July-August 2017

Key Personnel and Victim Services Boards to merge

Diane Beckham

TDCAA Senior Staff Counsel in Austin

This fall, TDCAA’s Key Personnel and Victim Services Boards will begin the process to merge the two boards back into one unified board.
    In 2011, as part of TDCAA’s five-year, long-range plan, the Victim Services Board was created to allow for a more focused approach to planning training unique to Victim Assistance Coordinators (VACs). Like the Investigator and Key Personnel Boards, the new Victim Services Board elected representatives from each of the eight TDCAA regions. (A map of the regions is below.)
    The Victim Services Board’s primary responsibility was planning training for the VAC track at TDCAA’s KP-VAC conference and for half of the courses on the KP-VAC track at the Annual Criminal & Civil Law Update. The Key Personnel Board met separately to plan the KP track at the KP-VAC conference and the other half of the courses for KPs and VACs at the Annual Update.
    But about four years ago, the two boards began to come together in a single meeting to allow for better brainstorming to plan training, especially for the general session courses aimed at both KPs and VACs. The joint meeting went well, and the two groups found they had great chemistry. The board members worked so well together, it was difficult to tell which board members came from the KP board and which came from the VS board—members of both boards came to the annual spring planning meeting with great ideas for both tracks. Additionally, many members of the KP board actually worked either part-time or full-time as VACs—the KP bylaws define “member of key personnel” to include someone working as a VAC. (In fact, all four members of the current KP board are actually designated as VACs.)
    At the same time, the two boards had a difficult time keeping all the positions filled, primarily because of turnover but also with frequent vacancies in a few TDCAA regions with smaller-sized offices. So when a new Long Range Planning Committee gathered in 2016 to map out TDCAA’s plans for the next five years, one of the issues the committee addressed was the difficulty in filling both boards. Knowing the groups’ track records of working well together, the Long Range Planning Committee—which included KP and VAC representatives familiar with the challenges in filling both boards—directed TDCAA to work on merging the two boards back into one, but to make sure the new board had representation from both KP and VAC segments.
    This spring, a subcommittee of the KP and VAC boards met to plan what the new merged board would look like. The group decided that to ensure representation from both segments, half of the seats on the board should be elected, and half should be appointed. The new board selection would work like this:
    Elections will be held in four “areas,” with TDCAA’s eight regions to be grouped in pairs to form four “areas” as follows:
•    West Area: Regions 1 & 2
•    East Area: Regions 5 & 6
•    North Central Area: Regions 3 & 7
•    South Central Area: Regions 4 & 8
    Elections in the East and South Central Areas will happen in odd-numbered years. Elections in the West and North Central Areas will happen in even-numbered years.
    The other four at-large board members (two KP representatives and two VAC representatives) will be selected by the TDCAA board president and the chair of the merged KP-VS board. In odd-numbered years, the president of the TDCAA board will appoint one KP member, and the chair of the KP-VS Board will appoint one victim services member. In even-numbered years, the TDCAA board president will appoint one victim services member, and the KP-VS chair will appoint one key personnel member.
    The first election under the new board would happen on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, at the KP-VAC Conference in Houston. All current KP and VS board members will be allowed to serve out their full term on the two boards. Formal approval of the new bylaws for the combined key personal and victim services section of TDCAA requires the following steps:
•    approval of the draft bylaws by the TDCAA board of directors at its meeting on June 30.
•    approval of the bylaws by a two-thirds vote of all key personnel and victim services section members present at a regular meeting called for 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, at the KP-VAC Seminar in Houston.
    It is our hope that the new method for selecting board members will lead to continued high levels of participation and collaboration by key personnel and victim services members while ensuring the number of board positions is realistic. A copy of the proposed bylaws can be found under the Victim Services tab on the TDCAA website.
    If you have an interest in training and want to give input on speakers and topics at TDCAA conferences for KP and VACs, please consider running for the board or expressing interest in one of the appointed positions. The board meets twice a year: once in Austin sometime in the spring and once the day before the start of the KP-VAC conference in November. TDCAA staff makes hotel reservations for board members for the spring meeting and will reimburse board members for other travel expenses (airfare or mileage and parking, plus a per diem for meals).
    If you have any questions about running for the board, please email TDCAA’s Victim Services Director Jalayne Robinson at [email protected] If you have any questions or concerns about the bylaws or the election process, please email Jalayne or me at [email protected]

Highlights of KP-VS Board merge
•    One set of bylaws will govern KP and VS. Current KP and VS bylaws will be repealed.
•    The new, merged board will include four elected and four appointed board members, plus a chair and immediate past chair (ex officio).
•    Terms remain two years each for the eight elected and appointed board members; one year for the chair. Terms are staggered: two elected and two appointed each year.
•    Elections will happen in four “areas,” which are composed of two TDCAA regions:
    —West Area: Regions 1 & 2
    —East Area: Regions 5 & 6
    —North Central Area: Regions 3 & 7
    —South Central Area: Regions 4 & 8
•    Four at-large members will be selected by the TDCAA board president and KP/VS board chair:
    —One VAC and one KP selected each year
    —TDCAA board president selects KP in odd-numbered years and VS in even-numbered years
    —KP/VAC chair selects VS in odd-numbered years and KP in even-numbered years
•    KP and VS boards have approved the merger plan.
•    TDCAA’s parent board must vote on the bylaw amendments and merge at June 30 meeting.
•    KP and VS sections will vote on bylaws at a Nov. 8 general meeting in conjunction with the KP-VAC conference. The bylaws require a two-thirds vote to pass.
•    If passed, the first elections under the new plan would happen Thursday, Nov. 9.
•    All current board members will serve out their full terms. The board will have two past chair ex officio members and only one extra member (two representatives from Region 1) in 2018. i