Directors are elected by the electorate of Wheeler County at the November General Election, which is held during even-numbered years. The Wheeler SWCD Board may appoint a person to fill a board vacancy between elections for the duration of that position’s term. Five of the seven positions are classified as zone positions and must meet the zone requirements and terms of office as specified in ORS 568.560, as follows:
“Zone directors must own or manage 10 or more acres of land in the District, be involved in the active management of that property, reside within the boundaries of the District, and be a registered voter.”
An individual may serve as a zone director in lieu of land ownership or management requirements if the individual resides within the zone that is represented, has served at least one year as a Wheeler SWCD Director or Associate Director and has a conservation plan approved by the Wheeler SWCD Board. The other two positions are at-large positions. To qualify for an at-large position, a person must reside in Wheeler County and be a registered voter. No land ownership or management requirements are needed for an at-large position, which is also governed by ORS 568.560.
An individual Director has power only when acting as a part of the Wheeler SWCD Board. Individual Board members may be delegated authority or power to act on behalf of the Board in specific, limited tasks. This authority or power is granted through Board action (resolution, motion, policy, etc.) and must be recorded in the meeting minutes.
The Wheeler SWCD Board works cooperatively as a unit to plan and oversee implementing district programs. As a representative of the District Board, opinions expressed publicly by individual Board members should be consistent with established Board policy, not the individual’s personal agenda or opinions.
ORS 568.545 requires all districts to select a Chair and Secretary from among its Directors. The District may elect other officers as desired.
The Chair is granted the responsibility to represent the District with other districts, agencies, associations, partners, organizations, legislators, and property owners consistent with the policies, plans, and interests of the District. The Chair will also conduct regular and special meetings of the Board.
A Vice-Chair has been given the authority to act as the Chair in case of the absence or unavailability of the Chair.
The Secretary/Treasurer is the custodian of all District records, minutes, contracts, and other official documents.
Committees are an effective way for the District to plan and implement district functions. They can be comprised of Board members, Associate Directors, district advisors, representatives of cooperating agencies and associations, and/or interested citizens.
The Wheeler SWCD can also have various ad hoc committees, which are charged with specific tasks over a specific time period. Ad hoc committees are then disbanded after the assigned task and/or timeframe is completed.
The Wheeler Soil and Water Conservation District expands its capabilities through the selection and appointment of Associate Directors. Associate Directors do not vote on Board decisions but are expected to augment the Board’s knowledge and experience level and assist with District programs and activities. They may also be asked to represent the Board on specific assignments. Associate Directors, once officially appointed by the District Board, are provided with the same Tort liability insurance under the Oregon Tort Claims Act as the elected directors. Associate Directors are expected to attend monthly Board meetings and other special meetings as requested. Associate Directors serve until the Board meeting held in January following a General Election, at which time the Board determines who they wish to appoint or reappoint.