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The Columbia Association (CA) has responded to the mailer from The Rouse Project. It is a VERY long post from CA and I will not put all of the text in this article…it is way too much for this blog.

Here are some highlights:

Opening:

We here at the Columbia Association (CA) have been made aware of a mailer many of you have received from a newly formed group called The Rouse Project.

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First and foremost, we want to acknowledge that we agree with many of the principles presented in the publication. We know firsthand the crucial role CA’s Board of Directors plays in strengthening the Columbia community by reaching out to and and serving as many community stakeholders as possible.

CA encourages involvement and engagement in the upcoming elections for the CA Board of Directors and village boards, whether that’s running for a position or casting a ballot. Every election is an opportunity for residents to choose the individuals who represent them, whether community-wide on the CA Board or at the village level.

That said, The Rouse Project has now targeted our community’s virtual and physical inboxes with characterizations seemingly designed to provoke rage and make it appear that CA’s leadership is determined to waste money, eliminate resources valued by the community, and downgrade your quality of life.

There is an alternate reality in which a volunteer Board of Directors – a body in which each representative is elected by their respective village – has been working hand in hand with a highly trained and experienced professional staff who manages the day-to-day operations of the organization. That collaboration remains strong, but it has been tested by one of the most complex, disruptive and impactful years most of us have lived through. There is no doubt that the past 12 months have forced most entities across all industries to make very difficult decisions. Reflection continues to provide all of us with perspective.

To be clear, CA supports the process of the village board and Columbia Council elections. However, the organization is not and has never been involved in the election proceedings. That means CA does not endorse or oppose specific candidates or interest groups.

Still, we recognize the need to address the misinformation being spread about CA’s finances, and more so, the motivations of the organization. The CA team – staff, sitting Board members and other volunteers – cares deeply about this community and believes in our mission to engage our diverse community, cultivate a unique sense of place and enhance quality of life. CA welcomes feedback from the community, but when widespread attacks on the organization’s integrity are presented in the form of misleading information, we must provide clarification with the facts.

Topics in the post include:

  • Team member furloughs and layoffs
  • Symphony of Lights
  • The Sports & Fitness budget
  • CARES Act funding
  • Focus on equity and inclusion
  • Quality of CA programs and facilities
  • CA’s overall financial position

Final thoughts in the post:

We know this is a long statement in comparison to the two-sided flier many in the community received in the mail. However, the context is important and most of the numbers are just not that simple. As an organization, we invite civic participation and welcome ideas from the community. However, we have an obligation to ensure information circulating in the community is accurate.

CA encourages everyone to get involved in the upcoming elections. We hope you’ll reach out to your Board representative, village managers or CA with any questions you may have in order to make an informed decision.

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Again….there is a lot to this post from CA and I would recommend reading it here for all of the details:  https://www.columbiaassociation.org/blog/ca-responds-to-mailer-sent-to-columbia-community/

I have been in touch with CA and will be attempting to coordinate an interview (via Zoom and live streamed on Scott E’s Blog) to discuss the items in their recent post. Stay tuned and I work on a date and time.

Scott E

1 COMMENT

  1. As usual the CA response is full of vague numbers and incorrect information. CA laid of more than 800 part time employees and has only hired back 10%. CA is one of the very few non-profit organizations that profits by hiring a majority (85%) of employees that are part time so they do not have to pay benefits. CA took advantage of the current pandemic to move a lot of their full time employees to part-time as well with no intention of moving them back to full time.

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