General Counsel | LSCS Policy Manual | Governance and Board of Trustees Policy |

I.C. LSCS Board Member Policy

I.C.1.  Board Members – Eligibility and Benefits

I.C.1.01 Qualifications

To hold office as a member of the Board of Trustees, one must:

  1. be a United States citizen;
  2. be 18 years of age or older on the first day of the term to be filled at the election, or on the date of appointment, as applicable;
  3. have not been determined by a final judgment of a court exercising probate jurisdiction to be:
    1. totally mentally incapacitated; or
    2. partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote
  4. have not been finally convicted of a felony from which the person has not been pardoned or otherwise released from the resulting disabilities;
  5. have resided continuously in the state for twelve (12) months, and in the territory from which the office is elected for six (6) months;
  6. be a qualified (registered) voter;
  7. take the official oath of office;
  8. serve without compensation;
  9. reside in the District.

I.C.1.02 Residence - Defined

“Residence” shall mean domicile – one’s home and fixed place of habitation to which one intends to return after any temporary absence. One does not lose one’s resident status by leaving to go to another place for temporary purposes.

I.C.1.03 Compensation and Expenses

Board members shall not receive any remuneration or emolument of office, with the exception of certain health and life insurance benefits as provided by state law.

Board members shall be entitled to reimbursement for their actual expenses incurred in performing their duties, to the extent authorized and permitted by the Board.

I.C.1.04 Reimbursement of Costs and Expenses

Board members shall be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred in carrying out Board business, with prior Board approval, and for reasonable expenses incurred while attending meetings and conventions as official representatives of the Board. System charges may be made to the System for registration fees, air travel and lodging. An amount for Board member travel expense reimbursement shall be approved in the budget each year.

Reimbursement shall be made by the System upon submission of a detailed record of expenses, which shall be reviewed by the Chancellor, and submitted to the Business Office. A Board committee designated by the Board may review individual Board members’ records of expenses. Travel expenses for a Board member’s spouse, or any other person traveling with the Board member, shall not be reimbursed by the System, but shall be at the expense of the Board member, except in the instance of group meals that constitute an official function. All registration fees, travel arrangements, and hotel reservations for such meetings will be made through the Chancellor’s office, as appropriate.

I.C.1.05 Board Member Tuition Waivers

Current Board members, and former Board members who served at least a full six-year term of office, shall be entitled to the same tuition waiver benefit as granted full-time employees.

I.C.1.06 Benefits - Former Board Members

Former members of the Board of Trustees, who served at least a full six-year term of office, shall be accorded the same privileges and benefits accruing to current serving members, as allowed by law.

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on August 7, 2008

I.C.2.  Board Members – Elections and Appointments

I.C.2.01 Elections

At least three Board members shall be elected at each election, the number of members depending upon that required to constitute a Board of nine (9) members to serve terms of six (6) years each.

I.C.2.02 Single-Member Districts

Election of Board members shall be by single-member districts, with three (3) district Board members elected from their respective districts in November of each even-numbered year.

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on October 10, 2013

I.C.2.03 Filing Information

A candidate for any position may have his or her name printed on a ballot for election to any position to be filled at each regular election by filing a completed application form, accompanied by a $200 filing fee, or by filing a petition, signed by 200 registered voters of the System, with the Secretary of Board, no later than the 62nd day before the day of the election .

An application may not be filed before the 30th day before the date of the filing deadline.

The application must state the number of the position for which the candidate is filing, or the name of the incumbent member of the Board holding the position sought. The location on the ballot of the names of the candidates for each position shall be chosen by lot, by the Board. The candidate shall be eligible to run for only one position in each election.

I.C.2.04 Write-In Voting

In a general or special election for members of the governing body of a junior college district, a write-in vote may not be counted for a person unless the person has filed a declaration of write-candidacy with the Secretary of the Board in the manner provided for write-in candidates in the general election for state or county officers.

A declaration of write-in candidacy must be filed no later than 5:00 p.m. of the 5th day after the date the application for a place on the ballot is required to be filed, unless the election is held in November of an odd-numbered year in which case the last day to file is the 67th day before election day.

Subchapter B, Chapter 146, Election Code, applies to write-in voting in an election for members of the Board of Trustees, except to the extent of a conflict with this section.

I.C.2.05 Residency Term – Pre-filed Candidacy

An individual seeking election to the office of member of the Board of Trustees, by having his or her name placed on the ballot, must have resided continuously in the state for twelve (12) months, and in the District for six (6) months prior to the last date on which the candidate could file to be listed on the ballot.

I.C.2.06 Residency Term – Write-In Candidacy

An individual seeking election to the office of member of the Board of Trustees by write-in vote must have resided continuously in the state for twelve (12) months, and in the District for six (6) months prior to the day of the election.

I.C.2.07 - Appointment to Position on Board

A Board position may be filled by appointment when the Board, by resolution or order, decides to appoint an individual (rather than call a special election) to fill the vacancy of an unexpired term, created by death, resignation or otherwise.

To be eligible for appointment to a vacant Board position, an individual must have resided continuously in the state for twelve (12) months, and in the District for six (6) months prior to the day on which the appointment is made.

I.C.2.08 Election of Unopposed Candidate

A political subdivision, other than a county, in which write-in votes may be counted only for names appearing on a list of write-in candidates, may declare each unopposed candidate elected to the office if:

  1. each candidate whose name is to appear on the ballot is unopposed; and
  2. no proposition is to appear on the ballot.

The Board may declare each unopposed candidate elected to the office, upon receipt of certification from the authority responsible for having the official ballot prepared. The certification must state that only one candidate’s name is to appear on the ballot for that office and no candidate’s name is to be placed on a list of write-in candidates for that office under applicable law. If the Board makes such a declaration, the election is not held. A copy of the order or ordinance must be posted on Election Day at each polling place that would have been used in the election.

I.C.2.09 Loyalty Oath

Before a candidate can have his or her name placed on the ballot, he or she must execute and have notarized the loyalty oath.

I.C.2.10 Nepotism

A candidate shall not take any affirmative action to influence a System employee or current Board member regarding the appointment, re-appointment, employment, confirmation, re-employment, change in status, compensation or dismissal of a person related to the candidate by blood (consanguinity) within the third degree, or by marriage (affinity) within the second degree. (See Nepotism Chart in this Chapter).

However, this prohibition does not apply to a candidate’s actions taken with respect to a bona fide class or category of employees or prospective employees.

I.C.2.11 Date of Election

The election of members to the Board of Trustees shall be on even numbered years and following the United States Federal Election schedule traditionally on the first Tuesday in November.

I.C.2.12 Notice

The Board shall call the election not later than the 62nd day before Election Day, except for an election held on the general election day in November, in which the election shall be called not later than the 70th day before election day. Notice of the election shall be posted not later than the 21st day before Election Day in a place convenient to the public in the Administrative Offices of the System, and shall also be published at least once, not earlier than the 30th day or later than the tenth (10th) day before election day, in a newspaper published within the System’s boundaries, or in a newspaper of general circulation in a county where the System is located, if none is published within the System’s boundaries.

The Board shall also deliver, no later than the 60th day preceding the election, notice of the election to the county clerk of each county in which the System is located.

The notice shall state the nature and date of the election, the location of each polling place, and the hours the polls will be open. The Board shall retain a copy of the published notice that contains the name of the newspaper and the date of publication, and shall preserve that copy for twenty-two (22) months after the Election Day.

I.C.2.13 Polling Places Accessible

Each polling place shall be accessible to and usable by the elderly and persons with physical disabilities.

I.C.2.14 Voters with Disabilities

Each polling place must provide at least one voting station that complies with Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. § 294), and amendments, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (42 U.S.C. §§ 12131 et. seq.), and amendments, that provides a practical and effective means for voters with physical disabilities to cast a secret ballot.

I.C.2.15 Bilingual Materials

The System shall provide bilingual election materials, as specified by law, when:

  1. The director of the federal census determines that:
  2. i. More than five (5%) percent or more than 10,000 of the citizens of voting age of the District are members of a single language minority and are limited-English proficient, and
  3. ii. The illiteracy rate of the citizens in the language minority as a group in higher than the national illiteracy rate, illiteracy defined as the failure to complete the fifth primary grade; or
  4. b. Five (5%) percent or more of the inhabitants of a county are persons of Spanish origin or descent, according to the most recent federal decennial census officially recognized by the state or political subdivisions. An election precinct may be exempted from the requirement if official census information indicates that persons of Spanish descent comprise less than five (5%) percent of the precinct’s inhabitants. If the District includes territory in more than one county, the bilingual materials must be used in each precinct that includes territory lying within a county in which 5% or more of the inhabitants are of Spanish origin or descent.

“Language minorities” include American Indian, Asian American, Alaskan natives, or people of Spanish heritage.

“Limited-English proficient” means unable to speak or understand English adequately enough to participate in the electoral process.

I.C.2.16 Voting Rights Act

The Board, being subject to the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, shall submit any changes that affect elections to the U.S. Justice Department for pre-clearance, and shall implement such changes unless the Justice Department interposes an objection within 60 days after the date of submission.

I.C.2.17 Early Voting

The Board shall provide for early voting in Board elections, as provided by law.

I.C.2.18 Canvass Returns

For elections held on the uniform election day in May, the Board shall canvass the returns at the time set by the presiding officer not later than the eleventh (11th) day after Election Day, and not earlier than the last of: (1) the 3rd day after Election Day; (2) the date on which the early voting ballot board has verified and counted all provisional ballots, if a provisional ballot has been cast in the election; or (3) the date on which all timely received ballots cast from addresses outside the U.S. are counted, if a ballot to be voted by mail in the election was provided to a person outside the U.S. Two members of the Board constitute a quorum for purposes of canvassing an election.

I.C.2.19 Plurality Vote Required

To be elected to a public office, a candidate must receive more votes than any other candidate for the office.

In an election requiring a plurality vote, if two or more candidates for the same office tie for the number of votes required to be elected, a second election to fill the office shall be held, unless the tying candidates agree to cast lots to resolve the tie, or a tying candidate files a written statement of withdrawal, signed and acknowledged by the candidate. If a tie requires a second election, an automatic recount must be conducted in accordance with Election Code, Chapter 216, before the second election is held. If the recount resolves the tie, the second election is not held.

I.C.2.20 Certificate of Election

After the completion of a canvass, the presiding officer shall prepare a certificate of election for each candidate who is elected to an office for which the official result is determined by that authority's canvass. A certificate of election must contain:

  1. The candidate's name;
  2. The office to which the candidate is elected;
  3. A statement of election to an unexpired term, if applicable;
  4. The date of the election;
  5. The signature of the officer preparing the certificate; and
  6. Any seal used by the officer preparing the certificate to authenticate documents that the officer executes or certifies.

The authority preparing a certificate of election shall promptly deliver it to the person for whom it is prepared, subject to the submission of a recount petition.

A recount petition shall delay the issuance of a certificate of election and qualification for the office involved in the recount pending completion of the recount. A candidate may not qualify for an office involved in a recount before completion of the recount. A candidate who has received a certificate of election and qualified for an office before the submission of a recount petition shall not be affected by the recount petition.

A certificate of election may not be issued to a person who has been declared ineligible to be elected to the office.

The presiding officer of the canvass shall also prepare a report of the precinct results as contained in the election register and shall deliver the report to the secretary of state as required by law.

I.C.2.21 Statement of Officer and Oath of Office

Newly elected Board members shall sign and file with the Secretary of State the required Statement of Officer. After the statement has been filed, and certificates of election have been issued, but before entering upon the duties of the office, the Board member shall take the oath of affirmation of office, and shall file it with the Chair of the Board.

The oath may be administered, and a certificate of the fact given by:

  1. a judge, retired judge, clerk or commissioner of any court of record
  2. a notary public
  3. a justice of the peace or clerk of a justice court
  4. the Secretary of State of Texas
  5. a member or a retired member of the State Legislature
  6. the Lieutenant Governor of Texas
  7. the Governor of Texas
  8. the Attorney General.

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on August 7, 2008

I.C.3. Board Members – Vacancies and Removal from Office

I.C.3.01 Vacancies

Any vacancy occurring on the Board through death, resignation or otherwise, shall be filled by a special election ordered by the Board, or by appointment by resolution or order of the Board. If the vacancy occurs on a Board whose members are elected at large/by position, the person appointed to fill the unexpired term shall serve until the next regular election of members of the Board, at which time, the position shall be filled by election for a term appropriately shortened to conform with what regularly would have been the length of term for that position.

I.C.3.02 Resignation

To be effective, a Board member’s resignation must be in writing and signed by the Board member, and must be delivered to the Board for action, in the form of acceptance. The Board may not refuse to accept a resignation. If a Board member submits a resignation, whether for immediate effect of for some future date, a vacancy occurs on the date the Board takes action to accept the resignation, or on the eighth (8th) day after its receipt by the Board, whichever is earlier.

I.C.3.03 Non-Residence

A person elected to serve as a Board member must remain a resident of the District through the term of office. A Board member who ceases to reside in the District vacates his or her office.

The Board may require member(s) to file an affidavit with the Chair of the Board, stipulating that the member(s)’ residence is located within the District.

I.C.3.04 Removal from Office

Board members may be removed from Board membership for incompetency, official misconduct, intoxication on or off duty caused by drinking an alcoholic beverage (unless it was caused by drinking such beverage on the direction and prescription of a licensed physician), conviction by a judge or jury for any felony or for misdemeanor official misconduct, or for absences from more than half of the regularly scheduled Board meetings that the member is eligible to attend during a calendar year, not counting an absence for which the member is excused by a majority vote of the Board. A Board member is considered absent from a regular Board meeting if he or she participates by telephone conference but is not physically present at a regular Board meeting.

“Official Misconduct” includes, but is not limited to, conviction of an offense relating to the making or authorizing of separate, sequential or component purchases to avoid the purchasing contracts requirements.

Actions for removal of Board members must be brought before the judge of the District Court holding jurisdiction, except that any court convicting a Board member of a felony or official misconduct shall order immediate removal.

 

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on August 7, 2008

I.C.4. Board Member Development and Training

I.C.4.01 Purpose

In accordance with the intent of the Legislature and the expectations of the public to provide competent representation, the Board encourages individual Board members to engage in programs of training and continuing education in trusteeship and other areas of community college operations which will help trustees to perform the duties of office effectively.

I.C.4.02 Authority

The Board of Trustees must authorize all travel by individual Board members, and reimbursement of expenses associated with trustee education programs and institutional representation.

I.C.4.03 Reimbursement of Development/Training Expenses

Reasonable and customary expenses for transportation, lodging, meals and conference registration shall be borne by the System for individual Board members. Board members shall be responsible for the expenses of accompanying spouses, except in the instance of group meals that constitute an official function. When there is a differential in lodging rates for single or double occupancy, Board members shall be responsible for the difference of the two rates.

Board members shall follow System procedures regarding requests for reimbursement of travel expenses, and the use of System credit cards. Board members shall be reimbursed at System approved rates for mileage, except in cases where commercial airfare is less than the amount for mileage. In such instances, the reimbursement will be at the airfare rate.

I.C.4.04 Frequency

Except as otherwise provided by the Board of Trustees for specific purposes related to the best interest of the System, Board members shall generally be limited annually to one national and one state or regional trusteeship meeting.

Reasonable exceptions include, but are not limited to, institutional representation to higher education associations, the Legislature, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Congress and agencies of the federal government.

I.C.4.05 Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Training Programs

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) shall provide training for Board membership in accordance with Education Code, Sec. 61.084. A registration fee shall be paid by each Board member in an amount adequate to cover the costs incurred by the Coordinating Board, and other state agencies in providing the program. Such amount shall be determined prior to each seminar. Board members are eligible to attend such training programs, and shall be reimbursed for costs of registration, as well as actual expenses of travel, meals and lodging.

The content of the instruction at a training program offered pursuant to Education Code Sec. 61.084 shall focus on the official role and duties of Board members, and shall provide training in the areas of budgeting, policy development, and governance.

Topics may include:

  1. Auditing procedures and recent audits of public community/junior colleges;
  2. The enabling legislation that creates public community/junior colleges;
  3. The role of the Board, and the relationship between the Board and a college’s administration, faculty, staff and students;
  4. The mission statements of public community/junior colleges;
  5. Disciplinary and investigative authority of the Board;
  6. The requirements of the Texas Open Meetings Act and the Texas Public Information Act;
  7. The requirements of conflict of interest laws and other laws relating to public officials.
  8. Any applicable ethics policies adopted by public community/junior colleges and the Texas Ethics Commission; and
  9. Any topic relating to higher education that the Coordinating Board considers important.

I.C.4.06 Fee Reimbursement for Training Programs

A Board member shall pay from private funds the required THECB course registration fees, and any costs of travel, meals and lodging. Neither the requested fee, nor a Board Member’s travel costs shall be reimbursed from appropriated funds, other than grants and donations of private funds available for that purpose.

I.C.4.07 Conventions, Workshops, Press Conferences and Ceremonial Events

Board members may attend a regional, state or national convention or workshop, ceremonial event, or press conference without such gatherings being construed as “meetings” under the Texas Open Meetings Act. However, no formal action concerning System business shall be taken at such events and any discussions of public business shall be merely incidental to the event.

I.C.4.08 Open Government Training

Within 90 days of taking the oath of office, each Board member shall complete a course of training on open meetings and open records provided by the Texas Attorney General or other approved source of training regarding the responsibilities of the Board and its members under Chapter 551 of the Texas Government Code.

I.C.4.09 Reporting

Each member of the Board attending a conference or workshop shall provide to the Board of Trustees a verbal report of the sessions and/or meetings which a Board member has attended.

I.C.4.10 Board Member Orientation

The Board and the Chancellor shall provide an orientation for new Board members within the calendar year of their election, to assist them in understanding the Board’s function, policies and procedures. Assistance given in the orientation of new Board members may include the following, as appropriate, or available:

  1. Selected materials on the responsibilities of being a contributing member of the Board.
  2. Material pertinent to meetings and an explanation of its use.
  3. Invitations to meet with the Chancellor and College Presidents, and other administrative personnel designated by the Chancellor to discuss services the administration performs for the Board.
  4. Access to a copy of the Board’s policies and administrative regulations, and other documents and information currently in use by other Board members.
  5. Information regarding appropriate meetings and workshops.
  6. A formal orientation on legal and budgetary oversight responsibilities of the Board.
  7. Other information and activities as the Board or the Chancellor deems useful in fulfilling the role of Board member.

I.C.4.11 Annual Plan

The Chancellor shall work with the Board to develop and implement a plan to address the training needs of Board members.

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on August 7, 2008

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