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Sample group charter

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[PROJECT]
Advisory Group Charter

Purpose

The [WORKING GROUP] will develop a Purpose and Need statement for the [PROJECT] and identify multiple alternatives that address that purpose and need. 

The [WORKING GROUP] will also help the project team in selecting the wisest course of action and preferred alternative. The preferred alternative will reflect consideration of various community goals, issues, environmental factors and concerns, and find the appropriate balance among competing interests.

Advisory Group Goals

Advise [CONVENER] about key aspects of the project, provide a community perspective on key considerations, and be a sounding board for project deliverables.

Work towards consensus among [WORKING GROUP] members on the desired project goals, alternatives, construction phasing, and mitigation measures to include in the EIS.

Project Outcome

The process will be considered a success if:

  • The [WORKING GROUP] establishes clear, consensus‐based recommendations on the best alternatives to include in the EIS;
  • The public is engaged in a meaningful way in evaluating the proposed project alternatives and in reviewing and commenting on the project EIS;
  • Project decisions fit into the context of the surrounding communities and recognize and respect the unique transportation needs along the corridor;
  • The project schedule takes the least amount of time and makes the most effective use of limited project funding;
  • Appropriate regulatory and government agency staff is involved throughout the process to avoid surprises that lead to delays.

Terms of membership

Members agree to volunteer until the initiation of the EIS environmental review process and possibly through the EIS process.

A member’s position on the [WORKING GROUP] may be declared vacant if the member:

  • Resigns from the [WORKING GROUP] (this should be in writing and forwarded to the [CONVENER])
  • Fails to attend more than two meetings without prior notice

In a case where a member’s position is declared vacant, the [CONVENER] may appoint an alternative representative from the same interest group to fill the position.

Advisory Group Operating Guidelines

Convening of Meetings

  • Meetings will be held at the time and place chosen by the [WORKING GROUP] in the course of their meetings.
  • It is anticipated that there will be [INSERT NUMBER] meetings leading up to the official opening of the environmental impact statement preparation process. Once the EIS is underway, it is anticipated that the group will meet quarterly.
  • [WORKING GROUP] members will be informed of meetings through email or direct mail, depending on his/her preference, at least two weeks prior to the meeting. 

Communication

  • Meetings will be advertised in the [LIST MEDIA AND/OR LOCATION].
  • Project documents and notices will be posted on the project website.
  • Email: [CONVENER] should be copied on all correspondence, and if [CONVENER] chooses to open a dialogue via email, all [WORKING GROUP] members will be copied. 

Conduct of meetings

  • Meetings will be open to all.
  • Meetings will be facilitated.
  • Informed alternates are acceptable and encouraged if the [WORKING GROUP] member cannot attend.
  • All cell phones will be turned off during the meetings.
  • After all meeting agenda items have been addressed, time will be provided for non members in attendance to voice their opinions.
  • Meetings will end with a clear understanding of expectations and assignments for next steps.
  • Meetings are expected to be two to three hours and not exceed  three hours. Extension of time, in 15 minute increments, will require the consent of the majority of members attending that meeting. Consensus will be indicated with a show of hands.
  • The consultant will keep a record of meeting attendees, key issues raised, and actions required. Comments from individual members will generally not be attributed and a verbatim record of the meeting will not be prepared.
  • The previous meeting record and a meeting agenda will be forwarded to members of the [WORKING GROUP] at least one week before the next meeting. Any changes to the record of the past meetings shall be in writing and forwarded to the [CONVENER] prior to the next meeting.

Meeting Ground Rules

  • Speak one at a time – refrain from interrupting others.
  • Wait to be recognized by facilitator before speaking.
  • Facilitator will call on people who have not yet spoken before calling on someone a second time for a given subject.
  • Share the oxygen – ensure that all members who wish to have an opportunity to speak are afforded a chance to do so.
  • Maintain a respectful stance toward towards all participants.
  • Listen to other points of view and try to understand other interests.
  • Share information openly, promptly, and respectfully.
  • If requested to do so, hold questions to the end of each presentation.
  • Make sure notes taken on newsprint are accurate.
  • Remain flexible and open‐minded, and actively participate in meetings.

Roles and Responsibilities

THE [WORKING GROUP] is an advisory group to [CONVENER]:

[WORKING GROUP] members agree to:

  • Provide specific local expertise, including identifying emerging local issues;
  • Review project reports and comment promptly;
  • Attend all meetings possible and prepare appropriately;
  • Complete all necessary assignments prior to each meeting;
  • Relay information to their constituents after each meeting and gather information/feedback from their constituents as practicable before each meeting;
  • Articulate and reflect the interests that advisory group members bring to the table;
  • Maintain a focus on solutions that benefit the entire study area;
  • Present its recommendations for the project at the end of the planning process. The presentation would include subjects such as: project’s Purpose and Need Statement, alternatives to be studied in the EIS, mitigation measures, and phasing plan. The [WORKING GROUP] shall select from among its members a presenter or team of presenters.

[CONVENER] and the consultant team agree to:

  • Provide [WORKING GROUP] members the opportunity to collaborate with other agencies and groups on making recommendations for the project;
  • Effectively manage the scope, schedule and budget;
  • Keep [WORKING GROUP] partners informed of progress;
  • Provide documentation to support recommendations;
  • Provide technical expertise;
  • Brief local decision makers and produce briefing materials and reports;
  • Provide early notification of [WORKING GROUP] meetings and provide ten working days to review and comment on technical reports and other documents;
  • Conduct public meetings necessary to inform and engage the community.
  • Manage logistics for meetings; and
  • Explain the reasons when deviations are taken from [WORKING GROUP] recommendations. 

Communication

[WORKING GROUP] members will be informed of meetings through email or direct mail, depending on his/her preference, at least two weeks prior to the meeting.

  • Meetings will be advertised in the [LIST MEDIA AND/OR LOCATION].
  • Project documents and notices will be posted on the project website.
  • Email: [CONVENER] should be copied on all correspondence, and if [CONVENER] chooses to open a dialogue via email, all [WORKING GROUP] members will be copied.

Decision Making

The [WORKING GROUP] is primarily advisory. In those areas where it has some decision‐making authority, members will strive to reach agreement by consensus at a level that indicates that all partners are willing to “live with” the proposed action. Partners will strive to work expeditiously and try to avoid revisiting decisions once made. If agreement cannot be reached on a particular issue, [CONVENER] will retain final decision‐making authority.

Conflict Resolution

When an issue arises that cannot be easily resolved, [WORKING GROUP] members agree to:

  • Remember that controversial projects are unlikely to receive funding, so the intent of all parties is to resolve issues so the project can be funded.
  • Determine if the issue should be resolved within or outside of the [WORKING GROUP] and participate however is appropriate.
  • Ensure the appropriate decision makers are at the table to resolve the issue.

Download Sample Group Charter

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