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OCR for page 14
14 SECTION 4 ADMINISTRATION OF SELF-ASSESSMENT Previous sections have emphasized that the format of the directors. Regardless of the means used to collect and com- self-assessment will likely be a function of board concerns pile results, there will need to be a person designated to col- about maintenance of confidentiality and the level of trust lect results who has the ability to remind directors of the sched- among directors (i.e., that there will not be any leakages of the ule for returning the completed assessment forms. Inevitably, results of the assessment outside of the board). The confiden- there will be a need for reminders and follow-up by the tiality and trust issues will likely be paramount in determining assessment leader. The reminders and follow-up should be the administration of the process with regard to (1) initiation consistent with the confidentiality requirements of the process and organization of the process, (2) leadership of process exe- (e.g., use of e-mail reminders would probably be inconsistent cution, (3) collection and compilation of results, (4) review with a completely confidential self-assessment). and discussion of results, and (5) follow-up (improvement actions). These aspects of the process are discussed in more Collection and compilation of results. The compilation of detail below. results can range from rough, disposable notes to analyses using statistical packages and supporting graphics. Board Initiation and organization of process. Anyone can initiate expressions of confidentiality will be influential in determin- the self-assessment process through access to the Handbook ing the level of detail of the presentation of the results. via TCRP, through referrals from other directors or boards, or through APTA industry affiliations (transit board member Review and discussion of results. Depending on confiden- seminars and workshops). Preferably, the entire board or sig- nificant portions of the leadership will have a mutual interest tiality limitations, the results may be reviewed at executive in pursuing the effectiveness assessment. However, ultimately, session, at a board retreat, in a seminar, and so forth. The one individual will normally introduce the concept, often by board should fully understand how susceptible any formal accessing the Handbook and bringing it up for board review results may be to being accessed through open sessions, sun- and discussion. The introduction of the Handbook may come shine laws, or FOIA stipulations before the results are com- from inside the board (chair, committee, or member), within piled. To a large degree, the interest of the board in the the board hierarchy (staff, if applicable), or outside the board assessment results will dictate how much time is devoted to (management or board consultant, advisor, mentor, etc.). The their review and discussion and whether an outside facilitator person who introduces the Handbook should be viewed as is used to guide the process. The board should consider the impartial and as not having an agenda that is outside of the most effective way to constructively present the results to the issues germane to board performance effectiveness. directors. This means considering whether the results should be presented in oral and/or written form and whether a desig- Leadership of process execution. The self-assessment process nated director (or directors) or an outside facilitator or confi- will require a designated leader to, at the very least, provide dant known and trusted by the board should do the presenta- self-assessment forms to the directors. A completely oral tion. In many respects, what the board does with the results in assessment process would not require any collection of writ- terms of review and discussion is the substance of the self- ten self-assessments from directors or associated compilation assessment process. The board should expect to devote a suf- of results, but only a discussion of the assessment criteria by ficient amount of time to the results of the self-assessment-- the board. For more formal assessments, in which directors an amount that is congruent with the expectations and the complete and submit written assessments (Level I, II, or III), level of detail of the assessment (Level I, II, or III). If the there will need to be a designated recipient. The recipient results of the self-assessment are not given an appropriate may or may not be responsible for compilation of the results, amount of review, the self-assessment can become an acad- depending on the formality of the process and the confiden- emic exercise that is devoid of value in assessing the board's tiality provisions in effect. For example, the recipient of the perceived effectiveness and its perception of where it needs self-assessments could be a designated staff member, but the to be in terms of considering steps (remedial actions) to compilation might be done by a director or subcommittee of improve board effectiveness.

OCR for page 14
15 Follow-up (improvement actions). Follow-up to the assess- fessional resources. More formal approaches to follow-up may ment is the responsibility of the board. There are a number of attract undesired public attention to the issue of concern; using follow-up alternatives described in the Handbook (refer to the industry initiatives (such as APTA transit board member sem- section above titled "What About Follow-Up to the Assess- inars, etc.) may address the concern more discreetly. The board ment?"). However, the key issue is that the board must collec- has a wide range of latitude to choose follow-up measures to tively come to an understanding of what kind of follow-up (if improve board effectiveness, including encouraging individ- any) it wishes to pursue. The board can pursue follow-up infor- ual directors to pursue self-study and attendance at transit mally in executive session--potentially aided by a standing or industry forums that are geared to policymaking oversight designated subcommittee--or through the use of outside, pro- bodies.