The McLean Community Center wants to update its policies, and its counterpart in Reston has emerged as a possible model.
The MCC governing board has started exploring a possible revision of the memorandum of understanding that dictates its relationship with the Fairfax County government.
Many of the changes floated at the board’s March 23 meeting are straightforward tweaks, such as using gender-neutral pronouns, allowing more flexibility for virtual meetings, and updating the name of the tax district that funds the community center from “Small District 1” to “Small District 1A.”
However, suggestions that MCC replace its board elections with a preference poll — the process used by Reston Community Center — and review its public comments protocols are more concerning, McLean Citizens Association President Scott Spitzer says.
The association argued in a letter signed by Spitzer and approved by its governance committee that MCC would risk ceding authority to the county by revising the MOU, which delineates the governing board’s responsibilities for handling programming, finances, capital projects, public meetings and other duties.
“The MOU works. They ought not to open up a discussion with the [Fairfax County] Board of Supervisors to revise it at this time,” Spitzer told FFXnow last week, proposing that the community center instead make any necessary updates through its internal policies.
The MCC board raised the idea of revisiting the MOU in September but didn’t vote to look at it until Feb. 23. Aside from an addendum made in 2007, the agreement hasn’t changed since it was originally signed in 1984, according to Board Chair Barbara Zamora-Appel.
Board members Shivani Saboo, who serves as treasurer, and Suzanne LeMenestrel volunteered to lead the review.
Zamora-Appel did not return a request for comment from FFXnow, but according to a statement shared by MCC, she emphasized at the beginning of the March 23 meeting that the proposed draft was based on individual board members’ suggestions, not from the board as a whole.
“We are very early in any discussion of potential changes, and we will not move forward any proposed changes unless and until we have had sufficient input, discussion, Board decisions, pros and cons, and discussions with Fairfax County officials,” Zamora-Appel said.
MCC’s 11-member board holds annual elections, with three adult seats and two student seats going on the ballot each year. The highest vote-getters are then formally appointed by the Board of Supervisors.
Proposed MOU revisions include staggering election cycles to every other year or every three years to reduce turnover and considering a preference poll, which guides the county board’s appointments but is not binding.
“We think that’s a mistake,” Spitzer said of the idea of a preference poll. “It would be a dramatic and unreasonable limit on the voting rights of McLean residents.”
Some MCC board members also proposed adapting public comment protocols to align with the Board of Supervisors, which limits speakers to three minutes at a time and just one appearance every six months.
In a breakdown of the proposed changes, the board members say public comment periods need to be more structured and “promote respectful dialogue,” but other members “feel it would be unfair to limit how many times within a 6 month period a resident can speak at public comment.”
Spitzer says adopting the county’s policy wouldn’t address concerns about disrespectful speakers.
“While a policy to place time limits for speakers at public meetings is reasonable, the proposal to impose a drastic limitation of the number of times someone can speak would be unduly restrictive in the context of our Community Center,” he said in MCA’s letter.
The MCC board appointed a subcommittee at the March 23 meeting to continue looking at the MOU.
“I truly appreciate the interest that our community members have shown in this process,” Zamora-Appel said at the meeting. “It underscores how important MCC is to the members of our community, and the importance of our work to diligently research and review any steps we may or may not propose.”
Good Friday evening! Today we published 6 articles that were read a total of 6621 times on FFXnow alone, so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles…
Lake Anne’s plaza will once again spring to life this summer with concerts. Lake Anne Live! — an event series that kicked off last year — brings Thursday evening concerts…
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Are you ready for summer? Live Fairfax has a bucket list of indoor activities, outdoor escapades and trips to explore this summer.
Camps are just the beginning of what’s in store at Art House 7 this summer. We’re thrilled to offer an array of exciting classes for both kids and adults!Rediscover your creativity with some of our AH7 favorites, such as drawing, hand-sewing, modern embroidery, and our popular 3-week Jump into Crochet classes. But that’s not all! We’ve added some fresh and exciting options to our summer class selection, guaranteed to spark your imagination.
To enhance your artistic journey, we have intensified some of our Ceramics: The Wheel classes to a full 3-hour duration. This extended time allows for more creativity and skill development in each class session. If you’re eager for a captivating twist, give Contemporary Still-Life Drawing & Painting a go. Or why not try an immersive outdoor painting adventure? We have a unique opportunity for you to bring your painting skills to life while learning and creating in the great outdoors with our Landscape Painting: Studio and Plein Air class!
We invite you to visit our website and explore our full Summer Session schedule, brimming with a diverse range of classes and camps. Classes and camps begin June 20th. Unleash your inner artist, broaden your horizons, and embark on a summer adventure like no other. Let’s make this a summer to remember at Art House 7!
Potomac Harmony Chorus has a new director! We’re ready
to kick off the season with new music, a new approach, and YOU!
Potomac Harmony is one of 500 choruses in Sweet
Adelines International. We’re a vibrant,
contemporary, inclusive, welcoming, and open community of women singers who
perform four-part harmony, barbershop style, committed to a high level of
achievement through teaching, mentoring, personal growth, and performance. Our vision is to entertain, educate, and
enrich lives through musical expression while promoting the barbershop art
Potomac Harmony recently had our first performance
with our new director, receiving rave reviews! We invite you to stop by any Wednesday
evening and be part of the fun and harmony!
Army Birthday Festival – Free and Fun
Make Saturday, June 10, 2023 a great day!
Come celebrate the Army Birthday Festival at the National Museum of the U.S. Army from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Rain or Shine!
• Experience outdoor and indoor fun activities, for all
Unveiling of West Ford historical highway marker
Gum Springs will be celebrating 190 years of its founding by freedman West Ford on Saturday, June 17, 2023. To kick-off the celebration, there will be an unveiling of a Virginia historical highway marker for West Ford on Fordson Road