Policy Manual

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    Policy No.: Resolution 16-112 Effective: 09/06/2016
    Revision No.: Review Date: xx/xx/xx
    Advisory Boards and Committees Guidelines

    OVERVIEW:   It shall be the policy of the Board of County Commissioners of Alachua County, Florida, that these Guidelines shall provide direction for the creation of new advisory boards and committees, the membership of advisory boards and committees, and the conduct of advisory boards and committees.  It is the intent of the Board of County Commissioners that these Guidelines completely supersede any previous policies or guidelines concerning advisory boards and committees. 
    PROVISIONS:
    Except as provided in the authorizing ordinances or resolutions of specific advisory boards and committees, these Guidelines should provide direction for advisory boards and committees.
    "Advisory boards or committees" are those bodies created by the Board of County Commissioners, whether entitled "board," "committee," "commission," "council," or the like, which are established by and have authority only to advise the Board of County Commissioners rather than to establish policies or make decisions for the Board of County Commissioners.
    I.                   Creation of Advisory Boards and Committees.
    Advisory boards and committees should be created by resolution of the Board of County Commissioners.  Resolutions creating advisory boards and committees should include, at a minimum:
    (a)               Legislative findings.
    (b)               Express creation of the advisory board or committee.
    (c)                Purpose and duties of the advisory board or committee.
    (d)              Designation as “standing” (continuing until dissolved) or “special” (continuing until a specified sunset date).
    (e)               Membership qualifications.
    (f)                Staggered terms for initial appointment (especially for standing advisory boards and committees).
    (g)               Provisions for operations of the advisory board or committee.
     
    II.                Membership on Advisory Boards and Committees.
     
    (1)               Appointments.  The Board of County Commissioners will appoint the members of advisory boards and committees.  Appointments will be made from applications of qualified potential members during a regular Board of County Commissioners meeting.
     
    (2)               Regular Members.  Advisory boards and committees should have an odd number of regular members.
     
    (3)               Alternate Members.  All advisory boards and committees should have at least one alternate member.  Attendance requirement detailed below applies to alternate members, as well as regular members.  An alternate member shall serve in place of an absent regular member, and shall have all rights and responsibilities of the absent regular member, including the right to vote.
     
    (4)               Attendance.  Advisory board and committee members should regularly attend all meetings of their respective advisory boards and committees.  Any regular or alternate member whose attendance is less than 50% of the last 6 consecutive meetings shall automatically be removed from the advisory board or committee.  Staff liaisons shall notify members by US mail, by email or through attendance reports when they are approaching removal due to lack of attendance.
     
    (5)               Quorum.  A quorum for an advisory board or committee is the number of members which constitute the majority of all regular positions which are currently filled.  Alternate members may make up a quorum.  When less than a quorum is present at a meeting, the advisory board or committee may meet in a workshop setting, during which no vote may be taken.  These workshops must be open to the public and minutes must be taken.
     
    (6)               Hold-overs.  Advisory board and committee members may continue to serve following the expirations of their terms until the Board of County Commissioners fills the position which would be vacated.
     
    (7)               Removals.  Advisory board and committee members serve at the pleasure of the Board of County Commissioners.  Any board or committee member may be removed for good cause by the Board of County Commission after consideration of the issue at a Board meeting.

     
    III.             Conduct of Advisory Boards and Committees.
    (1)               Governing Rules.  Except as may be provided by these Rules or by law, questions of order, the methods of organization and the conduct of business of the advisory boards and committees shall be governed by The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure (formerly known as Sturgis Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure) in all cases for which they are applicable
     
    (2)               Open to the Public.
     
    a.                  Meetings Open to Public.  All meetings of advisory boards and committees shall be open to the public in accordance with the Florida Government in the Sunshine Law, Section 286.011, Florida Statutes (Fla. Stat.).  Advisory board and committee members should consult their staff liaisons with any questions regarding open meetings or to request a presentation on the Florida Sunshine Law.
    b.                  Signs, Placards, Banners.  For public safety purposes, no signs or placards mounted on sticks, posts, poles or similar structures shall be allowed in advisory board and committee meeting rooms.  Other signs, placards, banners or other similar items shall not disrupt meetings or interfere with others’ visual rights.
    c.                   Persons with Disabilities.  All persons with disabilities shall be provided with the assistance necessary to enable them to effectively participate in advisory boards and committee meetings, consistent with Section 286.26, Fla. Stat.
     
    (3)               Public Comment.  Members of the public shall be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard on a proposition before advisory boards and committees.  The opportunity to be heard need not occur at the same meeting at which an advisory board or committee takes official action on the proposition if the opportunity occurs at a meeting that is during the decision making process and is within reasonable proximity in time before the meeting at which the advisory board or committee takes the official action.[1]
     
    (4)               Voting Conflicts. 
     
    No member of an advisory board or committee shall vote on a matter when the member has a voting conflict of interest as specified in Section 112.3143 or Section 286.012, Fla. Stat.  Prior to participating in a discussion, members abstaining from voting due to a voting conflict shall publically announce the conflict, shall disclose the nature of their conflict, and file a written memorandum (Ethic’s Commission Form 8A or 8B) to the staff liaison. 
     
    If a member recognizes that a voting conflict exists during the course of a discussion, the member shall immediately publically announce the conflict, disclose the nature of the conflict and abstain from voting.  Within 15 calendar days following that advisory board or committee meeting, the member shall file a written memorandum (Ethic’s Commission Form 8A and 8B) with the staff liaison. 
     
    The written memorandum shall be incorporated into the meeting minutes as an exhibit.  Advisory board and committee members who believe that they may have a voting conflict should consult their board or committee’s staff liaison before the meeting at which members will be asked to vote on an item upon which they may have a conflict.
     
    (5)               Work Plans and Reports of Accomplishments.  Advisory boards and committees shall prepare and update work plans and reports of accomplishments annually.  Work plans and reports of accomplishments should be on-file with staff liaisons by October 1 of each year.  Staff liaisons shall submit advisory board and committee work plans and reports of accomplishments to the Board of County Commissioners.  Advisory board and committee chairpersons are encouraged to present the work plans and reports of accomplishments to the Board of County Commissioners at a Board meeting.  The Board of County Commissioners encourages and welcomes issues of the advisory board and committees’ own initiative to be brought to the attention of the Board of County Commissioners.
     
    (6)               Public Records.  The public has the right to access public records.  Public records are:
     
    “all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, data processing software, or other material, regardless of the physical form, characteristics, or means of transmission, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any agency.” Sec. 119.011(12), Fla. Stat.
     
    Most records created by or provided to advisory boards and committees, or their members in their capacity as members, are public records which must be made available to a person requesting them.  There are many exceptions for records or for certain information contained in those records.  Advisory board and committee members should consult their staff liaisons with any questions regarding public records or to request a presentation on the Florida Public Records Law.
     
    (7)               Coordination with Other Governments.  Advisory boards and committees should, when appropriate, coordinate with other local governments and boards or committees created by other local governments.  To protect the public’s right to participate in open meetings, this coordination shall be effected through the respective staff liaison or the advisory board or committee chairperson (or designee).
     
    (8)               Prohibited Remote Voting by a Member.  A member may participate in a discussion but no member shall cast a vote via telephone or video/audio appearance. 
     
    IV.             Staff Liaisons.  A staff liaison is a county staff member whose duty is to help to administer the meetings of the advisory boards or committees and to serve as a link between the advisory board, the County Manager, the County Attorney and the Board of County Commissioners.  The staff liaison’s tasks are:
    (1)               Publicly noticing the advisory board or committee meeting and reserving the meeting room.
    (2)               Reminding members of an up-coming meeting.
    (3)               Ensuring that all persons with disabilities are provided with the assistance necessary to enable them to effectively participate in the meetings.
    (4)               Preparing the agenda and agenda backup materials, and providing copies of the materials to members.
    (5)               Introducing new members to the board or committee and informing new members of the rules and process which governs the board or committee.
    (6)               Ensuring that minutes of the meetings are kept.
    (7)               Keeping attendance records of the meetings.
    (8)               Maintaining public records of the board or committee.
    (9)               Providing the work plans and reports of accomplishments to the Board of County Commissioners annually.
    Staff liaisons may perform a task not listed above if requested by an advisory board or committee if the task takes the staff liaison 30 minutes or less to perform.  If the task takes more than 30 minutes, the staff liaison may perform the task if the staff liaison’s department director preauthorizes the work.
    V.                Construction of These Guidelines.
    These Guidelines provide direction only.  No action taken inconsistent with these Guidelines shall be invalid solely because it was taken inconsistent with these Guidelines.


    [1] Consistent with Section 286.0114, Fla. Stat. (2015).
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Policy No.: 2-1 Effective: 12/12/17
Revision No.: 1 Review Date: 10/26/17

STANDARDS OF CONDUCT

  1. Employees of the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners will comply with all Policies described herein and related Administrative Procedures promulgated in accordance with these policies, and with all County ordinances, State statutes and federal law and regulations in their performance of duty and workplace behavior, as well as with all safety rules and standards.
  2. Alachua County will be a value-driven organization dedicated to responsive, courteous customer service, recognizing the needs of our diverse workforce and the community we serve. Organizational values will be approved by the Board, communicated to all employees, and used as a guide in providing effective and efficient service.
    1. Mission. Alachua County’s mission is to provide responsive service to citizens and responsible stewardship of County resources for current and future generations.
    2. Vision. Alachua County is committed to responsible stewardship of the resources entrusted to us by our citizens, realizing that all natural and human resources are our most valuable assets. Furthermore, Alachua County is dedicated to be transparent and responsive, creating an atmosphere of trust with the citizens we serve.
    3. Values. To meet this mission, employees should recognize these fundamental values and these values should serve as a guide to employee conduct and actions where policies are silent or in apparent conflict:
      1. Integrity. We adhere to standards of ethical conduct.
      2. Honesty. We are truthful, fair and open with our fellow employees and the people we serve.
      3. Respect. We are responsive, compassionate and courteous in all our interactions.
      4. Diversity. We embrace the value and power of diversity in our community.
      5. Innovation. We are committed to the consideration and implementation of new ideas.
      6. Accountability. We are accountable for our behavior and the quality of work performed individually and as teams.
      7. Communication. Our open communication and sharing of ideas enhances the decision-making process.

  3. The Board of County Commissioners will not tolerate any conduct that violates laws prohibiting harassment, discrimination or retaliation. Neither will it tolerate any conduct that, while not unlawful, interferes with the reasonable expectations of Board employees to a workplace that is free from offensive, intolerant or otherwise inappropriate comments, actions or material. Board employees are members of a team that depends for its success on the ability of all members of that team to work in harmony with each other.
    1. These standards of conduct provide guidance to employees as they undertake public service. They are not intended to provide an exhaustive listing of the Board expectations, or all of the grounds for discipline up to and including termination.
    2. One of the primary objectives of the Board of County Commissioners is to establish and administer a system of human resources management consistent with the goal of providing superior service to the community by employing and retaining individuals of the highest qualifications and character, whose actions and decisions exemplify the ethical values held by the Board and who adhere to the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct.
    3. The values of any organization are reflected in the quality of the decisions made by the officers and employees.
      1. In addition to adhering to the highest ethical standards, all employees are encouraged to develop skills and seek formal training that will enhance their personal development and add to the overall expertise of the organization.
      2. Supervisors – Supervisors, including managers and directors, have key roles in the organization and hold the special trust and confidence of higher level management of the Board. Supervisors have broad authority and correspondingly are held responsible for maintaining a professional and inclusive workplace environment. Thus supervisors are expected to set an example for their subordinates and are held to a higher standard of personal conduct.
    4. As stewards of the public trust, all Board employees must use the powers and resources of the Board that are entrusted to them by the public to further the public interest, and not for personal gain or benefit.
      1. No employee will use the employee’s official position, either on or off-duty, to secure special privileges or advantages for the employee or others.
      2. Employees must be aware of and avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, and obtain the employee’s supervisor’s review of a situation that may appear to be a conflict of interest for the employee.
    5. The ethical obligations of public service employees go beyond mere legal obligations, and demand from each employee a greater sensitivity to the potential ramifications of the employee’s conduct, as well as to the public’s perception of such conduct.
      1. An employee who violates any of the Board of County Commissioners Policies or Administrative Procedures shall be subject to disciplinary action.
      2. Beyond the minimum required conduct provided by many of the offenses listed under AP 9-3 Disciplinary Offenses and Penalties, the following are types of behaviors prohibited in the workplace:
        1. Federal, State and local laws, as well as Board ordinances, prohibit the harassment of, or discrimination against, employees on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or veterans’ status. The Board of County Commissioners subscribes to the purpose and requirement of those laws, and employees will strictly comply with them.
        2. It is also Board policy that certain types of behavior, which do not rise to the level of illegal harassment or discrimination, can be just as hurtful and counterproductive. Therefore, the Board will not tolerate any conduct or behavior that interferes with the reasonable expectations of Board employees to a professional workplace that is free from offensive, intolerant or otherwise inappropriate comments, actions or material, regardless of whether they could be found illegal under any law.
        3. It is a violation of expected behavior rules to engage in offensive conduct regardless of the “consent” of any employee involved in the conduct, and regardless of whether the conduct is considered to be offensive or not by the object of the conduct. While laws prohibiting harassment define such conduct as “unwanted,” the expectations of the Board go beyond that standard, and it will be considered a violation regardless of whether the object of the conduct is a willing participant. In short, all conduct and materials prohibited by these rules are to be kept out of the workplace.
        4. Any requests for sexual favors for which an employee may, by virtue of his or her employment, feel pressured to grant, or for which the employee suffers adverse employment consequences for refusing, or which are so persistent or pointed that they create a hostile environment, will constitute a violation of these rules.
      3. Board employees are expected to demonstrate integrity and impartiality, maintain confidential information and avoid the appearance of seeking personal gain or advantage in order to keep the special trust and confidence of other government officials or members of the public with whom the employee works. These employees must avoid actions on or off duty that could compromise that essential trust and confidence.
      4. Actions by off duty employees that involve the Board in an employee’s questionable behavior, such as wearing a County uniform or insignia, using Board equipment or vehicles, continuing an interaction begun while on the job, or involving the Board in the behavior in a similar way may result in disciplinary action for the employee. Additionally, each employee must recognize that, as a public employee, his or her off-duty conduct has the potential to affect the efficient operations of the Board. As such, any off-duty conduct which adversely affects the Board or reflects negatively on the Board may result in disciplinary action.
    6. Any employee who believes that the employee has been the object of any behavior prohibited by these standards of conduct or Board Policies will immediately report that behavior to the Equal Opportunity Office, the Human Resources Department, or a supervisor. Any employee who is aware of, or suspects, the occurrence of any conduct prohibited by these standards of conduct or by Board Policies, regardless of whether or not the employee is the object of such conduct, including the receipt of outside communication or sources, is expected to report it immediately to the Equal Opportunity Office, Human Resources Department or a supervisor. No employee will suffer retaliation for having made such a report or complaint in good faith.
    7. If it is determined that violations have occurred, Administrative Officials, or their respective designees, in consultation with each other, will take prompt, effective and appropriate remedial action, which may include disciplinary action.
  4. Work attire should complement the Board’s core values, reflecting a customer-oriented and professional organization. Employees who are required to wear County uniforms shall follow the County’s Uniform Administrative Procedures as well as their departmental standard operating procedures governing the issuance and wearing of uniforms.
  5. Section 104.31, Florida Statutes, shall govern political activities for persons employed by the Board of County Commissioners.
    1. Examples of prohibited acts:
      1. Directly or indirectly attempt to influence any other employee to contribute to or support any person or organization for political purposes.
      2. Directly or indirectly coerce or attempt to coerce any employee as to where they might purchase commodities.
    2. Examples of allowable acts:
      1. Become a candidate and actively campaign for any non-partisan elective office outside of normal work hours.
      1. Express an opinion on any partisan or non-partisan political subjects and candidates.
  1. Notwithstanding any provision contained herein, the County at all times reserves the right to take disciplinary action, up to and including termination, against any employee who has engaged in conduct which is contrary to the order, efficiency, or good name of the County, or conflicts with the best and valid interests of the County, its employees, and constituents.