Your Partner for Board Development
After participating in governance development workshops facilitated by Hometown Connections or education sessions taught by Hometown on behalf of the American Public Power Association, municipal governing board members and staff are able to apply what they learn when carrying out their utility leadership duties.
- List the duties and responsibilities of a municipal utility governing board, including compliance with statutory and fiduciary duties, providing strategic direction/policy guidance, and assuring effective chief executive
- List the current trends in public power technology, finance, customer demographics, and workforce management of which the governing board must be aware
- Explain the board’s role in engaging customers, city officials, and other community stakeholders in the activities of the utility
- Identify strategies for successful governing board recruiting and succession planning
- Design a training program for new board members, including Electric Industry 101, Your Utility 101, the Public Power Advantage, and board legal & fiduciary obligations
- Explain the distinct advantages of public power utilities in the U.S. as compared to other types of electric utilities, including local control, low rates, high reliability, funding of other city services
- Correctly identify the techniques for documenting the public power utility’s financial value in comparison with investor-owned utilities and rural electric cooperatives, including payments to the general fund, in-kind services, utility rates differential, local control/local voice in setting rates/services, worth of the distribution system
- Design a public relations/communications strategy that includes dialogue between utility staff, policymakers, and customers
- List tools for boosting customer engagement in utility activities, such as website, newsletter, billboards, social media, community events, and surveys
Hometown Connections organizes its governance development consulting assignments, workshops, and courses around these primary topics—with ability to customize content to the needs of individual utilities, state association, or joint action agencies.
This session addresses how to assemble, onboard, and maintain a high performing board. Topics covered include:
- Succession planning
- Attracting viable board candidates
- Candidate orientation
- Orientation for new board members (and existing too!)
- Building a strong board culture
- Mechanics of a good board meeting
This session reviews the common requirements of most public power governing boards.
- Foundational information for the board
- Organization-specific: charter, by-laws
- Independent utility governing board: legal relationship and responsibilities to the government agency that formed the utility
- State-specific rules that may speak to open meetings and records, conflicts of interest, training required, potential PUC oversight, etc.
- Legal counsel
- Key Board Responsibilities
- Strategic planning
- Financial oversight and planning
The Voice of the Customer: The Board’s Role in Representing Owners, Customers and Other Stakeholders
This session covers how the utility governing board can establish itself as the proper voice of the organization’s customers/owners.
- How to “be” the voice of the customer on the board
- How to play a more active role in gathering the voice of the customer
- How to be a conduit of information between the customers/owners of the utility and the utility
- How to communicate effectively with elected and appointed officials in other agencies and levels of government
This session examines feedback mechanisms for the CEO and how the governing board can pursue continuous improvement for itself.
- Monitoring organizational performance
- Managing the CEO – Hiring, Firing and Management the Performance of the organization’s CEO
- Evaluating the CEO
- Self-assessment (and upward by CEO)
This session examines industry changes and how public power utilities are responding to the challenges they present. Governing board members in particular gain a strong appreciation for the critical role of effective governance in the face of these changes.
- Industry changes
- Legislative and legal
- Customer changes
- Workforce changes
- How public power utilities are responding to these changes
- The role of governing boards
- The need for community engagement
- The importance of Strategic Planning
This session reviews metrics and qualitative data to be able to identify and share with stakeholders the value municipal utilities provide to their local community and customers.
- Why is it important to understand the value of your public utility?
- Approach to identifying and tracking metrics
- Qualitative data related to the value of public power
- Challenges and opportunities to collect the data
- Telling your story