Affiliate Guidelines

(As last approved on March 19, 2004)

The Texas Municipal League Board of Directors approved this set of criteria and related guidelines to assist both current and prospective affiliated organizations in determining how best each can become more effective partners with the League in bringing about improved city government in Texas. Adherence to all affiliate conditions, criteria, and guidelines (except the conditions related to legislative activities) is voluntary.

 

General, Voluntary Conditions

  • An affiliated organization in the League would be limited to groups representing professional associations – as opposed to cities, special districts, consultants, and others.
  • An affiliated organization would be statewide in nature to avoid servicing regional groups that may from time to time form around particular regional issues.
  • An affiliated organization would agree to promote the overall purposes and goals established in the TML Constitution.
  • An affiliated organization would have a budget and financial structure capable of supporting its envisioned activities.
  • An affiliated organization would consist of members representing a reasonable percentage of the organization’s membership market to ensure a minimum level of support for requested services.
  • An affiliated organization would be approved by the TML Board and such affiliated status continued until terminated by the affiliate or the TML Board.
  • An affiliated organization would serve as an ancillary advisory body complementing TML’s overall services plan.
  • An affiliated organization would recognize that a specific program, activity, or service it designs or initiates for use by its respective members, but which may have potential value for use by other TML members, should be made available to TML on a cooperative, non-profit basis.
  • An affiliated organization would agree that it should coordinate current and proposed services with TML.
  • An affiliated organization would identify, on its stationery and other communications, that it is affiliated with the Texas Municipal League; use of the TML logo and name would require prior TML Board approval (See condition #5 under Legislative Activities on this page.)
  • An affiliated organization would agree to have a constitution and bylaws.
  • An affiliated organization would agree to have an annual financial statement, preferably by an outside auditor, which is shared with the affiliate’s governing body, the affiliate’s membership, and the TML staff.
  • An affiliated organization would agree to encourage high professional ethical standards among its membership.

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Mandatory Conditions Related to Legislative Activities

  • An affiliate may not adopt or advance any policy position, legislative or otherwise, which is contrary to TML’s policy position. Before an affiliate adopts or advances any position, it must take actions to ensure that such position is not contrary to TML policy.
  • An affiliate may, when requested or at its own initiative, communicate its priority legislative issues to TML at any time, so that those issues can become part of the deliberations of the TML legislative policy committees. However, each affiliate that in any manner adopts a legislative program or a list of legislative priorities, by action of its officers, board, a committee, or membership, must provide such information to the Executive Director of TML no later than ten days prior to the TML Board meeting that immediately precedes the beginning of a regular legislative session.
  • An affiliate should, when requested or at its own initiative, nominate members of its affiliate group to serve on the TML legislative policy committees.
  • If an affiliate works for the defeat or passage of any legislation which is not specifically addressed in the TML legislative program, the affiliate shall not use letterhead stationery or other means of communication which state or indicate an affiliation with TML and shall not state that it represents, is represented by, is affiliated with, or is part of the TML. It is the responsibility of the affiliate to ascertain TML’s position on any legislation or proposed legislation on which the affiliate wishes to adopt a position. This policy controls, regardless of affiliate guidelines which may seem to be contradictory.
  • An affiliate should seek input from the TML staff before the affiliate decides to give an award to any member of the Texas Legislature. An affiliate must inform the TML staff of any decision to give such an award prior to the time the award is given and must provide to TML any press releases or other information concerning the award.
  • An affiliate should seek input from the TML staff before the affiliate decides to retain a lobbyist. An affiliate must inform the TML staff of any decision to retain a lobbyist and must provide the lobbyist’s name. The affiliate should encourage its lobbyist to regularly communicate with the TML staff.
  • An affiliate must immediately inform the TML staff of any decision to make a political contribution and the amount of the contribution to any campaign for a state-level office.

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Conditions Related to Sponsorship Activities

  • No service of the Texas Municipal League may be provided by an affiliate in exchange for receiving sponsorship revenue for the affiliate. This includes providing publications, magazine advertising, reduced rates for TML service, and so on.
  • No TML staff member may solicit sponsorships for an affiliate.
  • Affiliate groups must not represent that the sponsor for an affiliate group is in any way connected to the Texas Municipal League.

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Voluntary Criteria and Guidelines

Criterion I – Purposes, Goals, and Objectives

An affiliate should have a clear, written statement of its purposes, goals, and objectives, and it should demonstrate the manner in which it intends to fulfill its purposes and goals both now and in the future.

Guidelines

  • The purposes and goals should be clear and declare a positive mission.
  • The statement should express an attitude of concern for the local government enterprise and a willingness to enhance the overall effectiveness of local government through the affiliate’s related products and services.
  • The affiliate should have plans for meeting its goals based on a set of periodic reviews and procedures for adapting its goals to changing conditions.
  • The statement of its purposes should be in a form that can be readily provided to its members and interested others.
  • The responsibilities of the governing body and committees should reflect the purposes and goals of the affiliate.
  • There should be proof in the form of written objectives, programs, justified operational assignments, and target dates that the activities and programs conform to the stated purposes.
  • There should be a stated willingness to have periodic review of its progress toward purposes as well as goals and objectives by the governing body, committees, and TML.

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Criterion II – Governing Bodies, Officers, and Directors

The governing body of the affiliate should represent all major interests of the membership. The roles of the officers should be clearly defined, and the manner in which they are fulfilling their function should be demonstrated. There should be an ongoing effort to elevate minority members to leadership positions.

Guidelines

  • The election procedures should provide for a rotating, representative governing body.
  • The duties and responsibilities of the voluntary leadership should be published and available to the membership.
  • The issue of indemnification of officers, directors, and other representatives of the affiliate should be addressed.
  • The agenda and related source materials should be distributed sufficiently in advance of board and committee meetings to the appropriate affiliate officers and TML staff.
  • The minutes of the governing body should be prepared and distributed promptly to the appropriate affiliate officers and TML staff.
  • The membership, within the affiliate, should be made aware of pending meetings of the governing body and timely informed afterward of policy decisions and related actions.
  • There should be an ongoing effort to elevate minority members to leadership positions, including the affiliate’s seat on the TML Board.

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Criterion III–  Organizational Structure and Documents

The affiliate should have a constitution and bylaws, or equivalent documents, and demonstrate that it operates in keeping with these documents. It should show that its documents are periodically reviewed, are consistent with one another, and revised when necessary.

Guidelines

  • The relationship between the governing body, committees, and staff should be specifically delineated.
  • There should be an organizational chart or other documentation showing functional relationships between the affiliate’s officers, committees, membership, and TML.
  • The composition, specific missions, reporting relationships, and responsibilities of affiliate committees should be in written form and updated periodically.
  • There should be a practical procedure for amending the constitution and bylaws which involves the affiliate’s membership and seeks approval of the TML Executive Director.

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Criterion IV – Programs, Services, and Activities

There should be evidence that the affiliate intends for its programs, services, and activities to meet member needs. The affiliate should demonstrate that it will elicit feedback from its members of its programs and services and will encourage involvement in the evaluation and planning of these programs and services.

Guidelines

  • The affiliate should annually prepare a written plan of activities for the year ahead.
  • The affiliate should take into consideration the fiscal resources necessary to implement its goals.
  • The affiliate should plan sufficiently in advance to ensure its ability to fulfill its purposes in the long term.
  • The affiliate should strive for member participation in its activities and attempt to utilize its volunteers.
  • The governing body of the affiliate should utilize member feedback in shaping its programs, services, and activities.

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Criterion V – Financial Planning and Reporting

Financial planning should relate directly to the affiliate’s programming. The affiliate should present evidence of fiscal controls and a disclosure reporting system.

Guidelines

  • The dues, fees, and rates should be periodically adjusted to the short- and long-term needs of the affiliate.
  • The affiliate should have realistic plans for developing income and controlling costs.
  • The affiliate should have a reserve or contingency fund.
  • The affiliate should have an accounting system adequate for its size and complexity.
  • There should be evidence of prudent internal fiscal controls.
  • There should be a provision made for the accurate and timely preparation of important reports, including state and federal tax reports and others.
  • There should be evidence that periodic income/expense statements, including comparisons to current budget, are analyzed by the appropriate officials and shared with the affiliate board and TML.

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Criterion VI – Membership Development and Retention

The affiliate should demonstrate that it has an effective and continuing program of membership retention and recruitment, and an effective and ongoing effort to recruit minority members.

Guidelines

  • There should be funds for membership development and retention in the affiliate’s budget.
  • The affiliate should have a realistic appraisal of its potential for membership growth over the next two years.
  • There should be a marketing plan for new membership development and current membership retention.
  • A list of prospective members should be maintained and updated by the affiliate.
  • There should be established procedures for the proper handling of membership inquiries or requests.
  • There should be an established procedure for identifying and recruiting minority members.

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Criterion VII – Communications

The affiliate should demonstrate that its internal and external communications are commensurate with membership needs.

Guidelines

  • Through a calendar of events or by other means, the affiliate should prepare and publish its plans for the year ahead.
  • The affiliate should define its publics and devise effectual means for maintaining credibility with each.
  • The affiliate should maintain liaison with other groups in related fields with the primary objective of developing mutual understanding.
  • The elected leadership of the affiliate should regularly inform the membership on affiliate-related news and major professional developments.
  • The affiliate should consciously strive to build and maintain a favorable image within appropriate professional circles.
  • The affiliate should cooperate with the media and work together with the League on how best to respond to media requests.

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