17 December 2006

Citizen Participation and the Columbia Association

Between the tot lot at Lake Elkhorn, the granting of easements by the CA president, and the concerns raised about CA Board members use of titles, the CA Board has heard from many people this year. The CA Board Operations Committee is meeting on Tuesday, December 19, 2006 to discuss who can address the board (or committees) and when they can provide such input. Their agenda can be viewed here. Specifically, there are two links of interest provided within the agenda.

The first link of interest reveals the draft policy for defining who may speak during resident speakout. Here is the text:

Defining Who May Speak at Resident Speakout

  1. People owning, or living and/or working on property that pays the Annual Charge may speakout for up to three minutes on any subject at Board Meetings.
  2. Non­resident members of the Sport and Fitness Facilities as well as all non­ resident participants of all CA programs and services may speakout at Board Meetings for up to three minutes on agenda items that relate to their participation.
  3. Any other individuals that wish to speakout must get approval to speak from the Board Chair or Committee Chair prior to the Board or Committee meeting.
  4. Speakout at committee meetings will be limited to two minutes and limited to topics that are within the purview of that committee.

Secondly, when CA decided to go to the three committee meetings a month and one board meeting a month, it was portrayed as a chance for residents to have a greater voice. Because the committee is smaller than the board, Robert’s Rules for small boards would apply. Under the small board rules, the chair is given latitude to allow comments from the audience. The Board Operations Committee is now reviewing draft guidelines for board members (who are not members of the committee holding the meeting) and residents. Here is the text:

Guidelines for Board Member Participation at Board Committee Meetings of which they are not members

  1. The CA Board Committee structure is designed to divide and delegate the work of the Board to five different committees. The system is designed to work most effectively and efficient ly when the members of each committee, along with the Chief Staff Liaison to each committee, and the CEO work independently and then report their findings and recommendations to the full Board at Board Meetings for discussion or consent.
  2. Board Members attending committee meet ings of which they are not members are welcome but will not be seated at the committee table.
  3. When a Board Member, who is not a member of a cert ain committee, plans to attend a committee meet ing to share input, that Board member should contact the Committee Chairperson in advance to let him/her know they will be attending and that they would like to speak to a certain agenda item. It is also recommended that they summarize their input in writing to leave with the committee.
  4. When a Board Member, who is not a member of the committee, wishes to comment on an agenda item being discussed, that Board member should raise their hand and will be recognized by the Committee Chairperson and allowed to speak after all Committee Members have spoken on the agenda item.

Guidelines for Participation by Residents, Sport and Fitness Members, and Non­Resident Participants of all CA Programs and Services at CA Board Committee Meetings

  1. In accordance with CA’s policy on resident speakout at Board committee meetings, Residents, Sport and Fitness Facilit y Members, and Non­Resident participants of all CA programs and services are welcome to share their input relative to specific items on a committee’s meeting agenda. Any other individuals wishing to speak regarding specific agenda items must obtain approval in advance from the committee’s chairperson.
  2. All input from the above individuals will be confined to the “Resident Speakout” portion of the committee’s agenda, and input is limited to agenda items.
  3. All those “speaking out” may speak up to three minutes on each agenda item they wish to address (e.g. if someone wishes to address three different agenda items, they may speak up to three minutes on each, a total of nine minutes).
  4. All those “speaking out” are encouraged to summarize their comments in writing.

I must emphasize that these policies and guidelines are drafts (and I am not really sure how CA differentiates between a guideline and a policy), and are subject to change. However, keep in mind that if the Board Operations Committee members do not hear from people on Tuesday, and the drafted policies and guidelines are passed to the board, the ability of people to contribute to the Columbia Association discussion will most likely be diminished.

No comments: