Wednesday, March 28, 2012


A Summary of Laws and Policies Influencing Tri-Met's Organizational Governance

General Powers:
Tri-Met is a municipal corporation of the State of Oregon. It is a public body.
It has broad powers to provide mass transportation on behalf of the district. It can issue general obligation bonds (vote) and revenue bonds. Tri-Met also has an employer payroll tax.
The Board:
Tri-Met is governed by a seven-member Board of Directors. They are appointed by the Governor and represent and must live in certain geographical districts.
The term of office is four years, but they serve at the pleasure of the Governor.
The Board sets agency policy, enacts legislation (ordinances relating to police ordinances; taxing), and reviews certain contracts.
Board Meetings: The Board holds formal and informal meetings once a month. The 1997 meeting schedule is listed here.
a. Regular Meetings: The regular monthly meetings of the Board are held on the fourth Wednesday of every month, except November and December meetings, which are held on the third Wednesday. Meetings begin at 3:30 p.m., in the Portland Building, 1120 S.W. Fifth Avenue, Second Floor, Conference Room C. In an effort to reach out to the communities Tri-Met serves, the Board holds meetings in other locations on a quarterly basis. (For a recorded announcement of location and time, please call (503) 238-5843.)
b. Informal Meetings: The informal briefing meetings of the Board are held on the first Wednesday and begin at 7:30 a.m., in Tri- Met's Administration Building, 4012 S.E. 17th Avenue, Third Floor, Conference Rooms C and D. (For a recorded announcement of location and time, please call (503) 238-5843.)
c. Special Meetings: Special meetings of the Board may be called at any time by the President.
d. Emergency Meetings: Emergency meetings of the Board may be called at any time by the President. Emergency meetings are subject to the same rules as regular meetings.
e. Notice of Meetings: Notice of all regular, adjourned, special, and emergency meetings must be given to each member of the Board at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. Notice of regular, adjourned, special, and emergency meetings must also be given to the public at least 24 hours prior to the meeting, except that in the case of an actual emergency, a meeting may be held upon such notice that is reasonably calculated to give actual notice.
f. Quorum: A majority of the members of the Board shall constitute a quorum.
g. Rules: Robert's Rules of Order are the parliamentary procedure for meetings of the Board, except when a specific rule is provided by statute or the Bylaws.
h. Committees: Tri-Met Board Committees meet to review issues. They do not make decisions and do not make recommendations to the Board as a Committee.Board members periodically serve on other committees in the community that are related to Tri-Met business.
General Manager:
The General Manager of Tri-Met is appointed by the Board. His/her duties are outlined in our enabling legislation (ORS 267) . He/she has no definite term. He/she is essentially charged with running the agency. The General Manager can be removed by the Board.
By resolution, the Board has delegated to the General Manager the authority to enter into contracts, excluding contracts for personal services, in amounts not to exceed $250,000. The General Manager can enter into personal services contracts for an amount not to exceed $100,000.
The General Manager publishes a set of internal administrative policies and procedures to guide Tri-Met staff and provides a monthly report to the Board on Tri-Met's major activities.
Although Tri-Met has extensive powers, it can still exercise only those powers and functions that are delegated to it by the legislature. There are numerous rules and limitations, grounded in constitutional, common, and statutory law, which apply to Tri-Met's decision makers generally and to specific situations in particular. In Oregon, grants of power are strictly and narrowly construed.
a. Federal Law: Because Tri-Met receives financial assistance from the Federal Transit Administration, both formula and discretionary funds, we must comply with all of the terms and conditions of our grant agreements.
b. State Law: Below are listed some of the principal State laws that impact and color the transaction of business:
1. Public Records and Open Meeting LawMakes all public meetings and public records, with some specific exceptions, open and accessible to all members of the public.
(a) Executive Session: The Board can go into Executive Session (trade and commerce, real estate, discuss nonpublic documents, legal affairs) but, with the exception of labor negotiations, the press can attend all Executive Sessions. They can't report the contents of the meeting.
(b) Committees: Tri-Met uses Board Committees. Committee meetings are not open to the public.
2. Conflict of Interest and Ethics LawSets forth an Oregon code of ethics requiring public officials to follow and establishes a mechanism to deal with potential conflicts of interest.
(a) Absolutely Prohibited - Code of Ethics: You cannot use your official position for financial gain; you cannot use confidential information about Tri- Met for personal gain; you cannot receive gifts valued over $100 in any calendar year; and you cannot receive a promise of future employment.
(b) Potential Conflict of Interest: This is where an official action as a Board Member or employee might benefit one financially or hurt a competitor.In these cases, the law requires announcement of a potential conflict of interest. In the past, Tri-Met Board members involved not only announced, but also abstained from voting and participating in any discussion.
3. Political Activities by Public Employees: ("The Little Hatch Act")Prohibits the expenditure of public funds for political purposes and prohibits public employees from political activity during working hours.
4. Lobby Disclosure Act (ORS 171.725)The Lobby Disclosure Act defines lobbying as "influencing or attempting to influence legislative action through oral or written communication with legislative officials, solicitation of others to influence or attempt to influence legislative action or attempting to obtain the good will of legislative officials."
5. Public Bidding and Procurement LawEstablishes a policy of open and competitive bidding and provides for certain exceptions. Although not applicable to real property transactions, the concept of open and competitive access to public business is a key concept in Oregon law.
6. Public Employee Collective Bargaining - LaborSets forth mechanisms and procedures relating to public employee collective bargaining. Tri-Met has a collective bargaining with the Amalgamated Transit Union (Div. 757) whose term is from December 1, 1994 through November 30, 1998.
7. Oregon Tort Claims ActLimits liability of public bodies for the negligence of commissioners, officers, and employees, and provides for legal defense and indemnification. $50,000 per person property; $100,000 personal injury; $500,000 maximum all claims. Public bodies are also required to defend, save harmless and indemnify any of their board members, officers, employees and agents, whether elected or appointed, against any tort claim or demand, whether groundless or otherwise, arising out of an alleged act or omission occurring in the performance of duty.
8. Oregon Budget LawEstablishes standard procedures for preparing, presenting, and administering the public budget, requiring citizen involvement and public exposure prior to adoption of budget.
9. Power of Eminent DomainGives the power to acquire private property for public use upon payment of just compensation.
10. Police PowerGives Tri-Met the right to enact police ordinances.
11. FinancesAmong other things, Tri-Met's enabling legislation (ORS 267) authorizes it to issue and sell bonds, levy an employer payroll tax, and levy a tax measured by net earnings from self-employment.
June 28, 1996

Related topics: Tri-Met Board of Directors Tri-Met Board of Directors 1997 meeting schedule Public Notices

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