II. Types of Boards
There are a variety of volunteer boards. Some are administrative. Others advise or serve a judicial function. These boards make binding judgments that affect others. Others serve not-for-profit corporations and make business and policy decisions. The City Council may choose to appoint citizens to serve on a special-purpose board to give a recommendation on a specific issue. Other boards are created by state law.
Conflict of interest rules may apply differently to boards depending on their purpose. The following explanations are summaries. The full texts follow for your review. It is important to understand special rules that may apply to the board upon which you serve.
A. Administrative Boards
The four Administrative Boards of the City of Springfield are Parks, Airport, Art Museum, and the Board of Public Utilities. Each of these "charter" boards operates under Articles XV (15) and XVI (16) of the Springfield City Charter and are different from all other City boards in that they hire employees, acquire materials and supplies, and enter into contracts.
The following rules apply to Administrative Board members. No member shall:
- Have a financial interest in business dealings with the board on which the member serves. See Sec. 19.16, Springfield City Charter.
- Participate in any business with the board on which the member serves when it involves a dependent child or spouse if it is in excess of five hundred dollars ($500) value per transaction or five thousand dollars ($5,000) value per annum unless the transaction is pursuant to an award made to the lowest competitive bidder after public notice. See Subsection 105.454(3) Revised Statutes of Missouri (2005).
- Name or appoint any relative as an employee of the board who is related by blood or marriage if the relative is within the fourth degree. See Article VII, Section 8 of the Constitution of the State of Missouri, 1945.
- Be employed by the board on which the member serves for a period of one year after leaving the board. See Sec. 15.5, Springfield City Charter.
- Grant or make available to any person any advantage or favor beyond that which it is the general practice to make available to the public at large. Section 2-34(c)1.A, Springfield City Code.
- Permit the use of publicly owned or supported property or services for the personal convenience or advantage of the board member or any other person except when it is the general practice of the board to make this available to the public at large or when it is the policy of the board to make this available for the use of public officials in the conduct of their official business. Section 2-34(c)1.B, Springfield City Code.
Members of the Board of Public Utilities cannot be a candidate or hold any other public office. See Sec. 16.5 of the Springfield City Charter.
In addition, members of Administrative Boards are required to follow all of the rules that apply to Advisory Boards.
B. Advisory Boards
Advisory Boards give advice. They may also serve a judicial function, holding them to rules that apply to quasi-judicial bodies. These include the Cable Television Advisory Commission; the Landmarks Board; the Mayor's Commission on Human Rights; the Personnel Board; the Planning and Zoning Commission; the Special Business District Advisory Board; the Springfield/Greene County Environmental Advisory Board; the Traffic Advisory Board; and the Citizens Advisory Committee for Community Development.
Rules that apply to Advisory Boards are as follows: No board member shall:
- Accept money or anything of value in return for your action or inaction as a board member. See Subsection 105.452(1) Revised Statutes of Missouri (2005).
- Use confidential information obtained as a board member to gain financially or to benefit a spouse, a dependent child, any business or business associate or anyone else. See Subsections 105-452(2) and (3), Revised Statutes of Missouri (2005).
- Without prior formal authorization of the board, disclose any confidential information concerning any official or employee, or any other person, or any property or governmental affairs of the board. Springfield City Code Section 2161(c) 2.A.
- Be paid in any way for any service in which the board member tries to influence a decision of the board during his or her term or for another year after the appointment ends. The one year limitation shall not apply to an adversarial proceeding or the preparation or filing of a public document. See Subsections 105.454(4) and (5) Revised Statutes of Missouri (2005).
- Be paid in any way in office or after leaving office to influence any case or action of the board in which he or she participated personally. See Subsections 105.454(5),(6) Revised Statutes of Missouri (2005).
- Discriminate in the performance of their duties against anyone because of their race, creed, color, national origin or ancestry, or because of their sex, age, disability or religion.
- Close a public meeting or public record in violation of law. Meetings should be closed only after being advised to do so by an attorney for the City. See Sections 610.010 Revised Statutes of Missouri (1994), et seq.
- Fail to attend three (3) consecutive meetings without a good reason. Springfield City Code Section 2-34(c)2.B.
- Be a member of a committee or party that promotes the candidacy of anyone seeking City office. See Sections 15.5 and 16.5 of the City Charter.
- Appear on behalf of private interests before the board on which you are a member; appear or represent private interests in any action or proceeding against the interests of the board. Springfield City Code Section 2-34(c)2.C.
- Accept any valuable gift, whether in the form of service, loan, thing, or promise, from any person who to his or her knowledge is interested directly or indirectly in any manner whatsoever in business dealings with the board on which they are a member; or (1) accept any gift, favor or thing of value that may tend to influence you in the discharge of your duties, or (2) grant in the discharge of your duties any improper favor, service or thing of value. Purchase of a meal for a board member shall not be a valuable gift. The prohibition against gifts or favors shall not apply to an occasional nonpecuniary gift, insignificant in value, or an award publicly presented in recognition of public service, or any gift which would have been offered or given if he or she was not a board member. Springfield City Code Section 2161(c)2.D.
C. Quasi-Judicial Boards
Several Boards decide cases and issues in public hearings. Their decisions become final unless they are appealed to a Missouri Court of Law. In some cases, these Quasi-Judicial Boards may actually rule on a matter or advise in other instances.
Boards that act in a judicial role include the Board of Adjustment; the Personnel Board when it considers discipline of an employee; the Planning and Zoning Commission hearing requests for exceptions to the subdivision ordinance; the Building, Housing and Craft Appeals Board; the Building Trades Examination and Certification Board; and the Landmarks Board.
Special rules apply to these boards based on established law and court decisions. Simply, you are required to be unbiased; to decide cases based on facts presented; and to allow due process by notifying and hearing from all those involved. Paragraphs B.1 through B.11 are especially important.
D. Limited Not-for-Profit Corporations
The City Council has created several not-for-profit corporations that serve a special public purpose. These include the Public Building Corporation; the Industrial Development Authority; and the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Each of these corporations is unique in fulfilling certain duties and responsibilities on behalf of the public. Members are acting as officers of the City and are subject to the Missouri Conflict of Interest Rules; discrimination laws, open meeting and public records laws that apply to the City's Advisory Boards. See Paragraphs B.1 through B.7 already explained.
E. Special Purpose Districts or Boards Provided for by State Law
Missouri law allows the Mayor and City Council to appoint members on special purpose districts or agencies, such as the Library Board; Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority; the Public Housing Authority; the Board of Equalization; and the University of Missouri Extension Council.
These boards or agencies get their authority from state law and are not really City boards. They must still follow Missouri laws on conflict of interest, discrimination, along with open meetings and public records laws. See Paragraphs B.1 through B.7.
In addition to these rules, other state laws and rules apply according to the board. Each of these boards has legal advisors to explain other rules that apply.