Board of Directors Procedures and Guidelines

Table Of Contents


Meetings

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Duties and Qualifications of Officers

President

The President leads the Board in governing, acts as the de-facto CEO of the organization, and partners with leadership to accomplish the VFD’s mission and goals. The President conducts Board meetings and ensures that the Board’s actions are implemented and monitored. The president reviews reports and records, and directs Board members in their roles.

Key Responsibilities

  • Define and facilitate meeting agenda
  • Encourage focused, strategic discussion and decisions
  • Appoint Board committees and task forces
  • Serve as ex-officio member of all committees
  • Cultivate a strong, working partnership with the Chief
    • Understand and support a clear delineation between the Chief’s operational management role and the board’s governance role
  • Play a leadership role in community relations
    • Cultivate relationships with key community stakeholders
    • Speak for the VFD on public matters

Qualifications

  • Strong knowledge of the VFD’s work
  • Demonstrated commitment to exceptional board practices
  • Experience in group facilitation, encouraging open communication discussion
  • Ability to devote adequate time to board responsibilities

Vice President

The Vice President is prepared at all times to assume the role of Board President if necessary. The Vice President, whose knowledge and commitment mirrors that of the President, may serve in the President’s place for Board activities and in the spokesperson capacity.

Key Responsibilities

  • Attend all Board meetings, and lead them the President is absent
  • Support the President as needed by participating in strategic discussions.

Qualifications

  • Strong understanding of the VFD’s mission and the Board’s governance role
  • Willingness to assume leadership position when necessary
  • Time to devote to assisting the President

Secretary

The Secretary prepares and maintains Board records and ensures their accuracy and security. The secretary takes minutes at Board meetings, submits them for approval, and files the approved minutes. The Secretary is prepared to assume the leadership role when the President and Vice President are unavailable.

Key Responsibilities

  • Take Board meeting minutes and submit them for approval
  • Count any votes taken during board meetings
  • Distribute necessary background information on agenda items in advance of meetings
  • Ensure that all notices are given in accordance with the provisions of the bylaws or as required by law

Qualifications

  • Familiarity with board practices
  • Organized, keen attention to detail

Treasurer

The Treasurer serves as the financial officer and applies a knowledge of accounting to monitor finances, prepare financial reports, and summarize these reports for the board. The treasurer works with other Directors to develop financial plans and prepare the organization’s budget. The treasurer reviews the annual audit, prepares and submits tax forms, and presents the financial material to the board.

Key Responsibilities

  • Prepare the monthly financial report and identify any problems
  • Answer any questions from board related to financial matters
  • Interact with accountants, auditors, and bankers on Board finances
  • Prepare and file all necessary reports, tax returns, etc. with the appropriate entities
  • Assist the Board in preparing the annual budget
  • Review the annual audit
  • Ensure that assets are protected and invested according to organizational policy

Qualifications

  • Understanding of financial accounting for nonprofit organizations
  • Knowledge of organization’s record keeping, accounting systems, and financial reports
  • Ability and willingness to work with other financial professionals as necessary.

Budget

As part of its overall fiduciary responsibilities and in order to provide in advance for all expected and authorized spending, the SBVFD Board of Directors will produce an annual budget to be finalized and approved no later than December for the upcoming calendar year. The annual budget should be adequate to for all normal expenses while also providing for reasonable upgrades and improvements. Though unpredictable circumstances can arise at any time, it will be the policy of the Board that spending outside the established budget is to be avoided as much as possible.

Framework

The Board has agreed that the budget will broken down into general categories of expenditure, and that these fall into two main types:

Overhead

These categories are generally stable and predictable year-over-year and represent the “cost of doing business”. They fall primarily under the purview of the Treasurer:

  • Administrative – Dues, awards (including the annual scholarship), office expenses, bank charges, etc.
  • Fuel – For use in the trucks and other apparatus.
  • Insurance
  • Utilities – Electricity, propane, water, and trash service.

Operational

These categories are more dynamic in nature and include expenses related directly to the execution of the VFD’s mission. They fall primarily under the purview of the Chief and his officers:

  • Apparatus – Maintenance and operation of vehicles and their onboard specialty equipment.
  • Communication – Radios, pagers, phones, and all computer and Internet expenses.
  • EMS – Equipment and supplies required by the First Responder Organization.
  • Gear – Clothing and other PPE worn and carried by active members in the course of duty.
  • Maintenance – Facility and other non-apparatus upkeep and repair.
  • Training – Classes and materials used in education and drills.

Timeline

October

The board will remind all parties – specifically the Treasurer and the Chief – that budget analysis and approval will begin. Department plans and goals for the upcoming year will be discussed, along with a general review of factors that may affect both income and spending. As the body elected to carry out the business of the Department, the Board will establish and clearly articulate overall spending guidelines and strategic goals.

The Chief and the Treasurer will consult and develop a recommended budget, with each primarily responsible for their assigned spending categories. This should include requesting any final input from Officers and others regarding needs and desires for the upcoming year. The prior year budget will form the baseline, with actual surpluses and shortfalls in each category scrutinized and thoughtful adjustments made.

November

The Treasurer and Chief will present the recommended budget to the rest of the Board for discussion and approval. Where the dollar amounts differ from the prior year or the established norms, the Treasurer and the Chief should be prepared with further details and background information to support their recommendations.

If there seems to be a consensus, the Board President may call for a vote to approve the recommended budget immediately. Otherwise, specific items for further review will be stated and requests for alteration or information made. Review and action will be added to the agenda for the December meeting.

December

If not approved in November, the revised budget recommendations and supporting information will be presented to the Board for consideration. Through reasonable discussion and deliberation, the Board will approve a final budget at the December meeting.

Spending and Review

Once the budget is established, it is then up to the responsible parties (the Treasurer, the Chief and his Officers, etc.) to use the funds as specified for the day-to-day running of the Department without the need for undue further scrutiny. The Treasurer’s monthly budget report to the Board will provide an overview, and of course the Board may at any time request further details or provide specific instructions.

As the administrative lead on general financial matters, the Board Treasurer will continuously evaluate and report on factors that may affect Overhead expenditures. As the operational head of the Department, and in conjunction with his-or-her Officers, the Chief will continuously evaluate and report on factors that may affect Operational expenditures. Either may make requests to the Board for budget re-distributions.

Any Board member may move for expenditures that are outside the approved budget. Such requests should only be made where the need is urgent or extraordinary, and could not have been reasonably anticipated during the budget process. The request should be fully researched and documented, with clear justification of the importance and urgency.