I have always believed that a community association by whatever name is the basic building block of democracy. Each association is established for the common good of its members, has a ‘constitution’ (Bylaws), an elected ‘government’ (board of directors), and can ‘tax’ (collect dues, whether voluntary or required); some even have ‘laws’ (restrictive covenants) and enforcement powers (liens, fines). It is closest of all governments to its citizens and like all governments, it is only as effective as the active and informed participation of its citizens make it.
Braddock District has over 165 associations, be they HOAs, civic, community, condominium, or swimming pool associations. To enable these bodies to serve their members more effectively, the Braddock District Council of Community Associations was established some decades ago. The Council has as its stated purpose “to collectively represent the interests of community associations that are members in good standing that lie within the Braddock Magisterial District, to facilitate cooperation and coordination between community associations of the Braddock District, and to provide a path of communications between associations and officials/elected representatives for the Braddock District—both as part of normal business and for disaster preparedness purposes, if necessary.” In other words, the Council exists to promote the “general welfare” of the citizens of the district. Does that phrase sound familiar?
During all the social disturbances of the COVID-19 pandemic years, the Council was unable to continue as it had and ceased to function. Rebooted in June, 2022, it is now approaching the end of the first post-pandemic year of operation. Accomplishments include:
BDC membership reached 24 associations
We implemented a Strategic Communications Plan to provide information to all associations in Braddock District via various communications means, including a brand-new website
The Council supported the supervisor’s annual “Best of Braddock” awards event
The Council sponsored the annual Legislative Review meeting featuring eight elected officials who discussed various state and local issues with constituents
The Braddock District Council “Aging in Place” program founded in 2011 and still run by Bruce Wallachy continued to be a valuable resource for seniors
The Council arranged three presentations on the topics of association insurance matters, an award-winning neighborhood litter cleanup program developed by a high-school student in the Villa community, and the Braddock Road Multimodal Improvements Project.
Of note, the Council’s Webmaster, Charlotte Hannagan, was recognized on 10 May by Volunteer Fairfax as a “Community Champion” representing Braddock District. In addition to being involved in a number of other community volunteer efforts, Charlotte was specifically cited for her role in developing the new Council website and handling other aspects of the Council’s Strategic Communications Plan. Well done, Charlotte!
In order to build on the success of the first year of the “new” Braddock District Council, we need two things: elected officers and more members. Secretary Susan Di Maina and I are continuing for another year. However, the positions of vice-chair and treasurer are becoming vacant. I can’t say enough about how hard the current incumbents, Sarah Lennon and Kevin Morse, respectively, have worked to get the Council up and running from the moment they were elected in June, 2022. While we do have a candidate for vice-chair, we definitely need someone to come forward to be put on the ballot for treasurer. We also are looking for a replacement for Bruce Wallachy to keep the “Aging in Place” program going. I am very cognizant of the fact that I am asking for volunteers to give that most precious of commodities: their personal time. But I also offer them the opportunity to contribute in a very visible and most meaningful way to making Braddock District the best place in Fairfax County in which to live.
I look forward to seeing you at the 21 June meeting for the Braddock District Council elections. Beyond that, I look forward to what the Council can accomplish in the 2023-2024 year with more new members, two new officers, and many new ideas coming from member associations.