The Observer – January 2017

By Jim Feldman

RAC election will be held next month. Time to think about running for office.

Riderwood will be getting ready this month for its annual election in February when five members of the Resident Advisory Council (RAC) will be chosen to serve for two years.

Our elections resemble elections for public office in only one respect: We cast ballots. That’s where the similarity ends. Our campaigns last only a couple of weeks and the candidates discuss only two things – Riderwood affairs and why they are running for office.

Since the first election in 2001, 65 residents have served on the RAC, a number of them more than once. In the beginning and for a few years after that there was a one-term limit. Then it was realized that we needed a way to ensure some institutional memory. So the council decided that members could run for another term after a year’s absence.

Under the leadership of Pat Davis (now our resident member of the Riderwood board of directors), the RAC decided that incumbents could run for a second consecutive term and run again after a year’s absence.

Although the RAC is an advisory body with no legislative power it is significant because it is the only group elected by fellow residents to officially call to management’s attention issues that might otherwise go unrecognized.

Our management team offers many opportunities for individual residents to voice concerns, and they are seriously considered. But RAC members, through their liaison contacts, get an in- depth education about management practices and policies and discuss them in an organized and knowledgeable way.

The RAC’s influence depends on the quality of the advice it offers, so it is important to elect capable people. We have been very lucky in recent years to have such residents in office. That tradition must continue.

So, when the nominating process begins this month, please consider running for a seat on the council. If elected, you will learn a lot about how our community is managed and you will be able to participate in giving good advice on how to make this outstanding community even better.

The RAC has many notable accomplishments. This year, for example, members decided to hold two open meetings. A past RAC recommended making Riderwood the smoke-free campus that it now is. Other notable accomplishments include holding special information forums, establishing the Riderwood Reporter and reporting RAC activities on the Thursday newscast.

And by the way, three of our four resident members of the Riderwood board of directors have been RAC members.

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