In April, Columbia residents elected representatives to serve on the Columbia Association (CA) Board of Directors for 2013-2014. Three new members were elected this year, including newcomer Nancy McCord, who has lived in Columbia since 1978, and former CA Board member Russell Swatek, who has been in Columbia since 2003.
Why did you decide to run for a seat on the Columbia Association Board of Directors?
McCord: I chose to run for CA because I felt there was a disconnect between the residents of Columbia and CA. My goal is to try to open communication between CA and the village. Columbia is our city. Jim Rouse stressed the importance of community.
Swatek: In short, many of my friends and acquaintances asked me to run. We were all displeased by the lack of openness and transparency we observed, the excessive number of closed meetings being held.
What do you hope to accomplish during your term?
McCord: I have met with Mike McCall and am very impressed with the plans for the Inner Arbor. But CA suspended its rules to rush to vote on this plan, leaving many with a very bad taste. I hope to persuade people that the method of reaching this goal was not good but the plan itself is. So, we must move forward and embrace a vibrant new entity in our community.
Swatek: I hope to bring a sense of community and inclusion back to CA governance.
Why do you think it’s important for community members to be involved with the CA Board?
McCord: This is our community. Many of us moved here because of the ideas of inclusiveness and diversity. Our ideals have made this our home. If we don’t get involved, we miss out on helping make this the best place it can be. We have a responsibility to our children and grandchildren to get involved. Besides, we can all make great new friends that we meet through our involvement.
Swatek: The CA Board needs to personally hear what its residents want. Although CA periodically conducts surveys of its residents that yield statistically significant results regarding the residents’ wishes, the surveys’ findings are frequently discounted.
How would you suggest other community members get involved with the Columbia villages and the CA Board?
McCord: I encourage people to attend the CA Board meetings every second and fourth Thursday, at 7:30pm at CA Headquarters. And go to your village board meetings. Volunteer! Find out what we do! The more you give the more you will receive in satisfaction.
Swatek: First, let us hear from you. Give us your views. Let us know whether we are serving you. Secondly, please volunteer your time to participate on a board, a current project, an advisory committee or to develop a new program of your own devising. This is our town.
– Article by Aria White Connor