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Board of Supervisors Department

Appendix D

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Specific Norms and Expectations

Behavioral Norms for all County leaders (examples)

  1. Treat everyone with dignity and respect.
  2. Attend Board meetings, fully prepared, on time, and focused.
  3. Strive to build trust in every interaction by demonstrating empathy, speaking personally, and giving the benefit of the doubt.
  4. Use “I statements” – provide feedback in the spirit of sharing information; take ownership for your feelings.
  5. Refrain from being judgmental; stay curious, inquire, and assume that everyone is operating with the best intentions.
  6. Refrain from publicly criticizing any County employee’s performance.
  7. Reflect positive cultural norms and values in public forums.
  8. Ultimately, we rise and fall as one. Take mutual credit for successes and losses.
  9. Comply with the County’s Contracting Principles to reaffirm the County’s commitment to conducting fair, open and competitive procurements for key safety net programs. The Contracting Principles are attached to these Board Rules as Appendix D.

Supervisor’s Mutual Expectations (examples)

  1. Refrain from exercising the “Power of 1”.
  2. Represent the needs of our County as well as the needs of our Districts.
  3. Operate from a list of shared priorities, goals, and strategic priorities.
  4. Speak up and be clear about perspectives; do not acquiesce by remaining silent when you disagree.
  5. Show respect for issues in each other’s Districts and policy positions.
  6. Consult with another Supervisor to gain perspective on unique issues and needs in all Districts.
  7. Demonstrate sensitivity of each other’s needs.
  8. While respecting transparency and legal requirements, always aim to work out differences directly with peers versus involving the County Administrator or others.
  9. When the needs of other Districts inhibit consensus, strive for compromise.
  10. Depending on the circumstances, understand that being in the minority may be appropriate politics.
  11. After a difficult vote, be prepared to respect the majority point of view. Comment on one’s own thought process and intention.

Supervisor relationship with CAO 

  1. Engage the County Administrator’s office whenever significant staff resources are required.
  2. Engage the County Administrator’s office whenever more than a nominal amount of financial resources are required.
  3. Include the County Administrator’s office when making requests of Department Heads.
  4. Strive to be clear about your District’s needs.
  5. Support the County Administrator by providing direct, specific, timely non-punishing feedback - positive and corrective.
  6. Be clear with the County Administrator about intentions and goals for policy and projects.
  7. Respect the County Administrator’s role in having to make decisions, influence, and/or control department resources.
  8. Understand and accept that some of the County Administrator’s input and information may be unwelcome at times.

County Administrator's relationship with Supervisors

  1. Facilitate the Supervisor’s success and the Board’s Success.
  2. Calendar and conduct a timely, annual strategic planning process with clear deliverables and quarterly updates.
  3. Support Department Heads in delivering work product to meet the Board’s needs. Facilitate, and usher work through; be the gatekeeper, when necessary.
  4. Strive for positive working relationships with all members of the body equally regardless of personality, philosophy, positions on issues, etc.
  5. Work for “evenhandedness” recognizing that communication preferences may require spending more time with certain Supervisors.
  6. Strive to understand the intentions of Supervisor’s goals.
  7. Provide information equally to all members of the body.
  8. Minimize surprises for the Board.
  9. Be engaged with community leaders and organizations to inform and improve services to best meet the needs of the community.
  10. Help hold Supervisors accountable for their commitments and actions.

Supervisor relationship with Department Heads

  1. Understand the level of effort before chartering or requesting work and refrain from the Power of 1.
  2. Strive to be clear about scope, urgency, expectations of the assignment and include the County Administrator (cc) when it is not a constituent issue.
  3. Stay open to further clarifying details, providing specifics, and revising assignment.
  4. Leave project management and implementation to Departments and analysts.
  5. Bring Department Head performance issues and performance feedback to the County Administrator’s office first.
  6. Respect Department Head professional judgment even if the perspective is unwelcome (e.g. refrain from Power of 1).

Supervisor relationship with Other Staff

  1. Individual Supervisor work requests to staff should be in the form of gathering information (as opposed to directing work).
  2. Include the Department Head when requesting work from department staff.
  3. If Supervisors have concerns and/or specific information needs, provide staff a ‘heads-up’ in advance of Board meetings so staff can be prepared to address them.
  4. Manage questions or issues about staff competence privately with appropriate Department Head.