Laws Related to Conservation Districts
A director should be familiar with and comply with all applicable laws pertaining to public bodies and their business.
Public Official and Employee Ethics Act
District Directors are considered Public Officials Under this Act.
The Act promotes full financial disclosure of officials by filing a statement of financial interest annually.
Anyone who engages in a conflict of interest or who offers, seeks, or solicits improper influence commits a felony.
The Pennsylvania Sunshine Act requires that all official actions and deliberations of a Conservation District Board must be by a quorum of members and take place at meetings that are open to the public.
- Public notice: At the beginning of each year, the district must give public notice of the schedule of its regular meetings throughout the year.
- The district can adopt its own rules for conducting meetings, but there must be a reasonable opportunity for public comment.
- Must take and retain meeting minutes.
- The board can hold executive sessions, without meeting any of these requirements, in certain limited circumstances.
Right to Know Act
Provides citizens the right of access to public records, and sets forth the conditions under which a document maintained by a Commonwealth agency is deemed a public record.
- The District must make public records available to the public upon request.
- The District must have a written Right to Know Policy.
- The District may charge fees for copying, postage and other costs outlined in the Act.
- The District must appoint an Open Records Officer.
Employment laws that Conservation Districts may be subject to:
- Fair Labor Standards Act
- Equal Pay Act
- The Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act
- Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law
- Exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act
- Independent Contractors
- Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
- Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
- Pregnancy Discrimination Act
- Family and Medical Leave Act
ALWAYS CONSULT AN EMPLOYMENT LAW ATTORNEY WHEN YOUR DISTRICT IS ADOPTING PERSONNEL POLICIES OR TAKING PERSONNEL ACTIONS.
Director Liability & Protection
The Conservation District Law requires the Commonwealth to defend and indemnify district directors, associate directors and employees for duties performed as part of delegated programs
Non Delegated Programs
For all non-delegated programs or activities, directors and district staff have general liability protection under a state law called the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act. The District should review all programs to ensure they are consistent with the CD law and evaluate the need for additional insurance.