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The board is a critical component of an RSD as it directs the district, forms a plan for the future, establishes mission, vision, and values, has the ability to fire and hire the staff, and is ultimately legally responsible for all decisions.
Utility boards are appointed and/or elected. The requirements for trustees or board members are located in IC 13-26-4. The board must always have an odd number of members varying from 3 to 13. The members must be selected through appointment or election in the methods accepted by the sections of the Indiana Code governing regional districts.
Each board member should be given a general job description (see sample board member job description [PDF]). In addition, it is a good idea to make up a list of expected responsibilities for each officer. Your board may operate very differently, but it is still a good idea to outline duties so that both the district and the member get what they expect.
The Indiana State Board of Accounts requires completed Conflict of Interest forms for board members. The purpose is to ensure that board members do not vote on difficult issues that may present a conflict of interest, based on their personal pursuits or activities. In addition, when a potential conflict of interest does occur, a board member must declare this to the board and must abstain from voting. Examples include situations in which the board member has confidential information, or would profit financially or otherwise benefit. SBOA has a form [PDF] which should be used for this purpose.
The legal responsibilities of board members, detailed in this portion of the guide, make the board members legally responsible and liable for decisions of the district. Therefore, it is important for a district to have insurance. The size and scope of the district should help to dictate the policy.
There are two tasks that the new board should address quickly. First, the board should write and approve by-laws. By-laws outline the rules for the board and the organization. Secondly, the board should write a mission statement, explaining why the district exists and what they seek to do. Mission statements provide direction to board members (see sample bylaws [PDF] and set of mission, vision, values, and goal statements [PDF]).
Listed below are some of the main legally-required and suggested functions for a board. Please note that this list is not all-inclusive.
1) Darner, Bryan A., ed. 2004 Black's Law Dictionary, Eighth Edition. Thomson: St. Paul, Minnesota.
3) Darner, Bryan A., ed. 2004 Black's Law Dictionary, Eighth Edition. Thomson: St. Paul, Minnesota.