Click for a PDF of the Board Policies.
Revised: August 30, 2009
The mission of the Pacific Southwest District is to proclaim the positive faith of liberal religion by promoting the Principles and Purposes of the Unitarian Universalist Association, serving as a resource for local congregations and helping to extend influence in the larger community.
The Pacific Southwest District supports member congregations and institutions that transform lives and society and manifest Unitarian Universalist values.
The desired state of the Pacific Southwest District in the future is:
A. Ever-growing congregations are meeting the spiritual and social needs in the congregation and larger community. Among the indicators of success are:
- The total number of Unitarian Universalists in the PSWD is increasing.
- All congregations are actively creating a sense of beloved community among members.
- All congregations have an active strategic plan.
- All congregations are engaged in Lifespan Faith Development.
- All congregations are addressing identified community spiritual needs.
- All congregations are addressing identified community social needs.
- All congregations are addressing identified issues of racism and oppression.
- All congregations are connected with other UU congregations, the PSWD and the UUA.
B. Congregations are generous and financially stable. Among the indicators of success are:
- All congregations are paying their staff in accordance with Fair Compensation guidelines.
- All congregations are supporting the UUA and PSWD at Fair Share levels.
- All congregations regularly donate significant resources to service organizations.
- All congregations are operating with a budget based on their strategic plan.
- All congregations conduct organized campaigns to raise operating, capital and endowment funds.
C. Congregations are served by responsive, inspired, effective and visionary leadership, grounded in UU tradition. Among the indicators of success are:
- All ministers and professional staff are trained to perform their duties.
- All lay leaders are trained to perform their congregational duties.
II. Governance Process
The purpose of the Board of Trustees of the Pacific Southwest District of the Unitarian Universalist Association on behalf of current and future UUs is to ensure that the District achieves its ends and avoids unacceptable actions and situations.
A. Governing Style
The Board will govern in a manner that will:
Promote Unitarian Universalist values Display outward vision rather than internal preoccupation
Encourage diversity in viewpoints
Provide strategies for a mission-focused leadership
Forge a strong governance/Executive Team link that clearly defines Board and Executive Team roles
Reflect collective rather than individual decisions
Hold a future focus (long term) rather than present or past focus Conduct itself in a proactive rather than reactive manner
Be sensitive to the needs of the congregations
1. The Board accepts responsibility for governance of the organization
a. The Board, not the staff, will be responsible for excellence in governing.
b. The Board will be the initiator of policy, not merely a reactor to staff initiatives.
c. The Board will direct, control, and inspire the organization through the careful establishment of broad written policies reflecting the Board’s values and perspectives about ends to be achieved and means to be avoided.
d. The Board’s focus will be on the intended long-term effects outside the organization, not on the administrative or programmatic means of attaining those effects.
2. The Board will cultivate a sense of group responsibility.
a. The Board will allow no officer, individual, or committee of the Board to hinder or be an excuse for not fulfilling Board commitments.
b. The Board will use the expertise of individual members to enhance the ability of the Board as a body rather than to substitute individual judgments for the Board’s values.
3. The Board will enforce upon itself whatever discipline is needed to govern with excellence.
a. Discipline will apply to matters such as attendance, preparation, policy-making principles, respect of roles, and ensuring continuance of governance capability.
b. Continual Board development will include i. Orientation of new Board members in the Board’s governance process. ii. Periodic Board discussion of process improvement.
c. The Board will monitor and discuss the Board’s process and performance at each meeting. Self-monitoring will include comparison of Board activity and discipline to policies in the governance process and Board/Executive Team linkage categories.
B. Duties of the Board
It will be the responsibility of the Board to:
1. Write appropriate policies to meet the District’s Ends
a. The Board will produce written governance policies that, at the broadest levels, address each category of organization decision:
i. Ends: Organizational products, effects, benefits, outcomes, recipients, and their relative worth (what good for which recipients at what cost).
ii. Governance Process: Specification of how the Board conceives, carries out, and monitors its own task.
iii. Board-Executive Team Linkage: How power is delegated and its proper use monitored; the Executive Team role, authority, and accountability.
iv. Executive Team Limitations: constraints on Executive Team authority that establish the prudence and ethics boundaries within which all Executive Team activity and decisions must take place.
b. Establish written norms/values concerning Board tasks and conduct
2. Assure the organization’s effectiveness
a. The Board will produce assurance of Executive Team performance, measured only against ends and Executive Team limitations policies.
b. The Board will measure its effectiveness against the Ends policies.
3. Monitor the financial condition and activities of the district.
4. At the end of each committee of the whole, the committee will draft a report that will be presented to
the Board for inclusion in the minutes.
5. Create and maintain a link with the Camp de Benneville Pines Board of Directors
6. Propose and pass resolutions encouraging actions by other bodies or individuals in consonance with the seven principles of the UUA or discouraging actions against the seven principles, as the Board deems appropriate
C. Duties of the President
It will be the responsibility of the President to:
1. Assure the integrity and fulfillment of the Board’s Role in accordance with its governing process
policies and with those rules legitimately imposed upon it from outside the organization by:
a. Communicating with the Executive Team
b. Fostering fair, open deliberations
c. Ensuring that the agenda deals only with the Board’s Role
2. Represent the Board to the member congregations and to outside parties
3. Make decisions that fall within topics, policies on Governance Process, and Board Executive Team
linkage, except where the Board specifically delegates portions of this authority to others. The President is authorized to use any reasonable interpretation of the provisions in these policies.
a. The President is empowered to chair Board meetings, with all the commonly accepted power of that position (for example, ruling, recognizing).
b. The President has no authority to make decisions about policies created by the Board within Ends and Executive Team Limitations policy areas. Therefore, the President has no authority to supervise or direct the Executive Team.
c. The President may represent the Board to outside parties in announcing Board-stated positions and in stating chair decisions and interpretations within the area delegated to her or him.
d. The President may delegate this authority but remains accountable for its use.
D. Agenda Planning
To accomplish its job products with a governance style consistent with Board policies, the Board will follow an annual agenda that (1) completes re-exploration of Ends policies annually and (2) continually improves Board performance through Board education and enriched input and deliberation.
1. The cycle will start with the Board’s development of its agenda for the next year.
a. Consultations with selected groups in the ownership or other methods of gaining ownership input will be determined and arranged in the first quarter, to be held during the balance of the year.
b. Governance education and education related to Ends determinations (for example, presentations by futurists, demographers, advocacy groups, and staff) will be arranged in the first quarter, to be held during the balance of the year.
2. The cycle will conclude each year on the last day of June so that administrative planning and budgeting can be based on accomplishing a one-year’s segment of the Board’s most recent statement of Ends.
3. Throughout the year, the Board will attend to consent agenda items as expeditiously as possible. 4. Executive Team monitoring will be included on the agenda.
E. Board Owner Linkage
Owners are the congregation’s representatives or their designees (board presidents, ministers and religious educators). The purpose of board-owner linkage is to facilitate the Board’s ability to articulate a vision for the District that the owners are able to recognize and support. The responsibility of the Board is to provide the link between the District leadership and the owners.
1. The Board will meet with the owners several times per year, including District Assembly.
2. The Board will use available technology to link with owners regularly.
3. The Board will attempt to link with owners representing all congregations by the above means within a two year cycle.
4. Information provided by owners that relates to district policies shall be discussed by the Board during regular business meetings.
5. Information provided by owners that relates to district operations shall be provided to the Executive Team as appropriate.
F. Code of Conduct
The Board commits itself to:
Act in a manner that reflects UU values and is ethical and lawful
Act in a manner that is prudent and responsible and expeditious, efficient and effective
Act with proper use of authority
Act with proper attention to responsibility
Act in a manner that is respectful of all even when being critical of or disagreeing with other points of view
1. Members must represent unconflicted loyalty to the interests of the ownership. The accountability
supersedes any conflicting loyalty such as that to advocacy or interest groups and membership on other
Boards or staffs. It also supersedes the personal interest of any Board member acting as a consumer of
the organization’s services.
2. Members must avoid conflict of interest with respect to their fiduciary responsibility.
3. Board members may not attempt to exercise individual authority over the organization except as
explicitly set forth in Board policies.
a. Members’ interaction with the Executive Team or with staff must recognize the lack of authority
vested in individuals except when explicitly Board authorized.
b. Members’ interactions with the public, press, or other entities must recognize the same limitation and the inability of any Board member to speak for the Board except to repeat explicitly statedBoard decisions.
c. Members will give no consequence or voice to individual judgments of Executive Team or staff
4. Members will respect the confidentiality appropriate to issues of a sensitive nature.
G. Board Task Forces
When used, Board task forces should never:
1. Threaten the wholeness of the Board
a. Board task forces may not speak or act for the Board except when formally given such authority for specific and time-limited purposes.
b. Board task forces are to avoid over-identification with organizational parts rather than the whole.
2. Interfere with the delegation of authority to the Executive Team
a. Board task forces are to help the Board do its job, never to help or advise staff.
b. Board task forces cannot exercise authority over staff.
H. Cost of Governance
Because poor governance costs more than learning to govern well, the Board will invest in its governance
capacity and will promote excellence by:
1. Ensuring that Board skills, methods and supports will be sufficient to assure governing excellence
a. Training and retraining will be used liberally to orient new members and candidates for membership, as well as to maintain and increase existing member skills and understandings.
b. Outside monitoring assistance will be arranged so that the Board can exercise confident control over organizational performance. This includes but is not limited to fiscal audit.
c. Outreach mechanisms will be used as needed to ensure the Board’s ability to listen to owner
viewpoints and values.
2. Providing reasonable financial assistance for transportation/hotels as needed to ensure broad
3. Providing training for new trustees and officers
4. Incurring costs in a prudent manner
III. Board Executive Team Linkage
The Board’s sole official connection to the operational organization, its achievement and conduct will be through the Executive Team. When there is a conflict of policies, programs, or priorities between the PSWD Board and the UUA, the Board shall consult with the UUA. Pending the resolution of the conflict, the Executive Team shall take such action as the PSWD Board directs.
A. Unity of Control
1. Only decisions of the Board, acting as a body, which are formally communicated by the chair or
authorized representative are binding on the Executive Team.
a. Decisions or instructions of individual Board members, officers, or committees are not binding on the Executive Team except in rare instances when the Board has specifically authorized such
exercise of authority.
b. In the case of Board members or committees requesting information or assistance without Board authorization, the Executive Team can refuse such requests that require, in the Executive Team’s opinion, a material amount of staff time or funds, or are disruptive.
B. Accountability of the Executive Team
Recognizing that the organization’s performance is exclusively from the Executive Team’s performance, the
Executive Team is the Board’s only link to operational achievement and conduct.
1. The Board will refrain from evaluating, either formally or informally, any staff other than the Executive Team.
2. The Board will view Executive Team performance as identical to organizational performance, so that
the organizational accomplishment of Board-stated Ends and avoidance of Board-proscribed means will be viewed as successful Executive Team performance.
C. Delegation to the Executive Team
The Board will instruct the Executive Team through written policies that describe the organization’s Ends to be achieved and organizational situations and actions to be avoided, allowing the Executive Team reasonable interpretation of these policies.
1. The Board will develop policies instructing the Executive Team to achieve certain results for the
congregations of the District within the budget. These are the Ends policies.
2. The Board will develop policies that limit the latitude the Executive Team may exercise in choosing the organizational means. These are Executive Team Limitation policies.
3. As long as the Executive Team uses any reasonable interpretation of the Board’s Ends and Executive
Team Limitations policies, the Executive Team is authorized to establish all further policies, make all
decisions, and take all actions that flow from these initial policies.
4. The Board may change its Ends and Executive Team Limitations policies, thereby shifting the boundary between Board and Executive Team domains, but as long as a policy is in place, the Board will respect and support the Executive Team’s choices.
5. Given that the Executive Team is the Board’s only link to operational activity, Board requests for
services from the staff will only be made through the Executive Team.
D. Monitoring Performance of the Executive Team
There will be systematic and rigorous monitoring of Executive Team job performance against Ends and
Limitations as set forth in the policies of the Board. Monitoring will be scheduled and focused and will be the basis for the annual evaluation to be submitted to the UUA and the UUA District Services renewal contract.
1. Monitoring is simply to determine the degree to which Board policies are being met. Data that do not do this will not be considered to be monitoring data.
2. The Board will acquire monitoring data by one or more of three methods:
a. By internal report, in which the Executive Team discloses compliance information to the Board.
b. By external report, in which a disinterested third party selected by the Board assesses compliance with Board policies.
c. By direct Board inspection, in which a designated member or members of the Board assess compliance with the appropriate policy criteria.
3. In every case, the standard for compliance shall be any reasonable Executive Team interpretation of the Board policy being monitored.
4. Monitoring Reports shall be submitted in a standardized format consisting of six sections:
c. Compliance Statement
d. Resolution (required if not in compliance)
e. Commentary (optional)
f. Attachments (as required)