CA chief lists feats; McCarty offers self-evaluation before council rates her; 2-inch-thick notebook; Association president to receive job review at meeting tonight


Columbia Association President Deborah O. McCarty is set to receive her performance review from the Columbia Council tonight, but her self-evaluation is already in -- and it's a nearly 2-inch-thick notebook promoting her accomplishments.

McCarty, who is facing a community controversy about her leadership and commitment, gave all 10 council members a binder filled with material to help them determine whether she is doing a good job and deserves a raise.

In the binder, a copy of which was reviewed by The Sun, McCarty describes her success in meeting her 11 performance objectives, which include facilitating "better communication" between the council and the association's senior staff and serving as the association's "ambassador."

The notebook also contains a section of newspaper clippings, including several articles about her arrival 19 months ago and a photograph of her cutting a cake for Town Center's 25th anniversary. It also includes a list of her 147 public appearances and two reports from law firms hired to research the pros and cons of two-year council terms.

The materials make scant reference to the recent controversy, which erupted when McCarty told all six of her vice presidents to submit letters of resignation or be fired.

McCarty said yesterday the binder is similar to one she submitted last year. "I feel very positive about the review," she said.

McCarty wrote that "communication between Council and senior staff has improved in a number of areas." She also observed: "Overall, the atmosphere of professionalism in meetings, and general communication, has improved substantially."

She said she has completed a salary study, updated full-time employees' job descriptions, hired purchasing and human resources managers, and created or modified programs ranging from aquatic kick-boxing to the First Tee golf program. She said she has "far exceeded" the goal of pursuing bond rating upgrades; two agencies upgraded the Columbia Association rating last year.

McCarty also said she has established "good relations" with Howard County officials, with whom she has collaborated on, among other things, "extensive ice storm cleanup," Y2K coordination, funding for the Sister Cities exchange program and senior citizen transportation.

The full council will "grade" McCarty on performance goals previously set by the four-member Management Appraisal Committee (MAC), with input from McCarty. The outcome will determine whether she is awarded a raise or bonus. Last year, McCarty got a $5,000 raise, making her salary $130,000.

In an introductory letter to council Chairman Joseph Merke and other council members, McCarty said that "my year has been devoted to improving internal operations, posing questions and attempting to correct many longstanding problems."

"As the Council is very well aware, there have been a number of issues that have had the potential for serious legal and financial harm to the corporation," she stated. "Correcting those problems has been a top priority in order to ensure the protection of the corporation."

McCarty's performance goals include:

Recommending ways to revise the budget process.

"Aggressively pursu[ing]" the upgrade of the association's bond rating.

Completing a salary study and updating job descriptions of all full-time positions.

Performing as "ambassador" for the association.

Being "proactive" in meeting the community's changing needs by starting new programs and services or modifying existing ones.

Supporting the council in achieving its goals and objectives.

Getting through a notebook titled "Columbia Association FY 2000 Management Objectives" from beginning to end has been no small task for council members.

The press section alone includes a Sun profile of Chick Rhodehamel, the association's open-space director; articles on the Columbia Arts Festival and the opening of the skateboard park; and a "short list of things to see and do" in Columbia.

McCarty said she included that section because it involves "one of my goals."

She declined, however, to discuss them, saying the appraisal document has traditionally not been released to the public.

Jean S. Friedberg Jr., the Hickory Ridge council representative, declined to say at a candidates forum this week whether he would support a raise or bonus for McCarty, because he was still reviewing the binder.

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