Dennis Mattey, who began working at the Columbia Association in 1974, will serve as the organization's interim president. Credit: Columbia Association handout

The board of directors of the Columbia Association has named an interim president to fill the position vacated after the resignation of Lakey Boyd as the organization embarks on a search for a permanent head.

Dennis Mattey, who currently serves as the vice president of community operations for the Columbia Association, will fill the interim role beginning on Monday, Feb. 13, according to a news release.

“I am ready to step up in this capacity in the immediate term to continue the incredible work that’s been started,” Mattey said in a statement. “Particularly as we see a surge in community engagement and interest in CA, I recognize the importance of providing steady leadership to our team and our community in the months to come.”

The appointment of Mattey, who has nearly 50 years experience at the association, comes less than two weeks after the former president, Boyd announced her resignation less than 18 months into her tenure, capping months of acrimony and clashes with members of the Board of Directors.

Boyd had held firm amid a series of disputes over the disclosure of a legal settlement related to a holiday lights display and issues over how elections for Board of Directors positions should be held. A large number of board members pushed back against her decisions and demanded more communication and operational oversight.

Boyd garnered the support of significant numbers of Columbia residents, and was praised for her inclusiveness and vision. Many of her supporters said the Board of Directors did not reflect the diversity of Columbia, and seemed to be micromanaging and pursuing their own agenda.

The dispute drew widespread attention because the president’s position is one of the most visible in Columbia, which if it were to be incorporated as a city would be the second-largest in Maryland.

The board has spent upwards of $50,000 on outside legal fees to settle personnel disputes and clashes with Boyd, an expenditure that critics have said is unnecessary and wasteful.

Community activists are mounting efforts to advance the candidacies of alternative board candidates in April elections in key Columbia villages.

Mattey’s name had been raised as a possible interim president as early as last October, as the board’s feud with Boyd was reaching a boiling point. Nina Basu, a lawyer who is president and CEO of Inner Arbor Trust, the non-profit organization that was at the center of the holiday light display lawsuit, had a conversation with Mattey last fall and asked him if he would be willing and able to serve as interim president if Boyd was ejected. Boyd learned of that inquiry, and asked the board at its next public meeting to clarify her job status. They did not — and the conflict grew.

At its January 26 meeting, the board voted to start the process of hiring an executive search firm to assist in the recruitment process for a president. According to the news release, Mattey will not be a candidate for the permanent position.

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David Nitkin

David Nitkin is the Executive Editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He is an award-winning journalist, having worked as State House Bureau Chief, White House Correspondent, Politics Editor and Metropolitan Editor...

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