Her name is Miss Beatha Lee. She’s interested in neighborhood activities, likes the outdoors and is president of the Hillbrook-Tall Oaks Civic Association in Annandale, VA. She is also a dog.
Miss Lee, a shaggy, dirty white Wheaton Terrier to be exact, is the pet of the former president, Mark Crawford, who inherited Beatha (pronounced Bee-AH-tah) in 2008 from his mother and stepfather in Maine. How she came to be president is partially a case of mistaken identity and neighborhood apathy.
Crawford, who had served three consecutive terms as president and, according to the association bylaws, could not run for the office again, became frustrated at the lack of interest of his fellow neighbors in running for the often-thankless volunteer post. Out of sheer frustration, Crawford decided to put up his dog for election.
So on voting day when Miss Lee’s name was called, the crowd of 50, though unfamiliar with Miss Lee, voted for her unanimously assuming she was a civic-minded newcomer. To celebrate, everyone ate ice cream, watched a karate demonstration and went home.
Weeks later, the news broke in the association’s newsletter with Lee’s promise to “govern with an even paw.” The dog’s photo appeared under the heading, “Dog Rules, Humans Apathetic (Pathetic).”
Crawford, who now serves as vice president under his pooch, says, “This isn’t a power trip. We wanted to send a message to the neighborhood that they needed to get involved and get engaged. That they can’t count on the same people to do this year in and year out.”
And as for Miss Lee, how she is handling her new found duties?
“Well, she delegates a lot,” Crawford said. “That’s what executives are supposed to do – delegate.”