The process of enhancing the VTA Board of Directors’ governance moved to the next step following their Jan. 24 workshop where the topic was reviewed and discussed. Board members received a presentation on the independent review of Board Governance Assessment, followed by comments and analysis from the Ad Hoc Board Enhancement Committee (BEC), which has been shepherding the process along since it was created by former VTA Chair Teresa O’Neill last year.
Current VTA Board Chair Cindy Chavez commended the process, noting that “we’re looking at our own house” to consider changes that will ultimately create more opportunity for everyone’s voice.
After an intensive and thorough process that began in August 2019 and included a multi-layered community engagement strategy to provide information and gather feedback across multiple forums, consultants from RSM developed 27 recommendations (see pages 9-10) covering a broad range of board governance practices for consideration on ways for the board to improve on engagement and effectiveness. The aim is to objectively and transparently evaluate how VTA’s current governance structure and practices (as distinct from management) help support, or not support, the organization’s mission, goals and objectives.
Following the consultants’ presentation, the BEC reviewed the 27 primary recommendations in categories of relative priority, with agreement or disagreement based on time and resources required to implement them. Five of the 27 recommendations, along with four BEC-generated recommendations, were referred to the VTA’s Governance & Audit (G&A) Committee for further consideration and analysis.
The five recommendations are:
- Hold standing committee meetings on one day
- Reduce the number of standing committees and realign certain duties
- Increase the contractual amount that requires board approval
- Eliminate the use of alternate board members
- Implement a board self-assessment tied to strategic priorities
The four BEC-generated recommendations are:
- Convene board workshops on significant policy issues, as appropriate
- Board members notify staff in advance if they plan to remove items from the consent agenda
- Develop guidelines for board/committee referrals/requests
- Authorize the General Counsel to initiate litigation for cases with amounts under $100,000
The G&A Committee’s next meeting is Feb. 6, prior to the full VTA Board meeting.
No vote was taken on the recommendations at the Jan. 24 board workshop. The final decision regarding any recommendation or potential modification of board governance will ultimately be made by the Board of Directors at a future meeting.