A Council Development Project
Leaflet No. 5
Working with Committees
Cassy Dierking Venters, Continuing Education Specialist
|Why Use a Committee||Strong committee work leads to more efficient
meetings, better decisions and greater involvement of extension council members. Committee
work is one of the most important elements of good council management.
Value of committees
Limitations of Committees
Extension council chairmen may try to avoid these problems by asking committees to set regularly scheduled meetings, clarifying the committee chairman's and member's responsibilities, seeing that minutes are kept and distributed to committee members, and asking for minority reports from committees so that all views are represented.
Information on committee responsibilities, planning sheets and reporting forms are available from each county program director.
|When to Use Committees||Committees can be used profitably when one or
more of the following circumstances exist:
|Types of Committees||Committees are either temporary or standing. Temporary
committees work on a particular project, and then the committee is dissolved. Permanent or
standing committees work on a project throughout a year or, in some cases, several years.
Below are some of the committees in use in extension council operations.
BudgetDevelops the county budget with the CPD and presents the budget to the county commission.
Election and NominationOversees the election process by reviewing election procedures, assessing compliance with affirmative action guidelines and representation of minorities, and determining occupations and geographic areas in the county needing representation; and nominates and contacts candidates and officers for the council.
ProgramServes in an advisory capacity for developing programs relating to youth at risk, family life, health, agriculture profitability, conservation of natural resources, etc.
PersonnelMakes recommendations regarding hiring and placement of county and university staff.
Special EventsPlans and implements special events, including the annual meeting, town and country dinners, fall festival, summer ice cream social, etc.
RecognitionNominates candidates for the annual farm fair family program; develops other recognition programs.
Endowment and GiftsPlans and implements the county endowment and gifts program.
Public Relations/MarketingDevelops and implements a public relations plan.
FacilitiesAnalyzes existing facilities and their capacity to meet the needs for educational programming; and plans for improvements in office facilities and equipment.
|Committee Size||The purpose for which the committee is formed
generally determines committee size. In carrying out many council functions, small
committees have advantages. The larger committee tends to be harder to coordinate and more
unwieldy; to bog down in irrelevant issues; and to take too much of the member's time on
subjects that are not related to the committee's particular problem.
There are, however, times when a large committee is required. On occasion, the total membership may serve as a committee in determining the program of work. There is no set rule, but basically, the smaller the committee the better and faster the action.
|Orientation||An orientation session for committee chairmen can provide
them with the information they need for a successful year. Each chairman should be given a
kit which includes:
After the kit is distributed, the CPD should discuss the overall program of work and members' parts in it. They should be told what Extension staff help they can expect and from whom. Possible areas of overlap should be noted and the authority of each committee spelled out in light of existing policy established by the extension council.
By doing these things, the council chairman and the CPD let the committee chairmen know what is expected of them and where their activities fit into the overall picture. After a question-and-answer period, they, along with Extension staff help, are ready to recruit committee members (if they are not already selected) and to call the first meeting.
Orienting the Members
Orientation normally should take place in the first meeting of the entire committee and consists of the following:
Members should come away from this meeting with an understanding of the objectives of the committee and a feeling of wanting to participate on a team
Printed materials on extension council committees and their activities are available.
|Meetings Preparation||It is important that the extension council chairman (or CPD)
and the committee chairman confer before the meeting concerning the agenda, the problem or
problems to be discussed, possible alternative solutions and other pertinent matters.
Materials needed for the meting and physical arrangements also should be planned.
The Time and Place for the meeting will depend on the availability of the committee members. The chairman normally makes the decision on day and time.
Notices should be mailed early enough for the member to reserve time to attend the meeting, yet late enough so the meeting will not be forgotten. The notice should include time, place, date, purpose and background material (if needed). It should be signed by the chairman. Reply cards may be used.
Committee members should be introduced. If the meeting is large and the members are not acquainted with each other, name tags or table tents should be used.
|Meeting and Follow-up||The chairman is the key person in promoting discussion during
meetings, bringing the group to decisions and ensuring that follow-up is completed.
to Get Discussion
Four recommended methods of getting participation and ideas are found in the Nominal Group Technique, Quick Discussion Techniques, Brain Drain and Brainstorming leaflets.
Writing the Minutes
The minutes should include date; place; time; those present; those absent; presiding officer's name; action taken; what should be done to follow up this action; and date, time and place of next meeting. Enough summary of discussion should be carried to justify any decisions reached. Minutes should be signed by the secretary.
Without some sort of control, committees will become self-perpetuating. The number and types of committees should be evaluated periodically to determine whether the same committees are needed year after year.
The extension council chairman and CPD must work for turnover in each committee each year, keep committees supplied with new talent and use committees in developing leadership.