Community Action Agency Board Members Toolkit in a
CHAPTER THIRTEEN: CAA Board and Staff Relations
This section covers several topics:
Shared roles and responsibilities
Separate roles that complement each other.
Summary of the successful board and Executive Director relationship
“Rights” or expectations of volunteer board members
Evaluating an Executive Director
Board and funding agency relationships
SHARED ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES.
All members of the Board and staff are in general agreement about the
Eliminating the causes and conditions of poverty.
Helping individuals, families and communities become strong and
They share a commitment to their mission and to carry out the intent of
the Community Services Block Grant Act within their State.
The Board and staff have different roles to play in pursuit of their
SEPARATE ROLES THAT COMPLEMENT EACH OTHER.
CAA Board and its Policy-Making Role.
The CAA Board makes policy about the ENDS the CAA should seek, about the
desired results. The MEANS for
accomplishing those ends are largely determined by the CAA Executive Director
and staff. For a CAA to operate
effectively, functions of the Board and staff must fit together -- without
leaving a gap or overlapping. So
there are three major elements. The Board as a whole, the individual board
member, and the executive director (staff) function.
Board as a Whole.
The authority of the Board lies in its group action.
No single member (or few members) have authority over the CAA.
Each Board Member has one vote in deciding what the Board as a
whole will do. It is through the
collective action of all members that a binding decision is made.
The Board as a policy-making body is responsible for:
needs of the community.
goals for the CAA. These are
the ENDS that the CAA will seek.
strategic plans for community action.
proposals for financial assistance.
sure the Executive Director has established and
is managing other systems needed by the CAA
(personnel, fiscal, etc). Most
funding agencies hold the Board responsible for abiding by terms of the
grant, so make sure the Executive Director has those systems are in place!
the risk and benefits of profit making activity
and social enterprises.
||Other duties as
adopted by it.
The Individual Board Member
Each board member shares equally in the Board's deliberations and actions.
Each Board member represents a constituency, or group, on the Board.
He or she presents views of that group to the Board, and reports the
Board's actions back to that group. He
or she must:
which group(s) they represent.
that group's interests and concerns.
with that group regularly.
the group's interests at Board meetings.
authorized to represent that group.
carrying out their roles as the representative of the group they represent, each
individual Board member also has the right to:
any concern of theirs or of the groups they
represent about CAA activities to the attention
of the whole Board.
any relevant new business for the Board's
consideration at Board or committee meetings.
opinions about issues or proposed items of
business before a vote is taken.
additional information on any subject under
consideration -- and question anyone testifying
before the Board -- before a vote is called.
support for or against any issue brought before
the Board for a vote, either before or during a
a complete and current list of Board members,
and have their voting records compiled.
or recommend any other matter necessary to
effective organization of the Board or conduct
of its business.
the Chairperson to clarify the way in which a
meeting is being conducted at any time.
that a vote be taken in a particular way.
a summary of internal policies and procedures.
changes in minutes before they are approved to
make them more accurately reflect events.
that their opposition to an item passed by
majority be recorded.
what has happened or is expected to happen with
other Board members, the Executive Director or
other CAA staff, neighborhood residents or any
other interested party.
forces, within or outside of the Board, to
oppose or support a measure scheduled for
However, once the Board votes, then every individual member has an
obligation to carry out that policy.
They should not criticize the policy except in board meetings.
reconsideration for any measure previously
for appointment to a committee.
members are expected to bring relevant proposals
and ideas to the Board.
These should be developed in advance and presented in a
straightforward manner to the Board.
They should also be followed up once the Board has approved them.
also has roles to play in accomplishing their
own ENDS. The Board does not simply adopt ENDS and completely turn them
over to staff. In most cases the
successful accomplishment of ENDS requires that many other elements of the
community be involved.
In most cases, board members will be more effective at lining up that
support than will staff. Further,
the organizational maintenance functions of "staying in touch" with elected
officials, the press and other key constituencies is best performed by board
The Executive Director
A CAA Executive Director is the chief executive officer and top manager of the
The Executive Director guides staff activity to accomplish the ENDS that
have been adopted by the Board. The
Director uses their management skills, staff and programs as the MEANS to
accomplish the ENDS adopted by the Board.
The authority of the Executive Director begins where the authority of the Board
leaves off. He or she is the chief
administrator. It is his or her
function to implement, or execute, policies established by the Board.
The Executive Director is an employee of the Board of Directors.
He or she is hired, paid and fired by the Board.
The performance of the Executive Director is evaluated by the Board.
While it is his or her job to carry out
policy of the Board, he or she is not expected to be in total agreement with his
or her employer at all times. They
should, however, be open and honest about their disagreements.
or she also must run the programs and operations of the CAA and keep the staff
The Executive Director receives his or her authority from the Board.
He or she:
responsible to the Board for proper
administration of the CAA.
least annually, and submits to the Board a
complete report on finances and administrative
activities for the past year.
Board with information which is necessary or
helpful to the Board in making policy.
the Board adopt policies and programs which the
Executive Director feels are necessary to
effectively conduct the antipoverty program and
improve administrative practices.
Attends all board
meetings, unless excused, and takes part in
discussion of all matters coming before the
supervises systems for personnel, fiscal,
purchasing and other functions to insure
integrity of handling of funds and the best use
programs is in accordance with Federal, State
and local laws.
Board projects and delegate agency programs, and
reports findings to the Board.
Actively manages the CAA, including:
||Hiring, firing, and supervising of the staff.
||Planning how projects will operate.
||Scheduling of activities.
||Delineating staff responsibilities.
||Evaluating staff performance.
||Monitoring all projects.
||Evaluating program effectiveness and outcomes.
The staff, under the direction of the Executive Director, is responsible for
day-to-day implementation of policies established by the Board.
The staff members answer to the Executive Director.
This does not mean, however, that there is no communication between the
staff and the Board. There should be
ground rules for staff and board communication.
The staff members should not:
to direct communication from the Board unless it
was approved by, or came through, the Executive
instructions from the Board concerning
operations unless approved by the Executive
directly to a board member concerning project
operations unless approval is given by the
An effective CAA is a partnership between the Board, the Executive Director and
the staff. In the same spirit, the staff
offers opinions and recommendations to guide the Board.
Also, the staff helps keep the Board informed of problems, progress and
status of activities in the CAA, and in the community.
By working together, the board and executive director can turn their CAA
into a powerful engine for social change.
Characteristic -- Ways to achieve it:
· Written job descriptions:
general Board member, committees, chair, other officers.
Board development training
that addresses roles.
Written policies and
Written annual goals and
objectives for Executive Director (agency)
Regular meetings with
Director and President
Timely written reports from
Well-run Board and committee
Bring up possible problems
before they grow.
Follow established lines of
Meeting procedures which
promote respectful discussion and problem solving.
Back up each other's
Pitch in on tasks
Share the glory and
Recognize that people have
different experiences and perspectives, and accept them
contributions and validate them.
Share honest opinions,
confront conflicts in a constructive fashion.
Allow for human error! Accept apologies!
is one of the commitments or
topics on which all board members and the
Executive Director should (hopefully) share?
the difference between the board
acting as a whole -- and role of the individual
two expectations that are
reasonable for individual board members to have.
is generally responsible for
defining the ENDS the CAA will seek?
is generally responsible for selecting the MEANS
that the CAA will use to achieve its ENDS?
are some characteristics of a good relationship
between a Board and an Executive Director?
to Chapter 13 Quiz
Director should share a commitment to ending the
causes and conditions of poverty.
is a single unit;
board members express individual opinions until
after a vote is taken, then that collective
action becomes the policy that binds all members
of the board.
||See the list.
||The board is
generally responsible for selecting the ENDS.
||The Executive Director
is generally responsible for selecting the MEANS
the staff will use to accomplish the
||Role clarity, good
communication, trust, mutual support and respect
are some of the elements that make for a
successful board and Executive Director
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