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Chapter 3 - Maintaining and Sustaining a CJCC

Running Effective Meetings

There are many tools that aid in running effective Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) meetings. This section will provide a high-level review of various resources for making CJCC meetings efficient and effective.

Meeting Logistics

The CJCC should meet regularly, either monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly. A schedule of future meeting dates and times should be agreed upon well in advance of the meetings. The meetings must be well organized and involve action items reflective of the decision makers who attend.

The location of the meeting can be a surprisingly important decision. Particularly if your CJCC involves members from various locations across a large geographical area. The meeting location can also be a tool to suggest neutrality. Pick a meeting location that makes it easy for CJCC members to attend.

Helpful Hint:

It can also be helpful to rotate locations annually if it is difficult for certain members to be present. Lastly, when deciding on the location it can also be helpful to consider who is serving in leadership roles. If the Chief Judge is the chair of your council and they still support a full docket, you may want to consider having the meetings at the courthouse to allow for their regular attendance.

If you have a budget that supports the purchase of food, setting the meeting time during the noon hour and providing lunch can help to increase attendance. There are many instances where judicial officers or attorneys can only meet during the lunch hour.

If meetings are always on the same day of the month (ex. Third Thursday of the month), they can be easier to schedule and plan for and therefore increase participation.

Agenda Setting

A clear agenda, delivered well in advance, will promote attendance. The agenda should include items that are clearly relevant to the participants. Informational matters and operational-level concerns should be minimized so that policy-level discussion and action can take place. As a general rule, the CJCC does not meddle in the internal affairs of any single justice agency. Agenda items focus on issues that cut across agency interests or operations. Typically, this shifts the emphasis away from looking at individual agencies and refocuses attention on the decision points where they come together to do their work.

In most CJCCs, the chair develops the agenda in concert with the staff. Members are encouraged to submit agenda items to the staff and/or the chair. They have an obligation to do so if an upcoming initiative is likely to affect other parts of the justice system.

Bylaws typically include requirements related to notice of action items on an agenda and posting of meetings.

Helpful Hint:

Tips for setting an effective agenda:

  1. Organize the meeting logically
  2. Set your agenda in advance (and send it out in advance to increase meeting participation)
  3. Seek input from Chair and Executive Committee
  4. Include times and speakers to ensure you do not overfill the agenda
  5. Highlight anything that will require a council vote
  6. Provide enough information without having information overload

You can find examples of meeting documents here.

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[AB2]I think this speaks to a different time in the development of a CJCC. This is how you maintain engagement after you have gone through that beginning forming phase.

Helpful Hint:

You can find examples of meeting documents here.

Helpful Hint:

If you have an important topic on your agenda, highlight this in the meeting reminder to encourage rich discussion and a high level of attendance.

Meeting Minutes

When recorded effectively, meeting minutes provide an official record of the CJCC’s actions and document rationale for the decisions that were made. Ideally, minutes help a CJCC track progress toward goals, detail future plans and action items, and serve as a reference point. Minutes can also be used to update people who could not attend the meeting with information about what happened at the meeting.

At a minimum, the following information should be included in the minutes:

  1. The meeting place, date, and exact time it was called to order
  2. The type of meeting (regularly scheduled, special, or called)
  3. Full names of the meeting participants and absentees
  4. Each motion, including who made it, who seconded it, and what the outcome was
  5. Action items and next steps
  6. Next meeting date and time
  7. Time of adjournment

Helpful Hint: Tips for effective meeting minutes

  • Have a dedicated person taking minutes, preferably someone who does not need to participate in the meeting.
  • Have a sign in sheet to keep track of who attended
  • Formalize the minutes shortly after the meeting to ensure things were not forgotten.

For more information on best practices, see A Complete Guide to Board Meeting Agendas (with Templates)

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Sunshine Laws

Sunshine laws are laws that require government agencies and bodies to allow the public to attend their meetings and have access to their records. Sunshine laws are enacted at the state level and vary by state but typically include an Open Meetings Act or Open Records Act and Freedom of Information Act. Sunshine laws include requirements for public notice of meetings. Research your state’s sunshine laws and requirements prior to setting the agenda, establishing the meeting schedule, and taking minutes. Sunshine laws include requirements for public notice of meetings.

There are times when the CJCC may move into executive session and close the meeting to the public. State Open Meetings Acts provide circumstances and guidance regarding these closed sessions. Typically, a separate set of minutes are taken but not made available to the public and retained by the public body for a designated period of time.

Helpful Hint:

Examples of closed matters include:

  • Legal actions, causes of action or litigation (except that votes, minutes and settlement agreements must be opened to the public on final disposition, unless ordered closed by a court).
  • Leasing, purchase, or sale of real estate where public knowledge might adversely affect the amount paid in the transaction.
  • Hiring, firing, disciplining, or promoting a particular employee.
  • Individually identifiable personnel records.
  • Records related to existing or proposed security systems.
  • Records that are protected from disclosure by other laws.

Decision Making

Roberts Rules of Order

Roberts Rules of Order is a manual that sets out parliamentary rules that CJCCs can adopt as a guide for establishing the conduct of the group and management of its meetings. Roberts Rules provide guidance for most organizational functions, including establishing an organization and rules that govern it, presiding over and participating in meetings, making motions and debating those motions, and calling for and conducting elections.

Below is a Roberts Rule’s cheat sheet. You can also find a guide to using Roberts rules here.

Roberts Rules of Order Cheatsheet
Henry Martyn Robert served as a civil engineer in the U.S. Army, where he was called on to preside at meetings and developed a pocket manual of parliamentary procedure originally published in 1876 known as Roberts Rules of Order. Since then the manual has seen eleven revisions.

Consensus Decision-Making

Consensus decision making can be used as an alternative, or as a hybrid, in conjunction with Robert’s Rules. There are multiple models on how to make decisions by consensus. The models vary in the amount of detail the steps describe and how decisions are finalized. The basic model involves collaboratively generating a proposal, identifying “unsatisfied concerns,” and then modifying the proposal to generate as much agreement as possible. Consensus decision making includes the input of all stakeholders and provides an opportunity to address potential concerns, generates as much agreement as possible to set the stage for greater cooperation in implementing decisions and promotes a collaborative atmosphere that fosters greater group cohesion and interpersonal connection. The level of agreement can range from unanimous agreement to one where the person in charge decides. Typically, CJCCs that use the consensus model apply a majority threshold, such as 80 percent. Typically, an agreement is reached prior to any decision making that members who are not part of the majority and “do not get their way” will agree to publicly.