Board of Directors Regular Meeting Agenda


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Meeting Date: 07/22/2015  

SUBJECT MATTER:
Receive, consider and act upon Board Policy matters;
FISCAL IMPACT:
N/A
BACKGROUND:
In 2012, the Board held a series of discussions related to election/campaign-related activity at Township facilities, including parks and the Town Hall building. After reviewing the Township’s Park Orders and the Township Election Resolution (Election Policy), the Board implemented a meeting room/facility use policy for the Town Hall, Recreation Center and the Parks and Recreation building.

The meeting room policy in Article II, Section A. Eligibility to Use Meeting Space, states, 1. Meeting rooms are available for use in the following priority order: a.) Township and affiliate meeting use (Township Board of Directors, CVB, RDRC, DSC).

The meeting room policy specifies that meeting rooms are not available for political campaign or rally events and further states that community groups with political affiliations are permitted to meet provided that they are not engaging in campaign promotion. The fee schedule in the policy specifically excludes the Board Chambers for general use, stating “The Board Chambers room is not available for use except by The Woodlands Township and its affiliates.”

Based on these facts, it was staff’s understanding that no campaign activity could be held in the Town Hall facility. Since Article II, Section A, specifically names the Township Board as a user of the facility, it was understood meetings in the Board Chambers would need to comply with the provision of the policy.  

Previous Board discussions on elections and campaign-related activities have focused on Township-related elections, for which the Board has clearly established rules through the Election Policy, or on outside entities use of the Township’s facilities.

During the recent County Bond election discussion, a question was raised regarding the Board’s ability to hear a presentation from a political action committee or to hold a debate at a Township Board meeting as a formal agenda item. An opinion was requested from legal counsel. Legal counsel advised that the current policies do not address the Township Board’s ability to allow or prevent a political action committee from presenting during an agenda item, provided that the discussion is related to a non-Township election, which means that it is currently at the Board’s discretion.

It should be noted that there is an unwritten policy that allows any Board member to place an item on the agenda. Absent a policy related to the ability to place an item on the agenda or a specific policy to prevent campaign activity at a Board meeting, a single Board member has the ability to place a campaign-related item on the agenda. If the Board would like to change this, they can consider formalizing a policy/procedure for adding an item to the agenda or address this through clarification in an existing policy.

If the Board is interested in clarifying policy, the following provisions may be considered:
  1. Amend the to the Meeting Room Policy to specifically cover the Board Chambers for all purposes stated in the policy with the exception of the ability to rent the room.
  2. Amend the Election Policy to specifically include non-Township elections, so that the spirit of the Election Policy explicitly applies to all elections.

If the policy clarifications stated above are implemented, any request to include a political action committee presentation on a future agenda would be required to first receive an affirmative vote by the majority of the Board in order for the presentation to be placed on future agenda.
RECOMMENDATION:
Board to determine action.
Attachments
Election/Campaign Activity Matrix
Election Resolution 012-13
Meeting Room Policy


    

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