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CAMPO tinkering with its by-laws

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 by Austin Monitor

The main topic at last night’s CAMPO Transportation Policy Board meeting – the possible approval of revised bylaws and operating procedures –is a subject that only a transportation policy wonk could love.

The short version of this tale is that no bylaws were approved last night because a number of board members had a series of questions. So Chair Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin), put the by-laws on hold for another month before he had to depart for another meeting at the Capitol.

What remains are some clean-up issues that were raised, primarily by Sunset Valley Mayor Jeff Mills and County Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt.

The changes to the latest version of by-laws are not as great as those required after the overhaul of the board when the membership was shifted dramatically from elected state officials to local elected officials of the three-county region.

Most of the proposed changes since last month were intended to outline clean-up language: representatives could appoint a proxy – who is not a lobbyist — at any time; the cities of Cedar Park and San Marcos were given voting membership on the 21-member board; and any change in the balance, or content, of membership on the board would require a three-fourths majority vote.

Other suggestions provided for consideration – which Watson asked be submitted in writing within the next week – included: the possible inclusion of the joint powers agreement into the by-laws; clarification that a vote would take place after a public hearing in front of the board (not simply a public hearing in the community); and some discussion whether a 2-year term was proper for the small city representative on the board or if it should apply to all members.

Additional issues raised included whether conflicts of interest should be extended from board members to board members and spouses; whether the creation of the executive committee would require a vote of the board, which has been the tradition, once the board is nominated by the chair; whether by-laws would note a member who carries the proxy of another member would get two votes; and whether proper decorum should not just extend to speakers but also board members on an equal basis.

Other issues to be raised included whether first-time speakers should be given preference if more than 10 speakers signed up for a meeting, and how soon someone must sign up to speak at a meeting.

Watson asked members to provide any draft language within the next week. He also encouraged members to raise any additional issues now before a potential vote.

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