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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Drug Free Workplace

Policy No.: 6-5 Effective: 12/01/2014
Revision No.: 1 Review Date: 12/01/2015

OVERVIEW: The County acknowledges the importance of establishing and maintaining a drug free workplace; and complying with all federal, state, and local regulations related to drug use, including the Federal Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988, the State Comprehensive Economic Development Act of 1990 and the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991.

SCOPE: This policy applies to all employees of the Board of County Commissioners.

PROVISIONS:

  1. General Rule. Any employee who refuses to submit to a test for drugs or alcohol pursuant to this policy shall be presumed, in the absence of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, to be under the influence and may forfeit eligibility for all Workers' Compensation medical and indemnity benefits and may be terminated or disciplined.
    1. Employees are required to report to work in a fit condition for duty.
    2. If an employee is under medical treatment with a drug that could alter the employee’s ability to do the job, (s)he is required to report this drug use immediately to the employee’s supervisor.

  2. Definition. As used herein, "drug abuse" includes the use of illicit substances or misuse of controlled substances, alcohol, or other psychoactive drugs.
  1. Notice. The county will provide a one-time written notice to all employees, as required by Section 440.102(3), Florida Statutes.
    1. The notice will be provided to all potential employees prior to any pre-employment drug testing.
    2. Copies of this notice will be placed on all employee bulletin boards and a general statement that the County will test all final candidates will be included on vacancy announcements.

  2. Prohibited Behavior.
    1. The manufacture, use, possession or distribution of illicit or controlled substances during work hours is strictly prohibited.
    2. Being under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs during work hours, and being under the influence of legal drugs to the extent that normal faculties are significantly impaired on the job, is strictly prohibited.

  3. Confiscation of Drugs. Supervisors will contact local law enforcement officials to confiscate any suspected illegal drugs.
  1. Disciplinary Action. Employees who violate the County’s Drug Free Workplace Policy by failing a drug test or by being under the influence, using or distributing drugs on the job are subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal, according to the guidelines below:
    1. Employees with a first time positive confirmed drug and/or alcohol test will be referred to the County EAP or other community alcohol and drug rehabilitation program(s) as appropriate.
      1. However, use of the EAP or other rehabilitation resources will not prevent the County from taking appropriate disciplinary action for violations of other County policies.
    2. If an employee seeks help on a voluntary basis with personal use of drugs or alcohol, then confidentiality will be protected. However, if the employee does not seek help and work performance or work conduct problems come to the attention of the County, or if the problem is more severe than personal use, then disciplinary action may result.
    3. Employees referred to the EAP or other rehabilitation program as a result of a first violation will be allowed to continue employment with the County provided that:
      1. They contact the EAP or other rehabilitation resource and strictly adhere to all terms of treatment and counseling prescribed; and
      2. They immediately cease any and all abuse/use of alcohol or drugs; and
      3. They consent in writing to periodic unannounced testing for a period of up to two years after returning to work or completion of any rehabilitation program, whichever is later; and
      4. They pass all drug tests administered under this program; and
      5. They execute and abide by an agreement describing the above stated conditions.
    4. Failure to meet any of the above conditions, or the occurrence of a follow-up confirmed positive drug test will result in immediate dismissal from employment.
      1. Employees terminated cannot re-apply for employment by the Board for 180 days.

  2. Confidentiality. The provisions of Section 440.102(8), Florida Statutes, shall govern the release of any information, interviews, reports, statements, memoranda and drug and/or alcohol testing results received by the County through this Drug Free Workplace and Drug Testing program.

8. Employees Working Under Federal Grants. Employees working under Federal grants must notify management, as a condition of employment, in writing, within five calendar days, if they are convicted of violating a criminal drug statute.  Employees who are convicted of violating a criminal drug statute will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination, or will be required to satisfactorily participate in a federal, state, local or law enforcement approved drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program.  The County will notify the Federal agency in writing, with in 10 calendar days, if any employee working under a Federal Grant  is convicted of violating a criminal drug statute.

9. Rehabilitation. Any employee who feels an addiction to, dependence upon, or has developed a problem with alcohol or drugs, legal or illegal, is encouraged to seek assistance.

    1. Responsibility. Rehabilitation is the responsibility of the employee.
    2. Employees may seek such assistance through the County-sponsored Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or other community resources.
    3. Health Benefits. Any employee seeking medical attention for alcohol misuse or drug abuse will be entitled to benefits only to the extent specified under the County’s group health insurance program and EAP.
    4. Leave of Absence. Employees required to be absent from the workplace while in treatment may request a medical leave of absence in accordance with the Board of County Commissioners’ Employee Policies.
      1. An employee shall be permitted to utilize all available accumulated paid leave before being placed in a leave without pay status.
    5. Reinstatement to Position. Upon successful completion of the EAP or other treatment program, the employee shall be reinstated to the same or equivalent position that was held prior to such rehabilitation.
    6. Prior Medical History. The County will not discharge, discipline or discriminate against an employee solely on the basis of any prior medical history revealed to the County pursuant to this policy.