CA board approves exception to conflict-of-interest policy

The Columbia Association board of directors approved a motion Thursday that clears conflict-of-interest questions regarding CA officials serving on the board of directors for the Inner Arbor Trust.

The board approved an amendment to its Code of Ethics and Conflict of Interest policy by a vote of 9-0 that adds the Trust board of directors to the list of exceptions on the policy, which precludes CA board members from voting on particular issues. 

A board member or senior management member has a conflict of interest when, as a trustee of another entity not "controlled, owned or managed by CA," the member enters into a contract or dealing with CA, according to the document. The other exceptions are the 10 village associations and Friends of Columbia Inc., a nonprofit set up in 2006 to receive grants for CA projects.

The Trust, legally a corporation, was created by the CA board to manage the development of Symphony Woods, 36 acres of land surrounding Merriweather Post Pavilion.

While it was created by the board, it is a separate entity managed by a separate board of directors, on which CA Hickory Ridge board member Gregg Schwind and CA President Phil Nelson serve. 

"Part of it was that it was very ambiguous," said CA board chair Andy Stack, referring to the old policy.

Stack said the new policy clarifies questions regarding a potential conflict of interest. 

The question of a conflict of interest was raised by Long Reach board member Russ Swatek. When it was proposed, board members differed on their interpretation of the code.

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