Board Member Resources

Required Training for Board Members

Frequency: every two years

Ethics AB1234 

The basic thrust of AB 1234 is to require covered officials to take two hours of training in ethics principles and laws every two years. 

  1. Requirements applies to those elected or appointed officials who are compensated for their service or reimbursed for their expenses.
  2. The agency either compensates or reimburses expenses for members of any of its Brown Act covered bodies. If it does, then all elected and appointed “local agency officials” (as defined) must receive this training.
  3. “Local agency official” means any member of a legislative body or any elected local agency official who receives compensation or expense reimbursement.
  4. Those beginning service after January 1, 2006. Those who enter office after January 1, 2006 must receive the training within a year of starting their service. They must then receive the training every two years after that. 

Harassment Prevention Training

Additional Resource
Understanding the Basics of Public Service Ethics Laws

Best Practices for Board Members

Subject Areas: Finance, Brown Act, CA Public Records Act, and Liability
Recommended Frequency: at least once - repeat as needed with changes and updates to the law

Introduction to Special District Finances for Board Members

As a board member / trustee, your responsibilities include providing fiscal oversight of the special district's finances. This course will help you fulfill these responsibilities by providing you with the knowledge and tools you need to gain a better understanding of the flow of a special district's day-to-day transactions, accounting systems, and financial statements.

Brown Act Compliance 

This webinar will provide education for public officials and employees at all levels about the legal requirements and procedures to ensure public business is conducted in full compliance with California's transparency laws. Attendees will learn the Brown Act's requirements concerning agendas, meeting procedures, public participation and permissible closed session exceptions. Attendees will also learn about potential pitfalls that may lead to inadvertent violations as a result of the use of email, text messaging and social media as well as emerging issues and legislative updates.

CA Public Records Act

If you are involved with a special district, you need to understand the scope and application of the California Public Records Act (CPRA) to your agency’s records, including best practices for records retention as well as responding to public records requests. We will cover the key aspects of the CPRA, including when an applicable exemption may give an agency the right to not disclose a particular record or portion of a record. There will also be updates on recent developments in the interpretation and application of the CPRA.

Understanding Board Member & District Liability Issues

Having a complete understanding of the potential liability issues in your district can prevent problems in the future and even assist with efficiency and communication protocols. This webinar is a discussion of the legal role of the Board in the management and operation of a public agency and the role of individual Board members acting within the course and scope of their official duties.

On-Demand Webinars

Select from the list of webinars based on the needs of your district  and/or personal professional development. 

  • Accessing Legislative & Outreach Information
  • CA’s Broad Conflict of Interest Law and How to Avoid It
  • Completing Your Statement of Economic Interest - Form 700
  • Election Law Compliance: The Rising Tide of CVRA Claims
  • Exercising Legislative Authority
  • Fraud Environment - Tips for Detection and Controls Survey
  • General Manager Evaluations
  • Getting Oriented: Resources for New Board Members
  • Intro to Special District Finance for Board Members
  • Public Engagement and Budgeting
  • Understanding Board & District Liability Issues 2020
  • Who Does What? Best Practices in Board/Staff Relations


Additional Resources

Mission Critical

Frequency: Special District Leadership Academy - first-time track, should be completed within your first year in office. Returning tracks of the academy should be taken as you are able in order to keep current and dive deeper into governance issues.

Special District Leadership Academy Conference

A 2.5-day conference held twice a year that focuses exclusively on the role of the board and an effective governance team. Attendees will learn:

  • Working as a team: The roles of the board and staff in your district.
  • Attributes and characteristics of highly effective boards.
  • How culture, norms, values, and operating styles influence the district.
  • Specific jobs that the board must perform.
  • How individual values, skills, and knowledge help to shape how effective boards operate.
  • The importance of moving from “I” to “we” as the governance team.
  • The board’s role in setting direction for the district.
  • The board’s role in finance and fiscal accountability.


Additional Resources


Earn your SDLF Certificate in Special District Governance

Complete the Special District Leadership Academy Conference (first-time track) plus ten additional hours of continuing education from CSDA (or any other state-wide association specializing in local government) within two years.

Button 1          Button 2           Button 3

Visit our YouTube Channel



Brown Act Guide

This manual provides special districts with guidelines and tips for complying with the various meeting agenda, notice, public participation, and public reporting requirements of the Brown Act. Districts are permitted to and should consider adopting local policies that exceed the minimum requirements of the Brown Act in terms of providing greater public access and openness to district business.

Publications & Reference Materials

Find valuable guides and documents in this free resources library:

View Library

CSDA Special District Board Member Handbook

The California Special Districts Association (CSDA) provides special districts with resources – educational opportunities, information sharing, and advocacy services – to improve and support the important function of local government. We are dedicated to the success of special districts of all types and sizes and serve almost 1300 members statewide.

Board Members should take advantage of the CSDA Special District Board Member Handbook, full of  information officials need to be effective and productive leaders in the community.