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Board Organization & Board Dynamics

Board Organization & Board Dynamics

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Board Organization & Board Dynamics

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  1. Board Organization & Board Dynamics Presented by FDAC

  2. Class Objectives Participants will: • Understand what a board is • Understand Board Roles • Understand perceptions & problems of organizational success • Knowledge of effective Board/Fire Chief relationships • Understand Board Meeting Dynamics • Gain some tools in how to work together as a board • Gain insight in how a board should handle a crisis • Understand the Brown Act and it’s Benefits to the Public • Gain knowledge of Financial and Budgeting issues • Understand the Boards role in District Finance FDAC

  3. Board Roles and Responsibilities FDAC

  4. Governing Body Boards exist on behalf of a larger group of people who give the board the authority to govern by: • Voting to form the district • Electing the board • Providing funding FDAC

  5. Board as a Legal Body • Has Legal Accountability • Can Adopt Ordinances • Can Initiate Legal Action • Can Be Sued FDAC

  6. A Board is a Functional Body • Determines Service Level • Responsible for safety of community and employees • Influences District’s Culture • Part of the Fire Service Delivery System • Stewards of the Districts Finances & Assets FDAC

  7. Who are Board Members? Citizens who: • Want to do something for their community • Have an interest in the Fire Service • Have an interest in taxation issues • Have an interest in a specific issue • “Entry Level” politician FDAC

  8. Who are Board Members (cont.)? • Fire Service Retirees • Firefighters elected to represent interest of paid staff (Labor Unions) • Older volunteers looking for another way to serve FDAC

  9. Why are you a Board Member? • Public Service? • Political Starting Place? • Community Interest? • Personal Agenda? • Other Agenda? • Taxpayer Group • Community Group • Labor Group • Roles and Responsibilities FDAC

  10. Board Responsibilities • Board members represent all the citizens of the district. • Maintain perspective regardless of special interests. • Follow Laws • Supervise Fire Chief • Provide for Safe Environment FDAC

  11. Board Responsibilities • Steward the districts finances and preserve districts assets • Adopt an annual budget • Define critical issues • Monitor progress toward established goals • Guide development and adoption of the strategic plan FDAC

  12. Remember ! Board members only have authority as part of a Board action, and not individually. FDAC

  13. Ralph M. Brown Act FDAC

  14. Intent of the Brown Act • “In enacting this chapter, the Legislature finds and declares that the public commissions, boards and councils and the other public agencies in this state exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.” FDAC

  15. Intent of the Brown Act • “The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.” FDAC

  16. General Rules • “All meetings of the legislative body of a local agency shall be open and public, and all persons shall be permitted to attend any meeting of the legislative body of a local agency, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.” FDAC

  17. General Rules • “Each member of a legislative body who attends a meeting of that legislative body where action is taken in violation of any provision of this chapter and where the member intends to deprive the public of information to which the member knows or has reason to know the public is entitled … is guilty of a misdemeanor.” FDAC

  18. “Legislative Body” Defined • The governing body of a county, city, school district, municipal corporation, district, political subdivision, or any other local body created by state or federal statute, or any board, commission or agency thereof, or other local public agency. FDAC

  19. “Meeting Defined” • “..any congregation of a majority of the members of a legislative body at the same time and place to hear, discuss, or deliberate upon any item that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body or the local agency to which it pertains.” FDAC

  20. Meeting Attendance • When attending conferences and public meetings, members of the legislative body may participate only as part of the scheduled program or meeting as a member of the public FDAC

  21. Regular Meetings • Time and place set by ordinance, resolution or bylaws • Must be held within the boundaries of the district • Agenda posted in a location freely accessible to the public at least 72 hours prior to the meeting FDAC

  22. Special Meetings • Written notice of time, place and business to be transacted to be delivered so as to be received by each member of the board and posted in a public place as least 24 hours prior to the meeting. FDAC

  23. Adjourned Meetings • Uses same agenda as posted for the Regular Meeting • Notice of Adjourned Meeting must be posted on or near the door of the meeting place within 24 hours of adjournment FDAC

  24. Emergency Meetings • Where prompt action is necessary due to disruption of threatened disruption of public facilities • Does not have to comply with mailing or posting requirements • No agenda needed, but minutes must be posted in a public place for 10 days after the meeting FDAC

  25. Event Attendance • Attendance of the board at any of the following is legal as long as specific business of the district is not discussed: • Conferences open to the public on issues of general interest to the public or agency • Town Meetings organized by an individual or an organization which are open and publicized • Purely ceremonial or social occasions FDAC

  26. These are Considered Meetings by the Brown Act: • Serial Meetings • Hub & Spokes • E-mail • Breakfast Meetings • Exception: audio and/or video teleconferencing which complies with statutory requirements. FDAC

  27. Agendas • Must give a brief general description of every item of business to be transacted or discussed, including items to be discussed in closed session • Must indicate those items that action may be taken on vs. discussion only items • No discussion or action may be taken on any item not appearing on the agenda (subject to exceptions) FDAC

  28. Rights of the Public • No conditions on attendance at public meeting • May audio or video tape meeting • Right to receive notice, agenda and materials • Right to address the board • Public Comment Period for Items not on the Agenda • Right to comment during each item on agenda FDAC

  29. Closed Sessions • Real property negotiations • Litigation • JPA insurance authority discussion of claims • Questioning of witnesses in an investigation • Personnel matters • Board shall publicly report any action taken in a closed session and the vote or abstention of each member present FDAC

  30. Effective Board Meetings • Have an understandable board package • The tone of the meeting should be businesslike • Follow the agenda • Get all directors involved in deliberations • Remember: There are no stupid questions • Respect the Public FDAC

  31. Purpose of the Board Package • To Communicate! • To concisely and accurately explain staff recommendations, issues and information. • Obtain approval and/or direction of the board FDAC

  32. Agendas • The starting point of a successful meeting • Must be posted in “a location freely accessible to members of the public” • Regular- 72 hours • Special- 24 hours • Emergency • Must identify Date, Time, and Location • Include public comment period (Regular meetings) • Identify Action Items • Must be detailed enough • Reference supporting documents FDAC

  33. Minutes • References past meetings • Varies by District • Can be very detailed or only describe actions • Should be understandable • Are Public when Approved FDAC

  34. Conducting Board Meetings • A quorum consists of a majority of the district board • Board acts only on Ordinances, Resolutions or Motions • Majority of total board membership is required on each action (2/3’s sometimes) • Roberts Rules of Order- Optional FDAC

  35. Board Workshops • Open/Noticed Meetings • Common Direction • Strategic Planning • Organization • Conceptual • Limited Direction to Staff • Brown Act applies • No Action taken (unless on agenda) FDAC

  36. Meeting Technologies • Televised • Recorded FDAC

  37. Board Dynamics FDAC

  38. Some Perceptions of Organizational Success • District hasn’t gone broke • District isn’t being investigated by grand jury • District hasn’t been in the headlines lately • The public doesn’t attend board meetings FDAC

  39. Better Perceptions or Organization • Public Praise in local paper • People volunteer to participate • Public believes they Need you! • Public respect when weed abatement notices go out • Employees are Proud of their affiliation with district. FDAC

  40. Perceptions of Organizational Success • Public image is strongly linked with perceptions of what is informally heard, witnessed, and interpreted when read • Perception of quality is often based on something other than emergency response because most citizens never have to call the Fire Department for help FDAC

  41. Problems Occur When Directors: • Work outside their roles • Make decisions based on a narrow constituency • Micromanage • Pursue private agendas • Do not stay informed FDAC

  42. Problems Occur When Directors: • Abstains from voting - won’t commit • Criticizes or humiliates staff in public • Play “gotcha” games with Fire Chief at board meetings FDAC

  43. Boardsmanship • Informed • Does their homework • Keeps mission in mind • What’s right for the community • Independent thinking • Professional manner • Willing to change • Flexible • Integrity FDAC

  44. Board Activities Should be Focused On: • Functions and decisions are weighed against a standard of purpose • The future and the long term “strategic” view • Defining and monitoring mission, vision and values FDAC

  45. Problems Occur When Fire Chief: • Withholds information from board • Does not understand political influence • Does not view directors as part of leadership team • Wants to run district “their way” FDAC

  46. Problems Occur When Fire Chief: • Befriends and informs certain specific directors • Runs district like he owns it • Undermines board credibility to staff/public FDAC

  47. Fire Chief Roles and Responsibilities • Educates, informs and communicates with the board • Staff oversight - hires, disciplines and fires • Oversees management of daily activities FDAC

  48. Fire Chief Roles and Responsibilities • Analyzes needs and develops annual budget • Develops and recommends policy • Appropriately utilizes and preserves districts assets • Oversees implementation of strategic plan FDAC

  49. Suddenly, a heated exchange took place between the King and the contractor when the moat was being installed incorrectly. A Failure to COMMUNICATE! FDAC

  50. Communication Good decisions are not possible when the Board is provided with bad or no information FDAC