173-153-045  <<  173-153-050 >>   173-153-060

WAC 173-153-050

What are the training requirements for board commissioners and alternates?

What training is required for newly appointed board commissioners and alternates?
(1) Every commissioner and alternate of a board shall complete a training program provided by ecology:
(a) Before participating in any decision concerning a water right transfer application being considered by the board;
(b) Within one year of appointment to the board by the county legislative authority. If the training program is offered and is not completed within one year of appointment to the board, ecology may inform the county and request the county to seek the commissioner's resignation;
(c) Not more than one year prior to the commissioner's or alternate's appointment to the board by the county legislative authority. If the training program is completed by board administrative staff or other participating noncommissioners more than one year prior to subsequent appointment to the board, the commissioner will be required to repeat the training.
(2) Attendance at a training session for new commissioners shall be limited to board commissioners, their administrative staff, board alternates, and individuals providing training. Due to the complexity of the training and the need to provide adequate time to focus on questions from board commissioners, the number of participants attending each training session shall be left to the discretion of the water conservancy board coordinator. Training for new commissioners shall be scheduled depending on, but not limited to:
(a) Whether ecology has sufficient staffing resources to provide the necessary training; and/or
(b) Whether there are sufficient numbers of board commissioners and/or alternates needing training.
(3) Successful completion of the training program will:
(a) Consist of at least thirty-two hours of instruction, from or sponsored by ecology, regarding hydrology, state water law, state water policy, administrative and judicial case law developments, field practices, evaluation of existing water rights, and practical experience working with ecology staff on applications for water right transfers;
(b) Require demonstrating an understanding of course materials during training, and demonstrating sufficient mastery of the training curriculum through an examination administered by an ecology employee upon completion of training; and
(c) Only be recognized and tracked by ecology for appointed commissioners and alternates.
(4) If a board is restructured to modify the geographic area, the director may require additional training of all board commissioners.
(5) Upon a water conservancy board commissioner's or alternate's successful completion of the training, ecology will certify such completion in writing to the county or lead county of the geographic area served by the board. A copy of this letter shall also be sent to the board.
Are there continuing education requirements for board commissioners and alternates?
(6) After completing one year of service on a water conservancy board, each following year prior to the anniversary of their appointment date to the board, commissioners and alternates must complete an additional eight hours of continuing education provided or approved by ecology. Each commissioner and alternate shall complete the minimum continuing education requirement before participating in any decision concerning a water right transfer application being considered by a board.
(7) The anniversary date for a board commissioner or alternate serving on more than one board concurrently will be determined by the earliest of all combined board appointment dates.
(8) If less than six months has passed between the termination of service as a commissioner or alternate and appointment to any board as a commissioner or alternate, any current continuing education credit received during the last twelve months of the period of service with the previous board will apply to the new term under the new date of appointment in accordance with WAC 173-153-042. If a period of greater than six months has passed between the termination of service as a commissioner or alternate and appointment to any other board as a commissioner or alternate, any current continuing education credit received during the period of service with the previous board will not apply to the new term under the new date of appointment.
(9) Each board commissioner and alternate must ensure his or her own eligibility and remain current on continuing education. Eligibility of a board commissioner or alternate could become a basis for ecology's reversal of a record of decision or an appeal by a third party of ecology's final administrative order.
(10) Ecology may, at its discretion, and in response to requests, provide continuing education training periodically. Ecology may also combine training for more than one board. Attendance at continuing education sessions provided by ecology water resources program shall generally be limited to board commissioners, administrative staff to boards, board alternates, and individuals providing training. Ecology may, at its discretion, and in response to requests, invite other identified entities to participate in continuing education sessions.
How can a board commissioner or alternate receive credit for continuing education not provided or sponsored by ecology water resources program?
(11) Continuing education training requirements may be fulfilled through training not provided or sponsored by ecology's water resources program. However, such training will be accepted only if it is reported to ecology on a form provided by ecology and identified as the Water Conservancy Board Training Credit Request Form, form number 040-104, and approved at ecology's discretion.
(12) To receive continuing education credit for participating in a training activity sponsored by another entity other than ecology water resources program, a Water Conservancy Board Training Credit Request Form, form number 040-104:
(a) Must be used;
(b) Must be submitted to the water conservancy board coordinator at ecology;
(c) Must include all required information. If the form is incomplete, it will be returned to the commissioner or alternate requesting the credit;
(d) Must include documentation of course attendance. If attendance documentation is not provided, a written summary of the training activity and information learned must be included;
(e) Must provide enough information to justify the hours requested;
(f) Will only be accepted by ecology after completion of the commissioner's or alternate's participation in the training activity.
(13) The complete training credit request form identified under subsection (12) of this section will be reviewed as expeditiously as possible by ecology. The hours credited to the commissioner or alternate will be documented by ecology in a letter to the commissioner or alternate requesting the training credit. A copy of the letter will be sent to the ecology designated regional representative and the water conservancy board.
(14) The approved credit hours count toward a commissioner's or alternate's eligibility only upon the receipt by the commissioner or alternate of written confirmation from ecology.
(15) The hours credited in subsection (13) of this section are effective based on the date of the letter issued by ecology approving the training.
(16) Training means that the commissioner or alternate participates in a forum specifically intended for learning from another person such as an author, instructor, speaker, or presenter.
(17) Reasonable and appropriate continuing education subjects that directly relate to water conservancy board authorities and responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
(a) State water law;
(b) State water policy;
(c) Administrative and judicial case law developments;
(d) Field practices;
(e) Evaluation of existing water rights;
(f) Hydrology;
(g) Technical writing;
(h) Other related topics.
(18) Reasonable and appropriate continuing education activities that directly relate to water conservancy board authorities and responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
(a) Seminars;
(b) Conferences;
(c) Classes;
(d) Presentations given by others;
(e) Readings. Readings may include books on water resource issues or law, proceedings and papers associated with conferences related to subjects included in subsection (17) of this section;
(f) Field experiences; and
(g) Research completed for a presentation, speech, or instruction given by the board commissioner or alternate.
(19) Examples of activities not considered reasonable and appropriate continuing education include, but are not limited to:
(a) Meetings in which the commissioner or alternate acts as a member of a committee, or integral participant in proceedings, appeals, or litigation;
(b) Presentations, speeches, or instruction personally made by, or readings authored by, the commissioner or alternate requesting the training credit;
(c) Work done by a commissioner or alternate as part of the direct responsibilities of the water conservancy board such as:
(i) Field examinations;
(ii) Investigation of a water right change application;
(iii) Discussions of applications;
(iv) Technical assistance received specific to an application; and
(v) Litigation initiated by a water conservancy board, or a board commissioner or alternate or litigation initiated by an entity against the water conservancy board or board commissioner or alternate;
(d) Topics that do not directly relate to water conservancy board authorities and responsibilities.
(20) Board commissioners are encouraged to report to the water conservancy board coordinator all relevant continuing education received. Ecology will track all training received and reported by board commissioners and alternates as required in subsections (11) through (19) of this section. Any continuing education hours received and reported beyond the required eight hours annually will be documented and kept on file at ecology. Continuing education in excess of the required eight hours cannot be carried over to the next year.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 90.80.040. WSR 06-18-102 (Order 05-18), § 173-153-050, filed 9/6/06, effective 10/7/06; WSR 03-01-039 (Order 01-13), § 173-153-050, filed 12/9/02, effective 1/9/03. Statutory Authority: Chapter 90.80 RCW. WSR 99-23-101 (Order 98-11), § 173-153-050, filed 11/17/99, effective 12/18/99.]
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