Birmingham Water Works Board considering new self-governance policy & pledge

BWWB Customer Service Building
BWWB Customer Service Building(WBRC-TV)
Published: Apr. 7, 2023 at 4:30 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Birmingham Water Works Board is considering a new self-governance policy and pledge that would set new guidelines and limits for board members and require more training.

The policy under consideration would require board members within 60 days of adopting this policy to:

- receive in-person training from the Alabama Ethics Commission on the State Ethics Act

- receive training on parliamentary procedure

- receive training on the Alabama Open Meetings Act, Public Records Act, Competitive Bidding Act, and Public Works Act

The policy also requires board members to receive another 2 hours of new training on those topics annually between January 1 and April 30, and 3 hours of training on “corporate governance, business operations, public finance, utility rate setting, employment/personnel topics, and engineering related matters.”

Any board member found in violation of the policy would forfeit their expense allowance while they’re not complying with the policy.

The executive committee is also looking at a board pledge that would have each Birmingham Water Works Board member promise to, among other things:

“To show respect for the opinions of our peers on the board of directors and staff who work with the BWWB even if our opinion differs and to leave our personal prejudices out of all board discussions. To represent the BWWB in a positive and supportive manner at all times and in all places. To observe parliamentary procedures and display courteous conduct in all meetings. To refrain from intruding on administrative issues that are the responsibility of management, except to monitor the results and prohibit methods that conflict with BWWB policy. To avoid conflicts of interest between my position as a Director and my personal or business life, and declare such conflicts if they arise, refraining from voting on matters in which I have a conflict. To support in a positive manner all actions approved by the Board of Directors even when I am in a minority position on such actions.”

The pledge also includes a conflict of interest policy that bans accepting “gifts, gratuities, free trips, personal property or any other item of value from any outside person or organization as an inducement to do business or provide services.”

It also requires directors to disclose any conflict of interest, abstain from voting or discussing the issue, and promise not to use BWWB resources for personal business.

The executive committee will look at this policy Monday. It could come up for a vote by the full board as soon as next week.

This comes as the state house considers a bill that would completely change the makeup of the water works board and move it from 9 to 7 members and fire all the current board if it’s adopted into law.

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