A free, two-hour training session designed to improve the quality of both non-profit and governmental boards will be offered in Decorah Thursday, Dec. 13.

The session, which is sponsored by Winneshiek County Development Inc., will be led by Jeff Schott of the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA,) which is affiliated with the University of Iowa. The training will be from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, at Decorah City Hall. Schott is director of the IPA.

Participants from non-profit boards may learn answers to the following questions:

• How should a nonprofit board of directors be structured?

• How can we contribute to effective board organization?

• How large should our board be?

• What should be the length of a board member's term?

• What committees should our board have?

• Should the executive director be a member of the board?

Waterman Center

The Institute of Public Affairs is closely aligned with the Larned A. Waterman Iowa Nonprofit Resource Center (INRC,) which seeks to build the capacity and develop the effectiveness of community-based organizations and enhance the overall effectiveness of local organizations in building communities.

The training session will also discuss:

• Board duties and responsibilities

• Policy development and analysis

• Policy and program evaluation and oversight

• Strategies for enhancing board effectiveness

• Board orientation

• Teamwork

• Decision-making

• Questions to ask as board members

Open meetings

The government side of the training will include information about the Iowa Open Meetings Law, public records law, gift law, conflicts-of-interest, purchasing and contracts and other important laws.

Session leader

Schott, the training leader, has been director of the Institute of Public Affairs since 2006. He was the city manager for the city of Marion from 1987-2006, and before that served as Marion's community development director.

Schott served on the executive board of the Iowa League of Cities from 2000-04 and received the Iowa League of Cities Hall of Fame award in 2011 for outstanding service to the League and municipal governments throughout the state. He also received the State of Iowa Governor's Leadership Award in 1983.

He has been a featured presenter regarding local government issues and concerns at conferences and workshops for organizations such as the Iowa League of Cities, the National League of Cities and the Iowa State Association of Counties.


Although there is no cost to attend the workshop, registration in advance is required. To register, contact WCDI Director Randy Uhl at 382-6061 or e-mail wcdi@thinkdecorah.com.