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BWD Board Must Reform Procedural RulesFor Committees

The BWD Board must take a more formal and businesslike approach to meetings of its various Standing Committees, ad hoc Committees, and sub committees of ad hoc committees dealing with Groundwater Management and/or specific aspects thereof. That is the:

The meetings of these groups are far less efficient than they could and should be. For openers, a great deal of time is wasted because there is never an agenda published in advance. Consequently, there is no way for anyone to prepare for the meeting. The absence of an agenda also turns each meeting into a free-for-all where anyone can and some do monopolize the discussion to pursue parochial and inappropriate matters. Furthermore, the lack of even a rudimentary agenda makes it impossible for individuals to decide whether or not to attend a meeting at all, for there is no predictability to the topics that may be brought up in the meeting.  Items not on the agenda should be limited to not more than three minutes each at the beginning of the meeting and, if necessary, be placed on the agenda for and dealt with at a future meeting.

There should also be at least brief minutes or a summary of major points covered and the outcome of discussions, as well as agenda items proposed for the next meeting. Absent that there is the very real danger that attendees may forget what was discussed and decided, if anything, and start all over again at the next meeting.Worse yet, individuals may take away very different ideas about outcomes of the meeting and have nothing to check their impressions against. In addition, such summaries would provide a record of the meetings and a way of bringing new participants up to speed.Last, but not least, such a record would make clear to everyone the consistent failure of these committees to make any progress and, perhaps, shame them into actually doing something.

Finally, the agenda for a meeting and the minutes for the last meeting should be sent by e-mail to those on the BWD mailing list at least one week prior to an upcoming meeting in order that those who may have an interest in one or more agenda items can plan to attend and have time to prepare. Notices now typically arrive not more than 24 hours prior to the meeting and contain no information except for the date and time of the meeting.

These meetings serve a useful purpose; however, far too much time is wasted because of inadequate notice, structure, protocol, control of the agenda, and record keeping. The BWD Board cannot afford to waste any more time in addressing the groundwater crisis in the valley; and the community cannot allow them to do so. The measures outlined above might help to make them more efficient by exposing their shoddy work habits - although that is probably expecting too much from this recalcitrant lot.

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At their meeting on 28 November 2005, the BWD Board, in their finite wisdom, turned down the suggestion that they bring a modicum of order, structure, and predictability to their inferior committee and sub-committee meetings by issuing agendas and very brief minutes or summaries of the substance, if any, of these meetings. They apparently prefer to wallow in serendipity, chaos, and inefficiency.
12/15/2005

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