a process that unraveled with the withdrawal of two finalists. The panel later met behind closed doors to try to determine whether to hire the one candidate left or start over. The council was still in session early this morning. About 70 people crammed into the council room to blast the council for how it handled the hiring process, which fell apart this week amid claims that some council members did not back finalist Michael D. Letcher because he is black.
NEWS
By Laura Vozzella and Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF | January 11, 2001
The search for a new Columbia Association president collapsed yesterday as the second of three finalists bowed out, complaining about the community's racial climate and threatening to sue over an alleged attack on his integrity. The surprise withdrawal of Michael D. Letcher came less than a week after another candidate, Theodore J. Staton, dropped out, also citing racial politics as a factor. That leaves one finalist in the running to oversee one of the nation's largest homeowners associations.
NEWS
By Laura Vozzella and Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF | January 10, 2001
Racial politics, internal disputes and honest philosophical differences have left the Columbia Council deadlocked 5-5 as it tries to choose a new president for one of the nation's largest homeowners associations. In a five-hour, closed-door meeting Monday night, the council was evenly split between finalists Gregory C. Fehrenbach, 53, administrator for the township of Piscataway, N.J., and Michael D. Letcher, 47, city manager of Sedona, Ariz. The council is scheduled to try again tomorrow night.
NEWS
By Laura Vozzella and Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF | January 9, 2001
The official explanation for why one finalist for the Columbia Association presidency dropped out last week was simple enough: Theodore J. Staton has other options. He is a contender for a similar job in Shaker Heights, Ohio. And in East Lansing, Mich., where Staton is city manager, officials are doing what they can to keep him. That's part of the story - the only part some Columbia Council members say they were told. But that's not the whole story. Racial politics, constant turnover on the Columbia Council and questions about the job's compensation package also played a role in his decision, Staton said in an interview yesterday.
NEWS
By Laura Vozzella and Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF | January 8, 2001
The two men competing for the Columbia Association presidency made their pitches directly to the public yesterday, one day before what appears to be a closely divided Columbia Council might try to choose between them. Appearing at a public forum that attracted about 80 residents were Gregory C. Fehrenbach, 53, administrator for the township of Piscataway, N.J.; and Michael D. Letcher, 47, city manager of Sedona, Ariz. A third finalist, Theodore J. Staton, 45, city manager of East Lansing, Mich.
NEWS
By Laura Vozzella and Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF | January 9, 2001
The official explanation for why one finalist for the Columbia Association presidency dropped out last week was simple enough: Theodore J. Staton has other options. He is a contender for a similar job in Shaker Heights, Ohio. And in East Lansing, Mich., where Staton is city manager, officials are doing what they can to keep him. That's part of the story - the only part some Columbia Council members say they were told. But that's not the whole story. Racial politics, constant turnover on the Columbia Council and questions about the job's compensation package also played a role in his decision, Staton said in an interview yesterday.
NEWS
January 4, 2001
The three finalists for the office of president of the Columbia Association will participate in a public forum at 1 p.m. Sunday at Jim Rouse Theatre for the Performing Arts at Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia. Each of the candidates - Gregory Fehrenbach, Michael Letcher and Theodore Staton - will have about an hour to make a statement to the community and answer questions. Community members can submit written questions for the moderator to pose. Comment cards will be provided for those who attend to share their reactions to the candidates with Columbia Council members.
NEWS
By Laura Vozzella and Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF | December 19, 2000
The city manager of an Arizona resort town is competing with his counterparts in a Michigan college town and a New Jersey suburb to head the Columbia Association, one of the country's largest homeowners associations. The Columbia Association announced yesterday the names of three finalists for the job of Columbia Association president, although one candidate's name had surfaced in the news media last week. The candidates are: Gregory C. Fehrenbach, administrator for the township of Piscataway, N.J.; Michael D. Letcher, city manager of Sedona, Ariz.
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