Policies and Procedures for Boards and Commissions

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CITY OF BRENHAM, TEXAS
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

June 18, 2020 

SECTION 1.

PURPOSE AND SCOPE

The purpose of this Policies and Procedures for Boards and Commissions document (“Policy”) is to establish uniform procedures for all advisory boards and commissions of the City.  Board and commission members are appointed by the Brenham City Council (“Council”) and serve at the pleasure of Council, and will not be granted special privileges because of their appointment.  For the sake of brevity, the use of the term “board” throughout this Policy shall be interpreted to include the term “commission” except where the context requires otherwise.

This Policy applies to all persons appointed to boards and commissions by Council.  Persons appointed by other governmental bodies or entities may not be required to abide by all the rules outlined in this Policy.

SECTION 2.

MEMBER ELIGIBILITY

Applicant qualifications include the following:

  • Must be a resident of Washington County for at least one (1) year prior to the date of the appointment (unless specified otherwise in this policy);
  • Must be a qualified voter in Washington County;
  • May not apply to serve on the same board with any immediate family members; and
  • Regular full-time City employees are not eligible unless required by federal, state, or local laws or regulations

All qualified persons, applying for the first time, must complete an “Application for Appointment to City of Brenham Boards and Commissions” form and submit it to the City Secretary before November 1st.  Current members wanting to be reappointed to their current board/commission must submit a “Request for Re-Appointment to City of Brenham Boards and Commissions” form to the City Secretary prior to November 1st.  If a current member would like to be considered for appointment to a different board, he/she will need to submit the “Application for Appointment” form for the board or commission for which they would like to be considered.

Members shall be appointed to terms of two years, and may be removed at any time by Council.  Terms of office will be staggered.  In the event a vacancy occurs prior to the expiration of a full term, the Council may appoint a new member to complete the unexpired term of the vacant position.  Any member of a board or commission may be eligible for re-appointment by the Council unless such appointment is prohibited by the term limitation provisions set forth in Section 6 of this Policy.

 In addition to the eligibility requirements outlined in this Policy, the City Council shall determine the specific skills and experience desired for each board.  Also, in the event that other applicable law requires certain qualifications, those qualifications will be required.

SECTION 3.

RECRUITMENT

 Advertising of scheduled board vacancies for terms expiring on December 31st will begin on or near August 1st.

 Advertisement for board volunteer recruitment may be conducted in a variety of ways including, but not limited to:

  • posting of notice on official City bulletin board
  • press releases
  • utility billing inserts
  • website advertisements
  • social media resources
  • nomination by invitation

SECTION 4.

APPLICATION PROCESS

 On or before August 1st of each year, the City Secretary will post information on the City’s website and social media sites encouraging qualified people to fill out an application to serve.  The City Secretary’s office will mail reappointment application forms to all current board members with an expiring term.

 The “Request for Appointment” application will solicit information about the applicant’s background, including current and past occupations and involvement in and knowledge of issues related to the subject of the board to which they are applying.  In addition to the completed application, applicants are encouraged to submit a short bio or resume.  Persons may apply for more than one board.

 A shorter “Request for Re-appointment” form will be used for incumbent board members seeking another term.  Incumbents will also be required to submit their request to serve another term to the City Secretary’s office.

All requests for appointment must be returned to the City Secretary by November 1st.  Any applications received after the deadline date may not be considered.

 Applications are considered current for one (1) year from submittal date, after which the application will be removed from consideration.  In order to be considered in the next recruitment period, the applicant will be required to submit a new application.

SECTION 5.

SELECTION PROCESS

The City Manager and City Secretary, along with a subcommittee of the Council, will review all submitted applications.  Additional information that could be used in reviewing applications include information from the staff liaison, attendance records, and training records.  The subcommittee may also consider past applications submitted by an applicant and previous experience on other boards.

In December, the Council subcommittee will make a recommendation of appointments to the full Council for approval.  In the event appointments are not made in December, all members with expiring terms will continue to serve until their successor is appointed by Council.

SECTION 6.

TERM OF OFFICE

Board members serve for a staggered two (2) year terms.  All terms expire on December 31.  In the event that an appointment is not made prior to the expiration of a member’s term, the board member shall continue to serve until their successor is appointed by Council.

No board member shall be appointed to more than three (3) consecutive terms on any single board.  After a minimum absence of one (1) year from a board, the Council may choose to reappoint the member back to the board on which they previously served.  For members whose current terms began prior to December 2018, this term limitation provision shall take effect upon completion of their current term.

The Council retains the right to replace any appointed member at any time and for any reason.  Board members are appointed for a limited purpose and time, and once the assigned term of office is completed and Council has appointed their successor, they are excused from service on the board unless the Council selects them for another term of service in accordance with this Policy.

SECTION 7.

MID TERM APPOINTMENTS

Occasionally, a board member may be unable to finish his or her term or will be removed by the Council prior to his or her term ending. In such cases, the vacant position may be filled by a mid-term appointee who will serve out the remainder of the other member’s term.

Instead of soliciting applicants for the vacancy, the Council subcommittee may refer to the previously submitted applications kept by the City Secretary’s Office.  If there are no appropriate open applications for the vacant position(s), a new application solicitation campaign could take place in the same manner as the typical annual recruitment process.

SECTION 8.

NEW MEMBERS

After appointment by Council, all new members should make every effort to become as familiar as possible with all aspects of his or her particular board.  To aid in the process, new members will be furnished with the contact information of the other members, as well as applicable information and regulations that govern that board.

Members of all boards shall complete a board training course developed by the City Secretary and City Attorney within ninety (90) days of their appointment by Council.  The training course will include requirements of the Texas Open Meetings Act, the Texas Public Information Act, basic Robert’s Rules of Order, and applicable ethics training.  The training course will be free to all attendees.  To maintain eligibility, board members must complete this training once every three (3) calendar years.  A board member who does not comply with the training requirements may not be eligible for re-appointment.

Members of any board, who are considered by State statute to be a public officer (including members of boards with quasi-judicial authority) of the City, must complete and execute the written Statement of Appointed Officer and take the Oath of Office upon appointment.  The members must sign the Oath and it must be notarized and kept in the City Secretary’s Office.  Those persons authorized to administer the statement and the oath are: the Mayor, the City Secretary, and any notary public.  These boards include: the Building Standards Commission, the Planning and Zoning Commission, and the Board of Adjustment.

SECTION 9.

GENERAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

Most boards and commissions shall act in an advisory capacity and make recommendations to the Council on issues specific to each respective board’s duties and responsibilities.  The exceptions to this are the Building Standards Commission, the Board of Adjustments, the Planning and Zoning Commission, and the Brenham Community Development Corporation:  certain actions taken by these boards, as outlined in applicable state law and the City of Brenham Code of Ordinances, are final.

No member of a board or commission shall become involved in the daily operation of the City or in personnel/employment matters.  The general duties and responsibilities of each advisory board or commission is as follows:

A. Airport Advisory Board

Assists the City and the Fixed Base Operator in the planning and operation of the Brenham Municipal Airport which may include monitoring existing operations and considering ways to improve the facilities and airport services.

The Board is comprised of at least nine (9) members.  The City Engineer or some other City employee may be designated by the City Manager as an ex-officio member.

B. Library Advisory Board

Plans for future development of the Nancy Carol Roberts Memorial Library which may include: establishing, reviewing and updating policies; monitoring existing operations; making recommendations regarding fee schedules for services, and considering ways to better utilize library facilities.

The Board consists of nine (9) members.  Five (5) members are nominated by the Brenham Fortnightly Club from its membership and four (4) members are nominated by a subcommittee of Council.

C. Main Street Board

Develops plans and programs to stimulate both historic preservation and economic vitality for downtown Brenham, according to the Texas Historical Commission's criteria for Main Street Communities. 

The Board consists of eleven (11) members.  The members shall be knowledgeable about downtown Brenham, marketing, financing and historic preservation.

 D. Parks and Recreation Advisory Board

Assists in the planning and operation of the parks and recreations system and reviews and monitors existing operations and considers ways to better utilize existing facilities.

The Board consists of nine (9) members.  The City Manager may appoint a staff member to serve as an ex-officio member of the Board.  A majority of members shall be City of Brenham residents.

E. Brenham Community Development Corporation

Promotes economic and community development within the city and on behalf of the city by developing, implementing, providing, and financing projects as defined in Section 4B of the Development Corporation Act (Article 5190.6 V.T.C.S.).

The Board consists of seven (7) members appointed to staggered two (2) year terms.  Members must reside in the City of Brenham.  The Board has all the powers, both express and implied, granted to corporations governed by Texas Local Government Code, Chapter 501, et seq., and by the Texas Non-profit Corporation Act. The Corporation is operated according to state law and its own Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.

F. Brenham-Washington County Hotel Occupancy Tax Board

Established by Interlocal Agreement between the City of Brenham and Washington County.  The Board will recommend allocations of hotel occupancy tax funds as authorized by the Texas Tax Code, Chapters 351 and 352; receives and reviews applications from organizations requesting funds; recommends to the governing bodies of the City and County allocation of hotel occupancy tax funding; and reviews the actual expenditures of hotel occupancy tax funds.

The Board consists of nine (9) members.  Seven (7) members are appointed by the Council.  The remaining two (2) members are appointed by the Washington County Commissioners Court to two (2) year staggered terms.

G. Planning and Zoning Commission

As provided by the laws of the State of Texas and ordinances of the City of Brenham, the Planning and Zoning Commission: approves or disapproves land subdivision plat or re-plats; vacates plats or re-plats; holds public hearings and makes recommendations to the Council relative to creation, amendment and implementation of zoning regulations, use classifications and districts; recommends to the Council plans, programs, policies related to future growth and development of the City; and performs other duties and responsibilities as may be referred to the Commission by the Council.

The Commission consists of seven (7) members each appointed to two (2) year, staggered terms.  Members must be residents of the City of Brenham.

H. Board of Adjustments

Hears and decide appeals where it is alleged there is error of law in any order, requirement, or decision made by the City’s Zoning Administrator, including appeals alleging error in the interpretation of the classification of any zoning use, and hears and decides special exceptions and variances as provided for in the City’s zoning ordinance.

 The Board consists of five (5) members appointed to staggered terms of two (2) years.  The Board has up to four (4) alternate members who serve in the absence of one or more regular members when requested to do so by the Mayor.  These alternate members serve for the same period as the regular members.  A member of the Board of Adjustments shall not serve on the Planning and Zoning Commission during the same term.

I. Building Standards Commission

The Building Standards Commission hears and determines cases concerning alleged substandard buildings and structures.  It also grants or denies requests for variances from the building code of the City of Brenham.

The Commission shall consist of five (5) members, who must be residents of the City of Brenham.  The panel shall include a plumber and electrician licensed by the State of Texas as well as a general contractor by trade.  If a required licensed tradesman cannot be recruited to serve, then such person may reside within Washington County.  The members are appointed to staggered two (2) year terms. As near as practical, the members shall be qualified in one or more of the fields of fire prevention, building construction, sanitation, health, and public safety. The City’s Fire Marshal, Building Inspector, and Health Officer are ex officio, non-voting members of the Commission. These ex officio members present reports of inspections of buildings and structures reported to be or believed to be substandard.

J.  Animal Shelter Advisory Committee

The Animal Shelter Advisory Committee is authorized under Section 823.005 of the Health and Safety Code.  The purpose and responsibility of the Animal Shelter Advisory Committee shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

  1. To review and recommend procedures for the care and maintenance of the animal shelter facility and impounded animals to ensure compliance with state law, and
  2. To periodically review the City’s animal control ordinances and make recommendations to Council for revisions as needed.

 As outlined in State law, the Committee must be comprised of at least one (1) licensed veterinarian, one (1) county or municipal official, one (1) person whose duties include the daily operation of an animal shelter; one (1) representative from an animal welfare organization; and one (1) citizen.

SECTION 10.

ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS

 The Council is most appreciative of the dedication and contribution by those who are willing to donate their time to community service.  Any decision reached by any of these boards has an impact on the entire community. Therefore, if a quorum is not present because of habitual absenteeism by certain members, the integrity of the board as a whole is affected.

Therefore, it is imperative that members maintain regular attendance.  Members who cannot attend a meeting should contact the chairman or staff liaison concerning his or her absence prior to the meeting.

Three (3) consecutive absences from a board’s regular meetings, or absence from more than twenty-five percent (25%) of the meetings in any six (6) month period, shall be deemed as neglect and may be cause for removal from office, unless such absences were due to unusual circumstances beyond the member’s control such as sickness of the member or someone within the member’s immediate family.  The City Secretary’s Office shall track and report any excessive absences to the City Manager. The City Manager will review each situation and determine if the board member should be recommended to the subcommittee for removal.

SECTION 11.

ROLE OF STAFF LIAISON

 A staff member shall be assigned as a liaison to each board to perform support services, provide technical data, prepare agendas, post notices of meetings, prepare minutes of the meetings, and other related functions.  The staff liaison will ensure that the board understands Council’s goals and vision for the community.  The staff member is an ex officio member of the board, but is not entitled to vote or preside over meetings.

The staff liaison will act as a communication conduit between the Council subcommittee and the board.  The liaison shall attend all public hearings of boards on behalf of the City and present and discuss facts pertinent to matters being considered.

The staff member may arrange a meeting with all new members prior to their first meeting for briefings on procedures, legal responsibilities, duties of the board, and background information on items that may be considered at the next meeting.

SECTION 12.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

 Members of the Planning and Zoning Commission, Board of Adjustments, and Building Standards Commission shall comply with the requirements of Chapter 171 of the Texas Local Government Code and Article III, Sec. 6 of the Brenham City Charter with respect to conflicts of interest.  It is the responsibility of each member of these boards to file a “Conflict of Interest” affidavit (Exhibit A) with the City Secretary’s Office when a conflict exists because he or she has a substantial interest in a matter being considered by the board.  Substantial interest means the individual:

  1. Owns 10% or more of the voting stock or shares of the business;
  2. Owns either 10% or more than $15,000 of the fair market value of the business;
  3. Receives funds from the business that exceeds 10% of the person’s gross annual income for the preceding year;
  4. Ownership in real property with a fair market value of $2,500 or more, or
  5. Relative within the first degree of consanguinity or affinity has a substantial interest.

 

Advisory board members shall abstain from participation in a matter when a personal interest creates or gives the appearance of being a conflict of interest.  However, if the majority of members of the same advisory board have similar conflicts of interest in the same matter under consideration by the board, such members are not required to abstain from participating or voting on the matter.

 

SECTION 13.

MEMBERSHIP ON MULTIPLE BOARDS

 If a member is serving on more than one board, the member, before discussing and/or voting on a decision that involves funding which impacts matters specific to another board’s duties and responsibilities on which said member serves, shall verbally disclose his/her membership on any other board impacted by the funding decision to the other board members in attendance at the meeting. Said member may fully participate in the discussion and vote on the decision involving funding after disclosing his/her membership on any other board impacted by the funding decision.

SECTION 14.

CONDUCT OF MEETINGS

 A.  The Chair of each board shall preside at the meetings and in his or her absence the Vice-Chair shall preside.  The   Chair shall call the meeting to order.

 B.  The Chair shall address the posted items on the agenda in any order he or she chooses as long as every item is addressed. 
C.  A motion may be made by any member other than the presiding officer.  A second to the motion is required before a vote can be taken.  Any motion dies from a lack of a second. 
D.  Roberts Rule of Order shall be used as a guideline to conduct meetings. 
E.  All meetings will be held in compliance with the Open Meetings Act (“The Act”) and shall be open to the public, except for those items considered at a meeting which are authorized by the Act to be discussed in executive session.

SECTION 15.

RECORDS OF MEETINGS

 

The City Secretary’s Office shall maintain the official record of all board and commission meetings, which will include:

  • AGENDA: The agenda will serve as the order of business and provide the form for posting of the notice of meetings.  The official posting of the agenda must be at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting in a place(s) readily accessible to the public. A copy of the agenda should also be made available to local news media.  In the event a regularly scheduled meeting is cancelled, notices should be posted stating that the meeting has been cancelled.
  • AGENDA PACKET: Copies of the agenda, along with supporting documentation, shall be provided to each member in advance of the meeting date.  This information shall also be made available in advance of the meetings on the City’s web site.
  • MINUTES OF MEETING: The staff liaison will be responsible for keeping an accurate record of all proceedings.  The minutes shall include a record of attendance, summary of the discussion, recommendations, and a record of the Board’s voting.

 

 

Adopted by City Council:  December 13, 2018 (R-18-024)

Amended:  June 18, 2020

Adopted by City Council:  June 18, 2020 (R-20-024)