District of Distinction FAQs

Who is considered “executive staff?”
Generally, this will include the General Manager of the district. Any other staff members that the district deems as “executive staff” would also need to meet the requirements of this accreditation.

Which courses qualify for the six-hour governance training?
Through the California Special Districts Association (CSDA), any one of the four modules of the Special District Leadership Academy would satisfy this requirement. Those include: Governance Foundations, Setting Direction/Community Leadership, Board’s Role in Finance & Fiscal Accountability, and Board’s Role in Human Resources. Attendance at the CSDA Special District Leadership Academy Conference satisfies this requirement as well.

In addition, Board Member Best Practices (3 hours) plus two approved webinars will satisfy this requirement. Approved webinars are: Board Member and District Liability Issues; Must Have Communication Protocols for Board & Staff; and Who Does What? Best Practices in Board Staff Relations. CSDA has offered a “How to be an Effective Board Member” workshop and an “Introduction to Good Governance Principles” workshop in the past; either of those would satisfy the Governance training requirement as well.

If our district is up for reaccreditation, do we need to have the Board and executive staff retake a governance course?
Any Board members or staff who have already completed a governance course to qualify for a past accreditation in this program will not have to retake the course if they still remain on the board or as a staff member of the same district at the time of reaccreditation. Only new board or staff members would have to take a six-hour governance course if they have not taken one within the last five years.

What proof does the district need to submit for CA State Controller reporting compliance?
A screen shot of the information on the CA State Controller’s webpage would be sufficient.

Transparency Certificate of Excellence FAQs

Where can I find the overview checklist for the Community Transparency Review?
Districts that choose to utilize the Community Transparency Review option for one of their two Outreach/Best Practices Requirements may use the same checklist that lists the requirements for this program. The individual/agency the district chooses will audit all of the required materials the district will ultimately submit to SDLF for review. SDLF will then need a brief statement on the individual/agency’s letterhead or via email stating they have reviewed the district’s materials and are recommending them for approval.

What if the district does not have a policy document for required subject matter but the information is included in the district Bylaws?
SDLF requires the district to have a policy document (either a Board approved policy or resolution) for the following: compliance with the Brown Act, Public Records Act requests, reimbursements, conflict of interest, code of ethics/values/norms or Board conduct, and one for financial reserves. If the district does not have one of these as a policy document they will have to develop one in order to satisfy the program requirements.

Can our district submit Form 700 information for the Annual Disclosure of Board member or employee reimbursements requirement?
Unfortunately not. The Form 700 would only capture “reportable” gifts and travel that an elected official may receive from a third-party that are submitted to the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). The Annual Disclosure report is an internally created document that is published annually and is a public record available for public access, for reimbursements that a district provides.

What is an Authorizing Statute/Enabling Act (Principle Act or Special Act)?
Authorizing Statute - A statute by which the Legislature gives an agency certain responsibilities and authority.
Enabling Act - A statute empowering a person or body to take certain action, especially to make regulations, rules, or orders.
For this item we are looking for mention of the legislation that the district was formed under (mention of the government code). The district may either include a link to the full legislation on its website or include the government code under “history” or the “about us” section, for example.

Can our district only submit a Board agenda showing that we will be discussing the budget for the Annual Informational Public Budget Hearing item?
Districts that choose to utilize this option as one of their two Outreach/Best Practices Requirements would need to submit materials in addition to their Board agenda (i.e. press release to a local publication or direct mail piece to the district’s constituents informing them of the budget hearing). For this item SDLF would like to see districts going above and beyond the legal requirement of only posting the agenda when outreaching to the public.

Can you please send me examples of policy documents that other districts have submitted?
For examples of all the policy documents that are required as well as some of the Outreach/Best Practices Requirements on the Transparency Certificate of Excellence page on the SDLF please email Amber Phelen, Program Assistant.

Policy Documents

What are examples of policy documents that other districts have submitted?

Take a look at examples of all the policy documents that are required as well as some of the Outreach/Best Practices Requirements.