EMRA committees were established to increase resident involvement and to help the board accomplish the work of the Association. In addition, committees serve as sounding boards and sifters of opinion, functions vital to the board's decision-making process. These guidelines will help committees accomplish their objectives. They allow the chair flexibility in planning the work of the committee while providing a system for tracking progress on each objective and keeping the board informed.
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The history of EMRA (where EMRA has been), the "purposes and objectives" from the EMRA Bylaws (where EMRA is going) along with direction from the President should serve as the compass for committee work.
The Role of EMRA Committees
The EMRA Bylaws describe committees as groups of members appointed by the President to assist the Board of Directors in its work. The President delegates work to committees in the form of objectives. Committees present recommendations to the board based on these objectives. The board then makes a decision. In brief, committees recommend; the board decides.
Committee members must:
- Be aware of the needs of the membership.
- Realize that communications may be perceived by others as representing the opinions of EMRA because the communicator holds an EMRA leadership position.
- Understand the difference between the board's discussion of an issue and the board's decision on an issue. Decisions are recorded as motions in the minutes of the meeting.
- Defer extra-association contact (federal government, commercial firms, associations) to the President.
- The President is the spokesperson for the Association.
- Remember that committees may not commit unbudgeted resources (staff time, postage, printing, etc.) without the approval of the President.
Committee Member Responsibilities:
- Carry out work assigned by the chair; keep chair informed of status of work.
- Prepare for and participate in committee conference calls. Follow EMRA procedures outlined in the manual.
- Propose objectives for the following year.
Committee Chair Responsibilities:
- Develop a plan for accomplishing the objectives assigned by the President.
- Assign work to committee members.
- Monitor progress of assigned work; assist committee members as appropriate.
- Communicate with committee members as appropriate.
- Schedule conference calls.
- Submit minutes to the board within 14 days of the call.
- Submit quarterly reports to the board.
- Submit items for the board's action, long range planning and/or informational agenda as appropriate (these agendas are described below).
Communicating with the Board
Your committee has been assigned a board liaison--a member of the EMRA Board who serves as a communication link between the committee and the board. This liaison should be included in your committee's written communications and on your committee conference calls.
In addition to your board liaison, there are three methods for communicating with the board in writing about committee work--the information agenda, the long-range-planning agenda, and the action agenda. Your board liaison will help you decide which of these methods is appropriate.
- Information Agenda: Committee minutes and quarterly reports are placed on the information agenda. These documents should be submitted to staff for inclusion in the notebook for the next board meeting or conference call. Items on this agenda do not require board action.
- Long-Range-Planning Agenda: At times, work on an objective reaches a point at which the chair needs the board's direction before continuing. At this point, the chair must educate the board on the issue and request guidance as specifically as possible.
- Action Agenda: When the committee is ready to bring a recommendation the the board for a decision, an item is placed on the action agenda.
Most committee business is conducted through individual calls between members and by conference call. Each committee is budgeted for one conference call. EMRA uses a conference call system that allows participants to connect to a conference call by dialing a toll-free number and giving a password. It is not necessary for participants to be at a prearranged phone number. Steps for arranging a call:
- Chair contacts committee members and sets a time and date.
- Chair submits an agenda to staff and requests conference call authorization.
- Staff sets up call and mails number, password and agenda to committee members.
- Chair conducts call and submits minutes to staff for inclusion on the information agenda for the next board meeting.
EMRA policy limits the use of EMRA stationery to correspondence that has been reviewed by the Executive Director and approved by the President. In other words, all correspondence on EMRA letterhead must originate at EMRA headquarters. Under no circumstances should committee chairs or members possess, scan or by any other means reproduce EMRA stationery. Personal communications should not be placed on letterhead. Committee correspondence may be edited for style and accuracy. Because staff time is limited, edited correspondence will not customarily be submitted to the author for approval.
Quarterly and annual reports should be organized by objective and give a concise report of the work accomplished on each objective. Quarterly reports are due on the first business day of December, March, and June. Annual reports are due on August 15.
Minutes should be submitted to headquarters within 5 days of a conference call.