A year after Columbia Association’s president and CEO resigned amid tensions with the board, board members say they are “on track” to pick a new leader by the end of April.

Columbia Association, a massive homeowners group that in many ways functions like a city government, has been without a full-time president and CEO since Lakey Boyd’s departure in January 2023.

Dennis Mattey, who stepped into the role on an interim basis a year ago, is set to leave the position April 30.

Eric Greenberg, the co-chair of the board, canceled a scheduled interview Friday about the search and issued a brief statement on behalf of the board through a Columbia Association spokesperson.

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“The Board is on track to select a new President/CEO by the end of April. We are currently in the process of vetting candidates for the position,” the board stated.

Boyd, the charismatic and popular leader of Maryland’s second-largest community, resigned after publicly airing concerns that the association’s board of directors wanted to fire her.

The Baltimore Banner reported at the time that possible contributing factors included the settlement of a lawsuit over a holiday lights display, an ethics complaint stemming from the case and machinations by community power brokers. Others blamed what they said was the board’s unprofessional behavior and micromanaging. Boyd told The Banner then that she thought the heart of the issue was tension between old and new in a growing community of more than 104,000 residents.

Lakey Boyd resigned as CEO of Columbia Association in January 2023. (Paul Newson/The Baltimore Banner)

During her short tenure, Boyd focused on equity, diversity and inclusion and made it a priority to forge connections with those who felt disconnected from Columbia Association. Many Columbia residents, CA employees and local leaders expressed support for Boyd, with nearly 1,000 signing an online petition urging the board not to part ways with her.

Still, Boyd resigned after less than two years on the job.

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In early January, the board launched a nationwide search for a new leader, receiving assistance from the recruitment firm TransPro Executive Placement.

Through the association, Columbia residents can access a variety of amenities and programming services, including athletic facilities, indoor and outdoor pools, art classes and recreational trails. Howard County provides essential services to residents including schools, police and fire, and trash and recycling.

The president and CEO of Columbia Association “must be committed to the principles set out by CA’s founder Jim Rouse, and [be] supportive and appreciative of the rich history and values Columbia seeks to maintain,” the online job application states.

Rouse envisioned Columbia as a unified, diverse community.

CA’s president/CEO is also responsible for day-to-day operations, including financial, legal and administrative affairs.

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Candidates should have at least 15 years of “progressively responsible management experience” in a community service, public benefit corporation or a nonprofit organization. They should also have at least a decade of experience in a senior-level administrative and financial management position in a setting that is similar to “the type, size and complexity of the Columbia Association.”

The application does not list an expected salary range or benefits.

Mattey has focused on working closely with the board of directors, village associations and other partners to supplement what he refers to as “the Columbia experience.”

“Columbia is nationally recognized as a city of choice, and I believe CA is at the center of our community’s continued success,” Mattey said in a statement.

Mattey, who has been part of Columbia Association for 50 years, most recently as vice president of community operations, told The Banner he was not planning to return to his former role or take any other position.

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He added in a statement, “I have not been asked to assist in a transition, but I’d be happy to help in any way I can to ensure the next leader of this organization is successful.”

As the board seeks to hire a new leader, residents can expect changes on the governing body, with all but four seats representing Columbia’s neighborhood villages up for election.

The four villages without seats up for reelection are Dorsey’s Search, Kings Contrivance, Long Reach and River Hill.

Elections for the remaining seats are April 20. Kings Contrivance residents can also vote in person April 19.

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