SBM Board member Duties and Expectations
What to expect as an SBM Board Member
The Board of Directors meet six (6) times/year to review policies, financial documents, and the overall administration of the Fire Department as presented by the SBM Fire Chief. The Fire Chief is the Chief Executive Officer of the Department and is the only one who directly reports to the Board.
The Board and the Fire Chief collaboratively prepare annual budgets to present to the three City Councils for approval and inclusion in their respective annual budgets. An engaged and informed Board will provide insight and feedback on departmental matters and serves in an advisory capacity to the Chief for how the Fire Department meets its mission and goals.
The primary role of a Board Member is to share input and perspectives at Board Meetings based upon available information and acquired experiences in an on-going effort to maintain the Department as an effective and efficient provider of safety services to the contracted area. Additionally, Board Members should nurture and maintain relations with the entities they represent to bring an added dynamic to Board Meetings and topics.
SBM’s greatest asset is its people, specifically the 55+ volunteers who provide life-saving response, service, and safety to the area on evenings, weekends, and holidays. SBM’s 13 full-time staff members are dedicated to supporting the volunteer crew while providing daytime response to the service area. Without the volunteer base, SBM would be a dramatically different department, especially financially.
Evening Board Meetings start at 5:45pm on Tuesdays. Meetings generally last over two hours. The budget preparation meeting lasts for over three hours. The Daytime Board Meeting with FT staff starts at 11 :30am on a Wednesday and takes place in mid-Summer.
The length of Board Meetings will hinge upon the preparedness of the attendees. Monthly financial information is shared with the Board. Questions and clarification of each month’s financials do not need to await a Board Meeting. The fiduciary duties of the Board are well served with timely financial reviews.
Agenda items generally include background detail that phone calls, e-mails to the Fire Chief, and internet searches can clarify prior to Board discussions.
Conflicts of interest with SBM must be publicly disclosed at the Member’s initial Board Meeting or at the next available Board Meeting should circumstances arise during a member’s term.
The Fire Chief and Board President, or their designees, are the official media spokespersons for the Fire Department and the Board of Directors respectively.
Infrequent personnel or legal matters brought before the Board are generally the only topics that need to remain confidential. A closed meeting will be called for specific confidential issues.
Finally, Board Members are expected to attend every Board Meeting during their term. The entities represented by each Member depend on Board attendance. The Fire Chief provides Board Member annual attendance reports to each of the representative entities.
There are many requirements of a position on the SBMFD Board of Directors, primarily a collaborative spirit and a desire to serve the community. Traditionally, the SBMFD Board of Directors provides fiscal oversight on a quarterly basis and approve annual budget requests before being sent to the member cities. Additionally, the Board discusses and ratifies SBMFD management decisions, mostly policies and items affecting the volunteer group of employees. To accomplish these objectives the following knowledge, skills, and abilities are required and/or desired.
- Must be a resident of, or own a business in, the community being represented (Blaine, Spring Lake Park, or Mounds View)
- Follow the selection process of the community being represented (e.g., application, Council Appointment, etc.)
- Attend six meetings a year, four quarterly, one annual meeting (March), one budget meeting (June)
- Be competent and able to communicate through various forms, specifically electronically via email.
- Pass a background check conducted by the SBMFD
- Possess a basic understanding of corporate/municipal financial procedures.
- Be comfortable in operating within a dynamic, fast paced, and collaborative environment.
- Previous corporate or municipal leadership experience
- Accounting experience
- Experience leading organizational change.
Additional Membership details:
- Directors are appointed for a three-year term and may be appointed for a second consecutive term of three years.
- Directors receive an annual stipend from the SBMFD.
- Directors are required to publicly disclose any conflicts of interest with the SBMFD at the initial board meeting. If an issue should arise during a Member’s term, they shall disclose it at the next available Board Meeting.