|The Woodlands Township Board of Directors has a Board policy on meeting time and format. The policy establishes the framework for the Board meeting schedule and the format for the Board’s regularly scheduled monthly meetings. Two suggestions have been made regarding additional items for inclusion as standard agenda items for consideration by the Board. The suggestions relate to the placement of proclamations on the agenda and the establishment of a regularly occurring President/General Manager’s Report. Both of these items are detailed below. If the Board is interested in moving forward with one or both of these additions to the policy, proposed policy changes are attached for consideration.
At the Board meeting on May 18, the Board discussed potential changes to the public comment process; however, this matter was deferred to the June 28 meeting for additional consideration and discussion.
The Township has recently received an increased number of requests for proclamations. While all Directors have the ability to place any item they choose on the agenda, in 2009, the Township Board authorized the Chairman to sign proclamations for those that are largely ceremonial, do not take a formal position on a regulatory matter and do not impact the Township’s operations. The policy was implemented at a time when several of these types of ceremonial proclamations were being requested. Over time, the number of requests dwindled and so the policy authorization has not been used in recent years. While some groups may want the public exposure of a proclamation at a Board meeting, many are looking simply for a formal acknowledgement from their local government. If the Board is comfortable with continuing the authorization, staff would continue to write the proclamations, the Chairman would sign them, and a memo with the proclamations signed since the last meeting would be distributed to Directors in their additional materials folders, as needed. In order to ensure that all policies on Board operations are easy to locate, staff recommends that the continuation of this authorization be written into the Board Policy on Meeting Time and Format in a section called “Proclamations”.
In addition, proclamations on the agenda have historically been placed on the “Consent Agenda” portion of the meeting; however, when certain groups are present (particularly students), the Board has often opted to read the proclamations aloud prior to the adoption of the consent agenda in order to provide more public recognition. If desired, staff could create a new “Proclamations” section of the agenda prior to the “Consent Agenda” that would allow for formal recognition and approval of proclamations prior to the regular business of the Township Board. This procedure would be written into the Board Policy on Meeting Time and Format in a section called “Proclamations”.
President/General Manager’s Report
A request was made to include an agenda item for a President/General Manager’s Report as a verbal presentation once a month, on the meeting opposite the Village Association Presidents’ Reports. This agenda item would provide an opportunity for the President/General Manager to make announcements and recognize special individuals or groups for Township accomplishments.
Items of community interest that may be appropriate to include are:
It is important to note there are limitations on such an agenda item in order to comply with the Texas Open Meetings Act. The agenda item cannot simply be named as “President/General Manager’s Report”, rather, it will also need to indicate the topics in the report. In addition, no action may be taken on any item in the report. Attorney General Opinion GA-0668 (2008) determined that notice such as “City Manager’s Report” was not adequate notice and that the subject of a report by a member of the city staff or governing body must be included in the notice in a manner that informs a reader about the subjects to be addressed. Cities and counties have since been granted greater flexibility in posting requirements for such a report; however, this flexibility does not apply to the Township.
- expressions of thanks, congratulations, or condolence;
- information regarding holiday schedules;
- an honorary or salutary recognition of a public official, public employee, or other community member;
- a reminder about an upcoming event organized or sponsored by the Township;
- information regarding a social, ceremonial, or community event organized or sponsored by an entity other than the governing body that was attended or is scheduled to be attended by a member of the governing body or an official or employee of the Township
If the Board is interested in including such President/General Manager’s Report, a standard agenda item for this purpose can be placed on the Thursday Board Meeting Agenda, following the Public Comment agenda item. This would also align well with the administrative reports, which are currently included on the “Consent Agenda” for the regular Thursday meetings.