Who makes appointments to the State Council?
Each state determines who will appoint members to the State Council, depending on the state’s ICJ statute and/or interest represented by the council members (e.g., judicial branch, executive branch). The Governor, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Senate President and Chief Justice are traditionally the primary appointing authorities. Beneath this primary layer of appointing authority, there may reside secondary appointing authority that is delegated to state officials by one or more of the primary appointing authorities.
Who serves on the State Council?
At minimum, State Council membership must include at least one representative from the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government, victims groups, and the Compact Administrator, Deputy Compact Administrator or designee. Some states have created State Councils that include only the required members. Others have expanded the membership to include other key stakeholders, often including designated positions to be appointed by specific appointing authorities.
How can the ICJ Office assist with the appointment process?
Some member states report difficulty in gaining the required number and types of appointments. While there may be many bureaucratic or process barriers that slow the appointment process, ultimately the challenge is one of visibility and attention.
Developing and maintaining strong relationships with primary and secondary appointing authorities is essential. Legislative sponsors of the ICJ in your state can be effective partners in calling attention to the need for State Council appointments from specific appointing authorities. Likewise, victim advocacy groups can be very helpful. Ultimately, both creativity and persistence are important in soliciting and gaining appointments.
Also, be aware that governors, legislators and judges are responsible for appointments to many boards, councils and advisory groups. They may have limited knowledge of the subject matter and/or subject matter experts. Recommending suitable candidates who are willing to serve can help ensure the process moves more quickly.
When contacting potential candidates for appointment, be prepared to share information and expectations. Consider preparing an information packet in advance to include your state’s ICJ statute, your State Council’s bylaws, ICJ Rules, the Commission’s latest annual report, and any other guiding documents.
Prior to considering a commitment, candidates will often have questions you should be prepared to answer. Examples of questions which may be asked include the following:
- What is the role of the Council?
- What other individuals and groups are represented on the Council?
- How long is the term?
- How often will the Council meet?
- What are the statutory requirements and obligations?
- What is the time commitment?
- Is it a paid appointment?
- Will expenses be reimbursed?
Dual Function Councils
States have discretion whether the State Council is a separately constituted body or whether the duties of the State Council are assigned to a pre-existing state entity. Many State Councils have been created as a part of an existing state government body in order to maximize scarce state resources. Provided that the Compact’s representation requirements are met and the body addresses Compact-related business, this practice is allowable and may be an effective means of operating an ICJ State Council.
Creation and use of bylaws for State Council activities is very beneficial, though not required. Bylaws can clarify key process and decision points for the State Council. Bylaws may address such issues as: meeting frequency, quorum, voting rights, expense reimbursement/coverage, specific responsibilities related to Compact Administrator selection and oversight, expectations of advocacy, conflicts of interest, etc. Delineating these process and operational guidelines to bylaws makes convening and staffing the State Council more efficient and effective.
Creating a State Council Mission Statement may also assist in both clarifying and directing the activities of the State Council, as well as raising the visibility of the State Council and the ICJ. While not required, such statements help State Councils coalesce around an agreed upon mission and direction.