Streamline - Fall 2012 - (Page 33)
Understanding your job
MAYBE NOW IS
as a Board or Council member?
a good time to review your responsibilities on a team called a Board or Council? Even though the responsibilities are fairly basic, they are sometimes misunderstood and even, at times, hard to accept. A board member functions as part of a group and not as an individual. This causes some confusion because you were probably selected to serve because of your outstanding individual leadership capabilities, and all of a sudden, you are in a team environment in which your directives must be dovetailed with others of a common interest, but with a somewhat different approach. Successful board service requires dedication, time, vision, great planning and good public relation skills. Here are some easy steps for a successful board: You must know where your organization is now and then decide where you and the complete board want it to be tomorrow. • Conduct board planning sessions to review the mission of the organization. These sessions should be at times other than the regularly scheduled meetings where other business must be conducted. Board retreats provide a good atmosphere for productive sessions without interruptions. • Determine where the organization is now relative to the overall mission. This can be done by utilization of the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) method of recording and analyzing the organizations. • Develop vision for the organization by determining where your organization should ultimately go. • Establish reasonable deadlines for goals. • Hire a professional manager who is willing and capable of achieving those goals in the specified time frame. This person must be allowed to use his/her own initiative to meet the goals in a timely manner. • Monitor progress. Monitoring progress along with timely evaluations of the manager by the total board will help ensure a smoother process. I hesitate to include progress monitoring without emphasizing that it should be an exercise that at some point must involve the total board. That step, while most vital, is also the most misunderstood by board members and therefore the most abused of all. When we monitor progress, it is very tempting as an individual to step over the line and try to individually dictate possible changes. When progress is less than expected and ideas for improvement are devised, these ideas must be brought before the remainder of the board and be approved prior to being passed on to the hired professional manager for implementation. No harm is done if new ideas are presented to the manager as a matter of clarification as to whether the idea is feasible or not before being brought to the total board. However be very careful not to give any indication to the manager that your new concept is a mandate until it has been reviewed, possibly revised, and approved by the board. A manager cannot function effectively while trying to serve more than one master. Therefore that one master must be the total board. Provide adequate funding Rates and fees must be established that will ultimately provide the tools to meet the goals and face the threats. Many board members especially in public water systems earnestly feel that low rates are the measurement that determines how well a system is managed. This is a gross misconception as the system may be on the way to a speedy death that may not be realized until too late. A water system is surrounded by many threats such as vandals, terrorists, natural causes (storms and drought), contamination (chemical spills, wastewater), dilapidated equipment, lawsuits and sometimes even regulations. Audit the results Establish checkpoints that will give the board an accurate view of the technical, managerial and financial progress. The understanding and execution of proper board responsibilities can result in your board service being a positive experience with fewer interruptions that provides an atmosphere for action instead of reaction.
SUBMITTED BY BOB GAY, CIRCUIT RIDER III
Successful board service requires dedication, time, vision, great planning and good public relation skills.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Fall 2012
From the President
From the Executive Director
A Day ( or Two) in the Life of a Circuit Rider
The Necessary Evolution of Water and Wasterwater Utilities
Craig-New Castle PSA: One Small System's Giant Leap into the Future
Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on our part
Extra Highlights from 2012 VRWA Conference
Virginia Department of Transportation Work Zone Traffic Control Update
FOG (Fat, Oil and Grease): Sewer Public Enemy No.1
The Inspector Found What?
Ergs, Joules & Such
Understanding your Job as a Board or Council Member?
Throwing My Loop
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefits Are?
Welcoming New Members
Board Of Directors
Index to Advertisers/Ad.com
Streamline - Fall 2012