Leadership & Staffing
Leadership of your State Council is critical to its success. Your State Council should have an active chair to provide leadership to the body during and between meetings, and to serve as a key decision-making contact for ICJ staff. Your state’s appointing authorities and compact administrative staff will want to consider the right type of individual to lead the State Council, raise its visibility among state policymakers and effectively advance the oversight of, and advocacy for the ICJ. Examples of State Council chairs include:
- Colorado –Chief Juvenile Probation Officer.
- Florida – General Counsel of the Department of Juvenile Justice.
- Indiana – Executive Director of the Office of Court Services.
- Nebraska –Compact Administrator, who also serves as the ICJ Commissioner.
In addition, it is important to determine how the State Council will be staffed (e.g., who will schedule meetings, who will record meeting activities, where will meetings be held and how often, how will activities/concerns of the State Council and Interstate Commission be reported to key constituents). These duties may be assigned to your state’s ICJ office personnel or others.
Regular contact between the chair and ICJ personnel is critical. From the out-set, you should establish a proactive communications plan with your State Council chair to ensure clear sharing of information and making sure there are no surprises. More frequent communication is better than less frequent communication.
The State Council chair should be your biggest champion and a key ally in securing attention for ICJ in your state. The chair should be someone who can help solve problems with the ICJ and provide guidance on how to engage other stakeholders in ICJ work. The chair should be involved in helping to set meeting agendas and assist with securing outstanding appointments to the State Council.
Perhaps most important step in launching and operating a State Council successfully is training State Council members. Training falls into two distinct areas:
1) training for new State Council members on the ICJ, the state’s responsibilities, the role of the State Council and the activities of compact administrative offices; and
2) ongoing training emphasizing changes to the compact and/or its rules, as well as specific professional development training that may make State Council members more effective in their roles (e.g. state budgeting, communications and advocacy, time management, meeting preparation, etc.).
Numerous resources are available to assist with training State Council members. The Interstate Commission provides a PowerPoint presentation for training State Council Members, which is available in the “General Training” section at https://www.juvenilecompact.org/training/training-materials . State Council members may also benefit from reviewing more detailed On Demand Trainings available at https://www.juvenilecompact.org/training/on-demand.
Create a schedule of meetings that clearly articulates expectations of the State Council and its membership. Some states may meet annually, while others may meet quarterly or monthly, depending on the workload and responsibilities of the State Council and its membership.
As a publicly constituted governmental entity, each State Council must comply with all public meeting notice and open meeting requirements of its state. These laws determine whether meetings must be held in-person or may be held telephonically/virtually. Failure to comply with open meeting requirements may call into question the activities of the ICJ and the compact office. Further, failure to provide appropriate public notice can significantly delay the ability of the State Council to tackle its work or to make critical decisions about timely issues confronting the ICJ and its relationships/transfers with other member jurisdictions.
Specific information regarding State Open Meetings Notice Requirements is available at https://ballotpedia.org/Open_meetings_notice_requirements .
Developing an accurate and actionable meeting agenda is critical to ensuring your State Council is efficient and effective in executing its work. A meeting agenda should specify the date and times (both start and end); indicate who is presiding over the meeting; what updates and briefings are required; any old business to be conducted; any known new business to be addressed; specific action items and decisions required of the State Council during the meeting; and any relevant resources or materials that will be used or referenced during the meeting. Once the agenda has been made public, it should not be changed – unless authorized under applicable state laws or State Council bylaws.
Keeping accurate meeting minutes, meeting summaries and meeting notes is sound business practice and is probably required by your state’s open meetings laws and/or State Council’s bylaws.
Meeting minutes do not have to be word-for-word transcripts (unless such recordings are required by your state). Rather, the purpose is to capture the action items and decisions made by a deliberative body during a specific meeting; the participants and attendees at the meeting; tabled or future decisions to be considered by the body; and key elements of discussion that may have contributed to specific decisions (including appendices and supporting materials).