A No-Vote, No-Contest Election for KCA

Kentlands residents were taken by surprise when they received their Kentlands Express email on Oct. 19 announcing the “winners” of the annual election of Kentlands Citizens’ Assembly (KCA) president and members of the board of Trustees. The announcement was unexpected by most, because no one remembered voting. This was not, however, an alarming community-wide brain fog, but instead the result of an uncontested election.

As of 5 p.m. on Oct. 1, only one person had officially filed to run for the position of KCA president, and only two people had filed to run for the vacant board of trustee positions. A decision was made by the 2012 board members and current President Rachael Hammoudeh to spare the hassle and expense of ballot-counting and simply swear-in the new members.

The new 2013 president is Tim Clarke, and the board will consist of new members Jarrod Borkat and Judy Gross, as well as continuing members Alex Kleinman, Robert Randolph and Joyce Whitman. The new president and board members will take office in November.

Neither Hammoudeh nor Clarke responded to requests for comment by press time.

“This was all done in accordance with the Kentlands founding documents,” said 2012 Board Secretary Sigrid McCutcheon during a brief interview with The Town Courier. Despite this particular course of events never having occurred in years past, McCutcheon said the “Kentlands elections were done in a totally normal way.”

Elections for the board of trustees, as well as for the president, have indeed been uncontested several times in the past. Despite this, the League of Women Voters has always been hired to count all ballots cast by Kentlands residents. But, said McCutcheon, “having ballots counted is a quite an expensive process.” It was thus deemed to be unnecessary and wasteful “to have ballots counted that were of no value,” she said

In fact, as examination of the Kentlands Founding Documents found this practice to be in accordance, the KCA board decided cancellation should also occur for all future uncontested elections.

The Oct. 19 Kentlands Express email sent to residents also stated that “because the elections were uncontested, no further notices will be sent to Kentlands residents.”

“It is expensive to send out mailings,” McCutcheon replied when asked about this statement.

Residents were not notified about the cancellation of the Nov. 2 KCA election through mailings or through an email announcement. No candidate bios were sent to the community either before or after the new board members were named.

Questions or comments in respect to these events, as well as any other concerns regarding the board of trustee, president or office staff can be addressed by calling the Kentlands Clubhouse office at 301.948.4290 or sending a letter to: Kentlands Citizens Assembly, 485 Tschiffely Square Road, Gaithersburg, MD 20878.