O'Connor to replace Coale on CA Board

Former Columbia Association Board member Tom O'Connor has been appointed to the CA board to fill the seat vacated by Tom Coale, who will resign from the board to seek a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates in 2014.

O'Connor, 61, was appointed to the post by the Dorsey's Search Village Board on June 12, and will begin his term Monday, July 1.

O'Connor, who is the software sales manager for DfR Solutions in Beltsville, previously served 10 years on the board as the representative from Dorsey's Search, with his most recent term ending in 2009.

"It came out of the blue for me," said O'Connor, who said he has spent the last four years as "an interested observer," in CA affairs.

O'Connor said he was approached by Village Board Chair Dan Woodruff about filling the seat. After "very positive" conversations with current board members, Coale, and members of CA staff, O'Connor said he decided to fill out the rest of the term, which ends April 30, 2015.

"It was important to the Board that our new CA Representative have a solid understanding of Village Board activities as well as a comprehensive knowledge of CA," Woodruff said in a statement.

"The (Village) Board is delighted that Tom accepted the position and we fully support him as we know he will support Dorsey's Search."

Since 2009, O'Connor, who said he is an avid swimmer, has served as a member of the CA board's Health and Fitness Advisory Committee.

"I'm very interested in the health and fitness side of CA," said O'Connor. "It's near and dear to my heart."

O'Connor said he and Coale were in agreement on a lot of issues, including the approval of the Inner Arbor Plan for Symphony Woods Park, of which Coale was a staunch proponent.

"I'm happy to see that it finally came to fruition and that it is moving forward," O'Connor said about the plan, which proposes a bustling arts district for the eastern side of the park.

Coale, who announced last week plans to run for a House seat in District 9B — which encompasses Ellicott City, Elkridge and parts of Columbia — said O'Connor gave him "guidance and encouragement" during his two years on the CA board.

"Tom is a dedicated community leader with a proven track record on the Columbia Council," Coale said. "I am confident he will settle back in without a problem and am excited to see him continue the progress the Columbia Association has made on Symphony Woods, Columbia Aquatics and other large-scale projects."

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