In what is believed to be the first time since the organization was founded, the Reston Association Board of Directors removed one of its members from office.
Balvinder Sandhu, the director representing Reston's apartment owners, was removed for missing three consecutive meetings without sufficient cause. In fact, Sandhu has not shown up at a board meeting in more than six months.
"He's missed quite a few meetings and it's starting to put a burden on the other board members," said Ray Leonhard, RA's acting executive vice president.
Sandhu was sent a formal notice that he was in danger of being removed for unexcused absences, but he never replied.
"We sent him letters. Several board members have called him and e-mailed him," Leonhard said. "No response."
Sandhu also did not respond to requests for comment for this article.
Sandhu had served on the board for more than six years, representing the interests of Reston's 22 apartment owners. A new designee will be elected by the apartment owners in the coming weeks.
RA Director Robin Smyers (Lake Anne) said she was disappointed Sandhu appears to have given up without notifying anyone.
"It's frustrating that this took so long to happen," she said. "With all the years he's put into the organization, it's too bad he put us in this position."
WITH RA BOARD member Doug Bushée abstaining, the board voted unanimously to remove Sandhu from office. Three months ago, the board decided to formally investigate its rules and determined that repeated absences are cause for dismissal.
Rick Beyer, the board's president, said RA board members have a responsibility to work hard for the good of the community. When a director stops working, it can hurt all of Reston.
"We have a direct effect on some of those important issues that people care about — the environment, public safety and more," Beyer said.
It takes a concerted effort of the RA board, working together, to ensure Reston is being governed appropriately, Beyer said.
"It's real easy to become a mediocre community," he said. "In fact, it takes a lot of hard work to become a really great community."
Bushée, who has worked with Sandhu on RA's legal committee for several years, said Sandhu recently retired and has been quite busy over the last few months.
"Director Sandhu has served this organization for a long time," Bushée said. "We wish him well and hope this doesn't take away from his accomplishments."
Though Sandhu has not physically attended a board meeting for at least six months, he did call in during an April meeting when the board elected its new officers. The board was split between Bushée and Vicky Wingert (at large) in its vote for a vice president. An audience member called Sandhu, who then broke the tie vote via speakerphone.
"This should really should never happen," Smyers said.