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I.B. Board Responsibilities, Powers & Duties

I.B.1. Board Governance

I.B.1.01 - General

The Lone Star College Board of Trustees (referenced in this Section 1 as the “Board”) is responsible for ensuring that the Lone Star College System (referenced in this Section 1 as “System”) is an integral part of their communities and serve their ever-changing needs. Board members are accountable to the community for the performance and welfare of the Lone Star College System. To ensure effectiveness, the Board should function as a cohesive group to articulate and represent a balanced System and public interest, establish a climate for learning and monitor the effectiveness of the System. The Board does not do the work of the System; rather it establishes vision for the work through the policies it sets. This Policy Section I.B.1 on Board Governance shall be in addition to, but not in conflict with any other subsection within Section I entitled Board Policy Governance and Board of Trustees.

I.B.1.02 - Fulfill Responsibilities

The Board shall, to the best of its collective and individual ability, meet its responsibilities and duties set forth in Board Policy. (See Policy Section I - Governance and Board of Trustees B. 2.02 and B.2.03.)

I.B.1.03 - Adhere to Ethical Standards

  1. Board members will maintain the highest ethical standards, abiding by Board policies with respect to ethics (Policy Section I - Governance and Board of Trustees B.3.01) and conflicts of interest (Policy Section I - Governance and Board of Trustees B.4.01 et. seq.). Board members serve in a fiduciary capacity and will conduct all matters with this standard in mind. A Board member's loyalty is to the entire System rather than to any part or constituency within it or in the community at large. No Board member shall make any request or demand for action that violates any law, the written policies, rules, or procedures of the Board or the System. As a fiduciary, and subject to the Texas law on the use or misuse of official System Information, Board members shall maintain strict confidentiality of information presented and discussed with the Board during its Closed Session Board Meetings and Board Committee Meetings; and of all information proprietary and belonging to the System, or information about the System that is not within the public domain. A violation and misuse by any Board member may be (i) considered Official Misconduct and subject to removal in accordance with Policy Section I C.3.04, and/or (ii) an Abuse of Office and subject to prosecution under Chapter 39 of the Texas Penal Code.
  2. Board members do not receive any remuneration or emolument of office, but are entitled to reimbursement for their actual expenses incurred in performing their duties, to the extent authorized and permitted by the Board. Any expenses incurred by a Board member in performing their duties shall be fiscally conservative and understood to be subject to the Texas Public Information Act.
  3. Board members should, when traveling via air, have the System pay the cost (or be reimbursed for the cost), of such coach fare; when out-of-town on the System's business, the System should pay a Board member's reasonable expense for lodging, meals and transportation costs thereto. All reimbursable expenses to Board members shall be documented to the System in accordance with the System's requirements.

I.B.1.04 - Act as a Unit

The Board governs as a unit, with one voice. This principle means that individual Board members have authority only when they are acting as a Board. They have no power to act on their own or to direct System employees or operations. The power of governance is expressed through one voice. As individuals, Board members make no commitments on behalf of the Board to constituents, nor do they criticize or work against Board decisions.

I.B.1.05 - Represent the Common Good

The Board exists to represent a balance between the System and the general public. They are responsible for balancing and integrating the wide variety of interests and needs into policies that benefit the common good and the future of the System. Board members should learn as much as they can about the communities they serve. They gain this knowledge by studying demographic, economic and social trends, by being aware of issues facing the community. They use what they learn in acting as a unit, with one voice in making decisions that respond to System and community interests, needs and values.

I.B.1.06 - Set the Policy Direction

The Board establishes policies that provide direction and guidance to the Chancellor and other System officers. A major Board responsibility is to define and uphold a vision and mission that clearly reflects student and community expectations. The Board should think strategically, concentrate on priority items and focus on the future learning needs of their communities. Board members engage in exciting, creative, thoughtful discussions as they explore the future and envision what they want their communities to be. Policies should set standards for quality, ethics and prudence in System operations.

I.B.1.07 - Employ, Evaluate and Support the Chancellor

Successful governance depends on a good relationship between the Board and the Chancellor. The Chancellor is the single most influential person in establishing Lone Star College System as the premier College System in the Country. Therefore selecting, evaluating and supporting the Chancellor are among the Board's most important responsibilities. The Chancellor and Board function best as a partnership. The Chancellor implements Board policies, while the Board depends on the Chancellor for guidance and educational leadership. This relationship works best when there are clear, mutually agreed-on expectations and role descriptions. The partnership thrives on open communication, confidence, trust, and support.

I.B.1.08 - Create a Positive Climate

The Board sets the tone for the entire System. Through their behavior and policies, the Board establishes a climate in which learning is valued, professional growth is enhanced, and the most important goals are student success and adding value to the community. The Board creates a positive climate when it looks to the future, acts with integrity, supports risk-taking, and challenges the Chancellor and System officers to strive for excellence.

I.B.1.09 - Monitor Performance

The Board is responsible for holding the Chancellor accountable for serving current and future community learning needs. The Board adopts the System's direction and broad goals as policy, and then monitors the progress made toward those goals through periodic reports or other methods. The Board also monitors adherence to policies for programs, personnel, and fiscal and asset management. They receive periodic reports from System officers and review reports by and for external agencies, such as accreditation, audit, and state and federal accountability reports. All monitoring processes culminate in the evaluation of the Chancellor as the System leader. The Board's ability to monitor is enhanced when it defines the criteria and standards to be used well in advance of when reports are required, so that the Chancellor and staff are clear about what is expected.

I.B.1.10 - Support and Be Advocates for the System

Board members are advocates and protectors of the System. They promote the System in the community, and seek support for the college from local, state, and national policymakers. They protect the System's ability to fulfill its mission and promise to their communities.

I.B.1.11 - Public Responsibility

The Board is vested with the general supervision of the System's funds, recognizes a vital and crucial institutional responsibility to those with whom it has financial transactions. To the end that the financial integrity of the System shall always remain inviolate, the Board pledges that it will maintain constant vigil over its funds through regular review and periodic reports, including but not limited to each Board member's efficient personal use of funds for business purposes and while attending Board functions and Board professional development opportunities. No intrusion upon this commitment will be tolerated.

I.B.1.12 - Duties and Requirements of Board Officers

In addition to any duties set forth in Board Policy (Policy Section I - Governance and Board of Trustees D.1) Officers of the Board shall act as follows:

I.B.1.12.1 - The Board Chair

Shall preside at all regular and special meetings of the Board, sign all contracts duly authorized by Board policy, and appoint all committees not otherwise provided for, of which he and the Chancellor shall be ex-officio members. The Board Chair is the only person authorized to speak for the Board, except in instances where this authority is delegated by the Board Chair. The Chair shall have the right and power to vote on all issues brought before the Board. Additionally, the Chair shall have the authority to prepare or assist in the preparation of all agendas used for its meetings.

I.B.1.12.2 - The Board Vice-Chair

Shall preside in the absence of the Board Chair and is vested with the same power and duties as the Board Chair in those instances.

I.B.1.12.3 - The Board Secretary

Shall keep the official seal; maintain records of all meetings and other official actions, and correspondence of the Board.

I.B.1.12.4 - The Assistant Secretary

Shall assume the duties of the secretary in the absence of the secretary.

I.B.1.13 - Self-Evaluation

At least annually, the Board shall perform a self-evaluation of its performance, in the following categories and consider the issues mentioned below.

I.B.1.13.1 - Board Organization

  1. The Board operates as a unit.
  2. Board members uphold the final majority decision of the Board.
  3. The Board considers and respects minority opinions.
  4. Board members understand that they have no legal authority outside Board meetings.
  5. Board members represent Board policy in responding to public and employee questions.
  6. Board members make decisions after thorough discussion and exploration of many perspectives.
  7. The Board's decisions are independent of all partisan bias.
  8. Board meetings are conducted in an orderly, efficient manner that allows for sufficient discussion.
  9. The meeting agendas are relevant to the work of the Board.
  10. The Board has adequate input into the planning of meeting agendas.
  11. Meeting agenda items contain sufficient background information and recommendations for the Board.
  12. Closed sessions are held as required and/or permitted by Texas law.
  13. Board officer responsibilities are clear.
  14. Board officer responsibilities are appropriate for the work of the Board.
  15. Board committees have clear and appropriate responsibilities.
  16. Board committees effectively assist the Board to do its work.
  17. The Board's recruitment and selection processes reflect well on the system.
  18. The Board's recruitment and selection processes attract excellent candidates.

I.B.1.13.2 - Policy Role

  1. The Board understands that the primary function of the Board is to establish the policies by which the System is to be administered.
  2. Board members understand and support the concept that Board policy is the primary voice of the Board.
  3. The Board periodically reviews and evaluates its policies.
  4. The Board assures a systematic, comprehensive review of Board policies.
  5. The Board focuses on policy in Board discussions, not administrative matters.
  6. The Board has clarified the difference between its policy role and the roles of the Chancellor and staff.
  7. The Board policy manual is current, relevant, and useful.
  8. Policy recommendations contain adequate information and are presented so that sufficient time is allowed for study and discussion.
  9. The policy-making process is clear, public (except as prohibited by law), and inclusive.
  10. The Board, through the Chancellor, seeks advice and recommendations from faculty, staff, and students in development of educational policy.
  11. The Board openly discusses issues and seeks the views of college constituents.

I.B.1.13.3 - Community Relations

  1. The Board is committed to protecting the public interest.
  2. The Board effectively represents the "voice" of the community.
  3. The Board has determined what benefits the community should derive from the System.
  4. Board members act on behalf of the entire community.
  5. The Board is knowledgeable about community and regional needs and expectations.
  6. The Board has strategies for involving the community in discussion of issues that impact the community.
  7. Board members maintain good relationships with community leaders.
  8. The Board has protocols for dealing with the citizens and the media.
  9. Board members keep the Chancellor informed of community contacts.
  10. The Board encourages active cooperation by citizens, organizations, and the media.
  11. The Board provides assistance to the Chancellor in developing educational partnerships with community agencies, businesses and local government, where appropriate.

I.B.1.13.4 - Policy Direction

  1. The Board is knowledgeable about the mission and purposes of the institution.
  2. The Board is appropriately involved in defining the vision, mission and goals.
  3. The vision and goals of the institution adequately address community needs.
  4. The Board has ensured that the mission and goals are sufficiently responsive to the community's current and future needs.
  5. The Board bases its decisions in terms of what is best for students and the community.
  6. The Board spends sufficient time discussing the future direction of the System.
  7. The Board regularly reviews the mission and purposes of the institution.
  8. The Board is knowledgeable about the educational programs that implement the mission of the System.
  9. The Board is involved in setting expectations for broad student learning outcomes.
  10. The Board maintains a future-oriented, visionary focus in Board discussions.
  11. The Board annually sets annual priorities in conjunction with the Chancellor.
  12. The Board requires long-range strategic planning.
  13. The Board is appropriately involved in the planning process.
  14. The Board understands the educational and legal context in which planning occurs.
  15. The Board is familiar with the general strategic and master plans of the institution.
  16. The Board encourages partnerships and other cooperative agreements with business, government, community agencies, and other educational institutions.

I.B.1.13.5 - Board-Chancellor Relations

  1. The Board and Chancellor have a positive, cooperative relationship.
  2. A climate of mutual trust and respect exists between the Board and Chancellor.
  3. The Board sets clear expectations for the Chancellor.
  4. The Chancellor's job description is current and accurate.
  5. The Board provides a high level of support to the Chancellor.
  6. The Board maintains open communication with the Chancellor.
  7. Board members are available to the Chancellor for support and feedback.
  8. The Board effectively evaluates the Chancellor.
  9. The Board has clear protocols for communicating with staff that include the Chancellor.
  10. The Board clearly delegates the administration of the System to the Chancellor.
  11. Board members keep the Chancellor informed about contacts with the community and staff.
  12. Board members respect the role of the Chancellor as the link between the Board and staff.
  13. The Board encourages the professional growth of the Chancellor.
  14. The Board and Chancellor work cooperatively to maintain a broad perspective.

I.B.1.13.6 - Standards for Lone Star College System Operations

  1. The Board is knowledgeable about the educational programs and services of the System.
  2. The Board understands the fiscal condition of the organization.
  3. The Board has established parameters for System budget planning.
  4. The Board requires and is involved in long-range fiscal planning.
  5. The Board understands the budget document.
  6. The Board assures that the budget reflects System priorities in the mission and goals.
  7. The Board has a long-range facilities plan.
  8. Board policies adequately address parameters for facilities maintenance and appearance.
  9. Board policies adequately address parameters regarding safety and security.
  10. Board policies adequately address parameters for investments and management of assets.
  11. Board policies adequately address parameters for fiscal management that meet audit standards.
  12. The Board has policies that require fair and equitable employment processes.
  13. The Board is committed to equal opportunity.
  14. The Board has policies that require fair employee due process and grievance procedures that are permissible under state and/or federal law.
  15. The Board has policies that require adequate participation in decision-making within the institution.

I.B.1.13.7 – Institutional Performance

Through the Chancellor, the Board has a process for ensuring the effectiveness of:

  1. All educational programs
  2. Fulfilling the System mission
  3. Student learning outcomes and success of all students
  4. The System influence within the community
  5. The System accreditation process
  6. State and federal accountability requirements and reports
  7. Implementation of all Board policies       

I.B.1.13.8 - Board Leadership

  1. The Board has a clear description of Board roles and responsibilities.
  2. The Board understands its roles and responsibilities.
  3. The Board adheres to its roles and responsibilities.
  4. The Board understands and adheres to its legal responsibilities.
  5. The Board adheres to a code of ethics or standards of practice.
  6. Board members treat one another with respect.
  7. Board members work together as a team to accomplish the work of the Board.
  8. Board members are prepared for Board meetings.
  9. The Board accommodates the differences of opinion that arise during debates of issues.
  10. The Board bases its decisions upon all available facts in each situation.
  11. Board members avoid conflicts of interest and the perception of conflicts of interest.
  12. Board members may contribute single interest or their own professional perspectives to discussions, but always vote on behalf of the community as a whole.
  13. Once a decision is made, Board members cease debate and uphold the decision of the Board.
  14. The Board maintains confidentiality of privileged information.
  15. The Board works together in a spirit of harmony and cooperation.
  16. Through its behavior, the Board has set a positive example for the Chancellor and other employees.
  17. The Board actively encourages creativity and innovation.
  18. The Board is willing to take a stand for what it believes is right for students and the community.
  19. The Board understands the political implications of its actions.
  20. The Board works to build positive relationships with all stakeholders.
  21. The Board considers the political ramifications of its decisions.

I.B.1.13.9 - Advocating for the Lone Star College System

  1. Board members are knowledgeable about the System's history, mission, and values.
  2. The Board recognizes positive accomplishments of the System. Board members actively support the mission and values of the System.
  3. Board members speak positively about the institution in the community.
  4. Board members support the Systems by attending various events.
  5. The Board plays a leadership role in the local community.
  6. Board members participate in community activities as representatives of the System.
  7. The Board helps educate the local community about community college needs and issues.
  8. Board members are knowledgeable about state laws and regulations.
  9. Board members are knowledgeable about state and national educational policy issues.
  10. The Board advocates System interests to state and national agencies and legislators.
  11. The Board actively seeks political and civic support for the System.
  12. The Board works to secure adequate public funding.
  13. The Board actively supports the Systems' foundation and fundraising efforts.
  14. The Board understands and protects the academic freedom of the faculty and administrators.
  15. The Board supports the state and national community college trustee associations.

I.B.1.13.10 - Board Education

  1. Candidates for the Board are educated about Board responsibilities and the college.
  2. New members receive an orientation to the Board and the institution.
  3. The Board strives to become increasingly more effective.
  4. Board members are engaged in a continuous process of training and development.
  5. The Board has an ongoing program of Board development.
  6. Board members are knowledgeable about the roles and responsibilities of trusteeship.
  7. The Board is knowledgeable about state and national laws and issues related to community colleges.
  8. The Board is knowledgeable about major social and economic trends and issues that affect the institution.
  9. The Board adequately studies issues prior to Board action.
  10. The information provided to the Board is appropriate and relevant.
  11. The information requested by and provided to Board members does not put an undue burden on staff.
  12. Sufficient resources are allocated for Board members to attend conferences.
  13. Board members are up-to-date on community colleges' issues through reading and attendance at conferences.
  14. Board members devote time, thought, and study to the duties and responsibilities of a community college Board member.
  15. The Board periodically evaluates itself.
  16. The Board self-evaluation process provides useful information on Board performance.

I.B.1.13.11 - Board Goals

One of the outcomes of a self-evaluation is the establishment of Board goals for the following year. The self-evaluation process may include a request that the Board assess how well the goals set in the prior evaluation were achieved.

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on May 5, 2011

I.B.2.  Responsibilities, Powers and Duties

I.B.2.01 - Powers Reserved

All authority not vested by the laws of the state in the Coordinating Board or in the Central Education Agency shall be reserved and retained locally in the College System or in the Board, as provided by applicable law – Education Code, Sec. 130.002.

I.B.2.02 - Responsibilities

The Board, being composed of lay members, shall exercise the traditional and time-honored role as it has evolved in the United States, and shall constitute the keystone of the governance structure. In this regard, the Board:

  1. Is expected to preserve institutional independence and to defend its right to manage its own affairs through its chosen administrators and employees.
  2. Shall enhance the public image of the College(s) under its governance.
  3. Shall interpret the community to the campus and interpret the campus to the community.
  4. Shall nurture the College(s) under its governance to the end that it achieves its full potential within its role and mission.
  5. Shall insist on clarity of focus and mission of the College(s) under its governance.

I.B.2.03 - Powers and Duties

The Board shall have specific powers and duties imposed by statutes of the State. The Board has the legal power and duty to:

  1. Govern - Be governed in the establishment, management, and control of the System by the general laws governing the establishment, management and control of public community colleges insofar as the general law is applicable.

    Have the exclusive power and duty to govern and oversee the management of the System.

  2. Set and collect tuition and fees – Set and collect any amount of tuition, rentals, rates, charges, or fees the Board considers necessary for the efficient operation of the System, within the requirements of Section 54.051(n) of the Education Code. The Board may set a different tuition rate for each program, course, or course level offered by the System, including a program, course, or course level to which a provision of Section 54.051 applies, as the Board considers appropriate to reflect course costs or to promote efficiency or another rational purpose.
  3. Provide Direction - Provide policy direction for the System and adopt such rules, regulations and bylaws as the Board deems advisable.
  4. Establish Goals - Establish goals consistent with the System’s role and mission.
  5. Levy Taxes - Levy and collect taxes and issue bonds.
  6. Assess and Collect Taxes - Provide for assessing and collecting of taxes.
  7. Adopt Annual Budget - The Board shall approve an itemized current operating budget on or before September 1 of each year.
  8. Conduct Annual Audit - Have the accounts audited in accordance with the approved financial reporting system.
  9. Submit Annual Reports - Submit the required annual reports to the Governor, Comptroller, State Treasurer, State Auditor, and Legislative Budget Board.
  10. Receive Bequests and Gifts - All bequests and gifts shall be received and accepted by the Lone Star College System Foundation for and in behalf of the Board and/or System. The Chancellor, or designee, shall report to the Board on a quarterly basis as to all requests and gifts received.
  11. Establish Endowment Fund - Establish an endowment fund outside the state treasury in a depository selected by the Board.
  12. Select Depository - Select a depository for the System Funds.
  13. Order Elections - Order elections as required by law.
  14. Exercise Eminent Domain - Exercise the right of eminent domain to acquire property.
  15. Appoint Chancellor - Appoint the Chancellor, evaluate the Chancellor, and assist the Chancellor in the achievement of performance goals.

    Give public notice of the name or names of the finalists being considered for the position of Chancellor at least 21 days prior to the meeting at which final action or vote is to be taken on the employment of the individual.

  16. Employ Personnel - Appoint or employ agents, employees, and officials as deemed necessary or advisable to carry out any power, duty, or function of the Board; employ a dean, or other administrative officer; upon the Chancellor’s recommendation, employ faculty and other employees of the System.
  17. Pass Resolutions or Orders - Proceed by and through resolutions or orders adopted or passed by the Board. The affirmative vote of a majority of all Board members shall be required to adopt or pass a resolution or order.
  18. Fix and Collect Rentals, Rates and Charges - Be authorized to fix and collect rentals, rates, charges or fees, including student union fees from students and others for the occupancy, use or availability of all or any of its property, buildings, structures, activities, operations or facilities, of any nature, in such amounts and in such manner as may be determined by the Board.
  19. Acquire Property - May acquire and hold real and personal property, and dispose of property that is no longer necessary for the operation of the System, in any appropriate manner.
  20. Hold Title to Property - Hold all rights and title to the property of the System, whether real or personal.
  21. Lease Property - Execute, perform and make payments under contracts, which may include leases, leases with option(s) to purchase, or installment purchases with any person for the use, acquisition or purchase of any personal property, or the financing thereof. The contracts shall be on terms and conditions that are deemed appropriate by the board in accordance with state law.
  22. Retain Real Estate Broker - Employ, retain, contract with or compensate a licensed real estate broker or salesperson for assistance in the acquisition or sale of real property.
  23. Sue - Sue or be sued.
  24. Communicate with Coordinating Board - Ensure that its formal position on matters of importance to the System is made clear to the Coordinating Board, when such matters are under consideration by the Coordinating Board.
  25. Set Admissions Standards - Set campus admission standards consistent with the role and mission of the System, and considering admission standards nationwide, having a similar role and mission, as determined by the Coordinating Board.

I.B.2.04 - Taxing Authority

  1. Appraisal - Appraisal of taxable property in the System shall be conducted by the countywide appraisal district.
  2. Assessment and Collection - Taxes may be assessed and/or collected by the tax assessor-collector for a county, city, taxing district or other governmental subdivision in which all or any part of the System is located. Tax assessors and tax collectors shall receive compensation in an amount agreed to, but not to exceed two (2) percent of the ad valorem taxes assessed.

    The System shall have its taxes assessed by and collected by the Harris County Assessor and Collector of Taxes, and the Montgomery County Assessor and Collector of Taxes.

  3. Professional Requirements - The tax assessor-collector and staff of the political subdivision that assesses and/or collects the System’s taxes shall comply with requirements of the Property Taxation Professional Certification Act.
  4. Limit on Contracting - The System may not enter into a contract relating to the performance of an activity governed by Title 1 of the Tax Code (i.e., the Property Tax Code) with a member of the Board of Directors of the appraisal district or districts in which the System participates, or with a business entity in which a member of the appraisal board has a substantial interest.

An individual has a “substantial interest” in a business entity if the combined ownership of the individual and the individual’s spouse is at least ten (10) percent of the voting stock or share of the business entity, or the individual or the individual’s spouse is a partner, limited partner or officer of the business entity.

“Business Entity” means a sole proprietorship, partnership, firm, corporation, holding company, joint-stock company, receivership, trust or other entity recognized by law.

I.B.2.05 - Board Authority

Because the Board is a body corporate, members can perform no valid act except as a body, at meetings properly convened and conducted.

Each Board member shall have the legal responsibility of a fiduciary in the management of funds under the control of the System, subject to the Board’s control and management.

The Board has final authority to determine and interpret the policies that govern the System and, within the limits imposed by other legal authorities, has complete and full control of the System.

I.B.2.06 - Transacting Business

Official Board action shall be taken only in meetings that comply with the Texas Open Meetings Act. The affirmative vote of a majority of all Board members shall be required to transact business. (See “Board Meetings”, below). Each action of the Board, supported by the majority, is binding on the whole Board.

I.B.2.07 - Individual Board Member Authority

A Board member, as an individual, shall have no authority over the System, its property, or its employees. However, as noted by the Attorney General in Opinion No. JM-119 (1983), individual Board members retain the right to seek information from System records and employees, without specific Board authorization, so long as they follow any relevant Board policies in seeking that information.

Each Individual Board member, in his or her official capacity as a public officer entrusted with governing and overseeing the management of the System, has an inherent right of access to records maintained by the System, under Board policies for orderly access.

An individual Board member may act on behalf of the Board only with the official authorization of the Board. Without such express authorization, no individual member may commit the board on any issue. No individual member of the Board may exercise authority with respect to the operation of the System or services of System employees by virtue of their status as a Board member.

If a citizen brings a complaint to an individual Board members, he or she shall refer the complainant to the Chancellor or designee, who shall proceed according to appropriate Board policy.

I.B.2.08 - Staff Authority

Except as authorized by these policies, no employee or agent shall have the authority to bind the System contractually.

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on March 3, 2011

I.B.3. Ethics

I.B.3.01 - Statement of Ethics

A member of the Board shall strive to improve public education and, to that end, shall adhere to the following ethical standards:

  1. Attend all regularly scheduled Board meetings insofar as possible, and become informed concerning issues to be considered at those meetings.
  2. Work with other Board members to establish effective Board policies, and to delegate authority for administration of the Colleges to the Chancellor.
  3. Recognize that policy decisions should be made only after full discussion at publicly held Board meetings.
  4. Render all decisions based on the available facts and independent judgment, and refuse to surrender that judgment to individuals or special interest groups.
  5. Encourage the free expression of opinion by all Board members, and seek systematic communications between the Board and students, staff and all elements of the community.
  6. Communicate to other Board members and the Chancellor expressions of public reaction to Board policies and College programs.
  7. Be informed about current educational issues by individual study, and through participation in programs providing needed information, such as those sponsored by the American Association of Community Colleges, and the Association of Community College Trustees.
  8. Support the employment of those persons best qualified to serve as College staff, and insist on a regular and impartial evaluation of all staff.
  9. Avoid being placed in a position of conflict of interest, and refrain from using Board position for personal or partisan gain.
  10. Take no private action that will compromise the Board or administration, and respect the confidentiality of information that is privileged under applicable law.
  11. Remember always that the first and greatest concern of Board members must be the educational welfare of the students attending the colleges.

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on August 7, 2008

I.B.4. Conflict of Interest

The Board may contract with a business entity in which a Board member has a substantial interest if the Board member follows the disclosure and abstention procedure set out below:

I.B.4.01 –Substantial Interest Affidavit and Abstention From Vote

If a board member or a person related to a board member in the first degree by either affinity or consanguinity has a substantial interest in a business entity or in real property, the board member, before a vote or decision on any matter involving the business entity or the real property, shall file an affidavit with the official Board record-keeper stating the nature and extent of the interest and shall abstain from further participation in the matter if:

  1. In the case of a substantial interest in a business entity, the action on the matter will have a special economic effect on the business entity that is distinguishable from the effect on the public; or
  2. In the case of a substantial interest in real property, it is reasonably foreseeable that an action on the matter will have a special economic effect on the value of the property, distinguishable from its effect on the public.

I.B.4.02 -Separate Vote

The Board shall take a separate vote on any budget item specifically dedicated to a contract with a business entity in which a Board member has a substantial interest. The affected Board member shall not participate in that separate vote, but may vote on a final budget if he or she filed the affidavit, and the matter in which he/she is concerned has been resolved. A Board member may perform an otherwise “prohibited act” (see below) if a majority of the Board members are required to file affidavits of similar interests on the official action.

I.B.4.03 Conflicts Disclosure Statements

Each board member and the Chancellor, as a local government officer of the System, shall file a conflicts disclosure statement, as adopted by the Texas Ethics Commission, with respect to an applicable vendor if the vendor enters into a contract with the System or the System is considering entering into a contract with the vendor; and the vendor has an employment or other business relationship with the local government officer or a family member of the officer that results in the officer or family member receiving taxable income, other than investment income, that exceeds $2,500 during the 12 month period preceding the date the Board member or Chancellor becomes aware that a contract with a vendor described above has been executed or the System is considering entering a contract with the vendor; or has given to the local government officer or a family member of the officer one or more gifts, other than gifts of food, lodging, transportation, or entertainment accepted as a guest, that have an aggregate value of more than $250 in the 12-month period preceding the date the officer becomes aware that such a contract has been executed; or the local governmental entity is considering entering into a contract with the vendor.

A Board member is not required to file a conflicts disclosure statement in relation to a gift accepted by the officer or a family member of the officer if the gift is:

  1. given by a family member of the person accepting the gift;
  2. a political contribution as defined by Title 15, Election Code; or
  3. food, lodging, transportation, or entertainment accepted as a guest.

The Board member and the Chancellor shall file the conflicts disclosure statement with the records administrator of the System not later than 5:00 p.m. on the seventh business day after the date on which the officer becomes aware of the facts that require the filing of the statement.

The System shall provide access on the System’s Internet Web site to all filed conflicts disclosure statements and questionnaires.

The conflicts disclosure statement is required in addition to the substantial interest affidavit and interest in property affidavit referenced below.

I.B.4.04 - Prohibited Acts

Except as provided above, a Board member shall not knowingly:

  1. Participate in a vote or decision on a matter involving a business entity or real property in which the Board member has a substantial interest if it is reasonably foreseeable that an action on the matter would have a special economic effect on the business entity that is distinguishable from the effect on the public, or will have a special economic effect on the value of the property, distinguishable from its effect on the public.
  2. Act as surety for a business entity that has a contract, work or business with the System.
  3. Act as surety on any official bond required of an officer of the System.

I.B.4.05 - Definitions

  1. “Business Entity” - Business entity means a sole proprietorship, partnership, firm, corporation, holding company, joint-stock company, receivership, trust or any other entity recognized by law.
  2. “Substantial Interest” - A person has a substantial interest in a business entity if either of the following is the case:
    1. The person owns at least:
      • 10% of the voting stock or shares of the business entity; or
      • Either 10% or $15,000 of the fair market value of the business entity; OR
      • Funds received by the person from the business entity exceed 10% of the person’s gross income for the previous year.
    A person has a substantial interest in real property if the interest is an equitable or legal ownership with a fair market value of $2,500 or more.

    A Board member is considered to have a substantial interest if a person related in the first degree by either affinity or consanguinity to the Board member, as determined under Government Code Chapter 573 (See “Nepotism” Section {below and}, Chapter IV - Human Resources, Board Policy Manual), has a substantial interest, as defined above.

    If a Board member is required to file, and does file an affidavit, that Board member shall not be required to abstain from further participation in the matter or matters requiring such an affidavit if a majority of the Board members are likewise required to file, and do file, affidavits of similar interests on the same official action.
  3. “Local Government Officer”- A local government officer is a member of the governing body of a local governmental entity, such as the System; or a director, superintendent, administrator, president, or other person designated as the executive officer of the local governmental entity, such as the Chancellor.
  4. “Records Administrator” - “Records administrator” means the director, superintendent or other person responsible for maintaining the records of the System, such as the Chancellor, or designee.

I.B.4.06 –Prohibited Practices

Each Board member is a public servant of the System and the State of Texas.

“Public servant” means a person elected, selected, appointed, employed, or otherwise designated as one of the following, even if the person has not yet qualified for office or assumed his or her duties:

  1. An officer, employee, or agent of government; or
  2. A candidate for nomination or election to public office.

The following practices are strictly prohibited and include, but are not limited to, the following activities:

  1. Bribery - A Board member shall not intentionally or knowingly offer, confer, agree to confer, solicit, accept or agree to accept a benefit:
    1. as consideration for the Board member’s decision, opinion, recommendation, vote or other exercise of official discretion;
    2. as consideration for a violation of a duty imposed on the Board member by law;
    3. that is a political contribution as defined by Title 15 of the Election Code, or an expenditure made and reported as a lobbying expense in accordance with Government Code, Chapter 305, if the benefit was offered, conferred, solicited, accepted or agreed to pursuant to an express agreement to take or withhold a specific exercise of official discretion, if such exercise of official discretion would not have been taken or withheld but for the benefit.

      “Benefit” means anything reasonably regarded as pecuniary gain or pecuniary advantage, including benefit to any other person in whose welfare the Board member has a direct and substantial interest.
  2. Abuse of Office - A Board member shall not, with intent to obtain a benefit or with intent to harm another, intentionally or knowingly violate a law relating to the office, or misapply anything of value, belonging to the System, that has come into his/her custody by virtue of his/her office.

    “Law relating to the office” means a law that specifically applies to a person acting in the capacity of a public servant, and that directly or indirectly imposes a duty on the public servant or governs the conduct of the public servant.

  3. Bank Relations - A Board member who is a stock holder, officer, director or employee of a bank that has bid to become a depository for the System shall not vote on the awarding of a depository contract to said bank.

    If a Board member has a substantial interest in a bank with which the System is considering entering into a loan or other transaction besides a depository contract, the Board member must comply with the affidavit of abstention requirements.

  4. Incompatibility of Office - A Board member may not occupy two legally incompatible offices. Offices are legally incompatible when the faithful and independent exercise of one would necessarily interfere with the faithful and independent exercise of the other. A person may not serve in one branch of government while exercising any powers properly attached to either of the other branches of government.
  5. Gifts - A Board member exercises discretion in connection with contracts, purchases, payments, claims, and other pecuniary transactions involving the System. As such, a Board member shall not solicit, accept, or agree to accept any benefit from a person the Board member knows is interested in or likely to become interested in any such transactions of the System.

    A Board member who receives an unsolicited benefit that he or she is prohibited from accepting under this section may donate the benefit to a governmental entity that has the authority to accept the gift or may donate the benefit to a recognized tax exempt charitable organization formed for educational, religious, or scientific purposes.

  6. Nepotism - Except as otherwise allowed by law, no person shall be employed in the System who is related to a member of the Board by blood (consanguinity) within the third degree, or by marriage (affinity) within the second degree. (See Nepotism Chart in this Chapter).

    The Board shall not hire as an independent contractor for personal services an individual who is related to a Board member by blood (consanguinity) within the third degree, or by marriage (affinity) within the second degree. (See Nepotism Chart in this Chapter).

  7. Disclosure of Interest in Property - If a Board member or candidate for a Board member position has legal or equitable interest in any real property or personal property acquired with public funds, either by purchase or condemnation, and has actual notice of the acquisition or intended acquisition of the property, the Board member or candidate shall file an affidavit as follows:
    1. The affidavit shall be filed with the county clerk(s) of the county or counties in which the property is located, and of the county in which the Board member or candidate resides, within ten (10) days prior to the acquisition of the property.
    2. The affidavit shall include the following information:
      • The name of the Board member or candidate and the public office held or sought;
      • A full and complete description of the property;
      • A full description of the nature, type and amount of interest in the property, including, but not limited to, the percent ownership interest in the property, and the date the interest was acquired;
      • A verification, as prescribed by law, of the truth of the information in the affidavit;
      • An acknowledgment of the same type as required for the recording of deeds in the deed records of the county clerk’s office.
    NOTE: Special requirements exist when federal funds are involved.
  8. Employment of a Former Trustee - A former trustee of the System may not accept employment with the System until the first anniversary of the date the Trustee’s membership on the Board ends.

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on August 7, 2008