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Director Elections

Seeking Candidates for Board Membership

MSWCD Zone Map

a map of the zones of Marion SWCD. different zones are shaded different colors of blue.

The Marion Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Directors (Board) is comprised of seven Directors. Marion SWCD is divided into five zones as shown in the map at left. Each Zone is represented by a Zone Director position; the other two Director positions are At Large and represent the entire MSWCD. Each Director is elected by the registered voters of the district to serve a four-year term. The MSWCD has four Director positions up for election in 2024: Zones 1, 2, 4, and At Large 1.

Director Eligibility

SB775 changed the eligibility for zone directors in all of Oregon’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD). The law took effect January 1, 2024. The full text of SB 775 can be found here. In the past a zone director could reside anywhere within the district if they owned or managed 10-acres or more within the zone they represented. As a result of SB 775 now all zone directors must live in the zone that they represent. The other change in law affects districts in counties with a population over 250,000. In these counties (Marion included), zone directors no longer need to meet the 10-acre land ownership or management criteria. The zone directors in these counties only need to meet the registered voter and residence requirement as quoted above.

Check with the MSWCD office to determine if you are eligible for an At Large position or a Zone position. Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) will review the information provided on the Declaration of Candidacy form to ensure the candidate qualifies for the position.

At Large Director Requirements

  • Must reside within the boundaries of the MSWCD.
  • Must be a registered voter in that District.

Zone Director Requirements

  • Must reside within the zone they represent in the MSWCD.
  • Must be a registered voter in that District.

Invitation to Attend Board Meetings

We recommend attending a Board meeting or two prior to deciding to be a candidate to understand what Director duties entail. Meetings are held the first Wednesday of the month from 6:30 to 9:00 PM. Check the events calendar on the MSWCD website (www.marionswcd.net/events/) for meeting dates and information to attend.

Impacts of Service

Community Service

Members of the public have a real impact on the services provided by conservation districts. Board members extend the reach of the MSWCD; a board rich in skillsets, perspectives, identities, and lived experiences can help the organization develop programs and services that meet the conservation needs and interests of the wide range of community members found in Marion County.

Legal Compliance

A board member of Marion SWCD serves on a seven-member Board of Directors (Board) and is responsible for conducting the business of the MSWCD in compliance with Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 568. The Board has the legislative authority and power to establish policies and procedures that are in the best interest of the residents it serves. The Board ensures that the District achieves its mission in an ethical, transparent, accountable, and prudent manner.

Strategic Impact

Individually, Directors do not have any power, but acting collectively the Board of Directors works to create a positive impact on the community. Together, the Board makes decisions and sets policy at a strategic level through participation in Board meetings, strategic planning sessions, and committee assignments. Board members also do the following:

  • Attend the Board meeting held on the first Wednesday of each month (sometimes special meetings can be held to address specific issues).
  • Serve on committees.
  • Review and adopt the annual budget.
  • Approve financial reports.
  • Set goals and evaluate progress towards those goals.
  • Hire and evaluate the District Manager.
  • Connect with the community – attend community events as a representative of the District to learn what community members’ conservation needs and interests are and share that information with MSWCD staff.

Time Commitment

Directors attend monthly board meetings, which typically last 3 hours. They spend about 1.5 hours per month reading board meeting packets and associated materials. In addition to board meetings, all Directors are members of the Budget Committee, which usually meets once and sometimes twice a year. The majority of Directors also participate in other committees, which hold at least six 1-hour meetings per year. In addition to these duties, Directors are invited to participate in the District’s education and outreach events. The total time commitment ranges from 72-88 hr/yr (6-8 hr/mo).

Why Serve on the Marion SWCD Board?

How Service Benefits You

  • Reap the rewards of being part of a diverse and collaborative team, where Directors and staff value the roles, perspectives, and skill sets each member brings to the table.
  • Gain experience in government and leadership that can translate into other potential career or political opportunities.
  • Stay informed on current conservation concerns and ecological science.
  • Attend trainings to understand Director responsibilities and build skills.
  • Receive the personal satisfaction of community service: The MSWCD’s purpose is to help community members access the tools and information they need to conserve natural resources.
  • Get to know us better. Board members become familiar with MSWCD programs and initiatives and feel competent to speak about MSWCD programs with their constituents.

How Your Service Adds Value to Marion SWCD

  • Help the MSWCD extend its reach – the diverse perspectives of new Directors help MSWCD more effectively address the needs and interests of those we serve.
  • We can’t operate without elected Directors who are willing to volunteer their time and talents.
  • Your service helps ensure MSWCD programs are informed by diverse voices and accessible to a wide range of community members. This can mean the conventional measures of diversity and the value of having a variety of perspectives and experiences on farming practices and ecological science.
  • While we provide the community with conservation services, our organization is strengthened by having Directors with skill sets in financial and business management, human resources, public service, education, community organizing, diversity, equity, and inclusion and other knowledge and skills sets.

Election Process

Board members can either be 1) elected or 2) appointed.  Unfilled, open positions may be filled by appointment; all other Zone and At Large director positions are filled by election.

1) Election

If you are interested in running for election you need to complete the following steps.

Step 1: Declaration of Candidacy and Petition for Nomination

First gather the required documents from the Oregon Department of Agriculture election page website (Declaration of Candidacy and Petition for Nomination). Circulate the petition for 10 or more signatures among registered voters who reside in the district. Candidates are advised to obtain more than the required number of signatures to ensure the petition contains the required 10 valid signatures of registered voters who reside within the district. Candidates must complete all fields and sign the Declaration of Candidacy for Director form and Petition for Nomination signature sheet, then submit to the County election office for certification. Office is located at 555 Court St NE 2nd Floor Suite 2130, Salem, OR 97301.

Step 2: Submit Declaration and Petition for Nomination to ODA

File the Declaration of Candidacy for Director form and the certified Petition for Nomination signature sheet with the Oregon Department of Agriculture SWCD Election Clerk, Sandi Hiatt, at Sandi.Hiatt@oda.oregon.gov beginning July 18, 2024, but no later than 5:00 p.m. on August 27, 2024. Documents received before July 18, 2024 will be returned to the candidate. Electronic submission (e-mail) is the best. Call the phone number 503.986.4704 to submit in person. ODA will review the information provided to ensure the candidate qualifies for the position.

For More Information

2) Appointment

Vacant Zone and At large Positions

When an applicant wishes to fill a vacant position, they must submit an Application for Appointment. The board will review the application(s), and if necessary, conduct interviews.  A decision will be made at a board meeting.  If you are selected, you will be sworn in at your first meeting.

Associate Directors

Associate Directors are appointed by the Board. Associate Directors do not vote on board decisions. However, they can augment the board’s knowledge and experience level as well as assist with programs and activities. Anyone can apply to serve as an associate director at any time. If you are interested in becoming an associate director, you must attend 3 board meetings. An Associate Director serves until January 1 in odd numbered years. Every two years, the District Board of Directors re-appoints those directors who are interested in continuing and who have contributed sufficiently to the district’s conservation efforts.

A conservation district’s capabilities are expanded by Associate Directors. Associate Directors are appointed by the Board. Although Associate Directors do not vote on board decisions, they add value to Board decisions by sharing their knowledge and experience. Associates can also help with District committees and report back information gathered while attending the meetings of our many community partners. An Associate Director serves until January 1 in odd numbered years. Every two years, the District Board re-appoints those associate directors who are interested in continuing and who have contributed sufficiently to the district’s conservation efforts.

Contact Us

If you would like to learn more about the Board of Directors or have interest in serving as a Director, reach out to the District Manager.

Brenda Sanchez
District Manager
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