The Board, the Director and Staff Communications
Arizona law is clear in placing all administrative responsibilities for the department with the director. The board, however, is advisory to the director, and its members represent an important "conduit" to the director for observations and matters arising in the individual board districts. Board members can also assist the department in sharing their knowledge of board and department policies and functions with the public as well as relaying accurate information on current issues.
Operational, nonpolicy matters that have been brought to the members' attention may be referred to the director, deputy director, the assistant directors in charge of the divisions or the district engineer. It is recommended that contact not be made below these levels. Care should be taken to avoid implying board authority in these contacts on operational matters.
Board members should contact the director with comments and requests for information or to discuss issues. The term "director" here includes the director and his or her immediate staff of deputy director and assistant to the State Transportation Board. By directing matters to the director or the director's immediate staff, a board member can be sure the director's office will coordinate and follow through.
Board members should be aware of the unique needs for information and closer contact between the board member and the district engineer in the nonmetropolitan districts. A board member appearing before a local group, for instance, can be sure questions of an operational nature will arise from the group; therefore, the board member should feel free to invite the district engineer as a resource for answering operational questions. Board members can transmit correspondence on either board or operational matters to the director's office for the drafting of responses. On board matters, unless the member desires otherwise, the response will be researched and the member will be telephoned to approve the drafted reply before it is mailed. Copies will be provided to the responding board member, the chair or others as appropriate to the subject matter. When letters involving operational matters addressed to a board member are received in the director's office, a courtesy acknowledgment will be prepared for the member, followed by a reply from the director, deputy director or appropriate division head.
Any written communication a board member wishes to originate may be sent to the director's office for final preparation and forwarding. Members sending letters directly from their own private offices may use the director's office as a distribution point for copying others, such as the chair or fellow board members.
Historically, it has been the policy of the board that when using board stationery to express personal views, members clearly indicate the stated opinions are their own and not necessarily the official position of the State Transportation Board. It has also been the general rule that communications sent to the board will be answered by the chair on behalf of all members, unless decided otherwise in specific situations. Where policy matters not as yet discussed by the board are involved, any substantive response will be delayed until discussions can take place.