Why is a joint SCC is the Washington State Conservation Commission/WACD Elections Committee being formed, and what will it do?
We’re forming the committee in response to a motion passed by the Conservation Commission at their meeting on December 3, 2020. The motion included the following direction for the committee:
- Submit updates to the Commission and WACD is the Washington Association of Conservation Districts board for their regular meetings.
- Submit a final report and recommended actions for CD election reform to the Commission in September 2021.
Commissioners passed this motion after reviewing and discussing input CDs contributed via letters, webinar discussions, and polling about potential election changes. Your feedback was greatly appreciated and instructive. It reflected the wide range of perspectives that still exists within our community on this topic and the potential risks and rewards that must be considered no matter what course we take.
The joint SCC is the Washington State Conservation Commission/WACD Elections Committee will build on the insight you’ve contributed so far. An issue of this significance — one that impacts voters, candidates, all CDs, and the communities and natural resources you serve — is owed the time, consideration, and input necessary to make well-informed and constructive decisions.
Who will participate, and how do I volunteer?
We want to find solutions that work well for all. With that in mind, we’d like committee members to represent CDs from different geographic regions, capacity levels, population densities (urban/rural), and demographics. Members also will represent both staff and supervisor perspectives.
We know it’s asking a lot of your already busy time, but we hope you’ll consider volunteering to serve as a member of this committee.
While we wish we could say “yes” to everyone who volunteers, it’s important to have a fair mix of CD means Conservation District representatives. For that reason, please note that volunteering to serve doesn’t guarantee membership. We may need to limit participants to ensure that all regions of the state are represented and to keep the committee at an efficient, effective size. Elections Committee members will be selected by the Steering Committee, which consists of Jeanette Dorner (WACD is the Washington Association of Conservation Districts President/Commission Member), Carol Smith (SCC is the Washington State Conservation Commission Executive Director), and Tom Salzer (WACD is the Washington Association of Conservation Districts Executive Director).
What should volunteers expect in terms of meetings and time commitment?
The Elections Committee will meet virtually. The anticipated time commitment is around four hours per month (two meetings per month, two hours per meeting). The Committee is scheduled to conclude in fall of 2021 once its task of submitting recommended actions is complete.
At our first meeting, members collectively will come up with ground rules to keep our time together productive and respectful. We’ll also determine more meeting logistics based on the needs of the group.
We’re committed to keeping our committee work transparent to all CDs. Another early task for the committee will be to determine our process for keeping you informed.
What is the function of the group, and how will decisions about CD elections be made?
This group will function as an advisory committee to SCC is the Washington State Conservation Commission and WACD is the Washington Association of Conservation Districts leadership. They will review and build on what’s been done already to explore election reform, including existing options for potential changes and the list of criteria that we’ve heard are most important for CD elections. Ultimately, their task is to develop recommended actions for CD elections reform and submit them to the Conservation Commission in September 2021.
Any decisions about potential changes to CD elections will be made by members of the Conservation Commission.
Questions or comments about this committee?
- Tom Salzer, WACD is the Washington Association of Conservation Districts Executive Director (360-999-5151 x101) or
- Laura Johnson, SCC is the Washington State Conservation Commission Communications Manager (360-701-9455)
Source: Washington State Conservation Commission