This is one in a series of submitted candidate profiles for the Columbia Association Elections.
The Columbia Association will hold elections on Saturday, April 26. During the elections, Columbia residents who pay the Columbia Association assessed fee can vote in their respective village for their village's representative to the 10-member Columbia Council, which becomes the 10-member Board of Directors.
Each village hosts its own election. This year, there are only three contested races for the 10-member board. Those races are in Harper's Choice, Hickory Ridge and Town Center.
Each candidate was submitted the same list of questions and request for information. The responses that follow were submitted by each of the candidates.
Alan Klein (Harper's Choice)
Address: 11000 block Wood Elves Way
Work Experience: 15 years as a school teacher and school administrator and 24 years as an organization development consultant, trainer, coach, and facilitator for public, private, and non-profit clients.
Volunteer Experience: Spokesperson for The Coalition for Columbia's Downtown; Chair of the Board for PickUp America; Board member for the National Training Laboratories Institute for the Applied Behavioral Sciences; Board member at The Highland School; Board member at The School in Rose Valley and Board member for The Chesapeake Bay Organization Development Network.
Seat sought: Harper's Choice (two-year term)
Q: What made you decide to run for election to the Columbia Association Board of Directors?
I care passionately about Columbia, which I have known since 1968, and about Harper's Choice, my village of 10 years. I want to give back to my community.
Openness and transparency are paramount. The CA Board holds too many closed meetings. Then they often bring the issue out in a public meeting, suspend their own rules, and immediately conduct a pre-orchestrated vote of approval. This gives residents little notice to respond and provide input that would improve the final outcome. These closed meetings must stop!
CA has recently given control of our beloved Symphony Woods (along with $1.6 million of our lienpayer dollars) to a private corporation with no transparency and no accountability to CA or the residents of Columbia. We must reverse this decision!
Q: What qualities do you possess that would make you a good board member?
I have been closely studying and working to positively influence the issues facing our maturing community and CA, including Downtown development, Symphony Woods, full spectrum housing, village center decay and openness and transparency in governance. My knowledge of these issues, and the passion with which I care for them and our community, will enable me to "hit the ground running" as a CA Board member.
I am, by temperament and training, a consensus builder. I listen deeply and actively search for common ground on difficult issues. I am a quick study and am able to see the big picture behind specific ideas and proposals. I understand that Columbia is a system with multiple stakeholders, whose interests require attention and care. I am a "both/and" thinker and will see beyond the simple dichotomy of CA as either a business or a community-based organization…it is both.
Q: Identify, in your mind, the two most pressing issues facing the Columbia Association right now? Explain why you chose these and expound on possible solutions.
Openness and transparency. While CA must be run in a business-like fashion, it is, at heart, a quasi-governmental, community-based organization. It must remain accountable to the residents as it spends lien payer dollars.