Our charter


Sanders County Collaborative

Adopted: September 13, 2017

The Sanders County Collaborative (SCC) is a diverse group of citizens engaged in learning and offering suggestions on natural resources management on public lands located within western Montana with a primary focus on Sanders County and the Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger District.


  • Promote sustainable timber harvest and other economic development in Sanders County
  • Help public agencies expedite project implementation and completion by providing diverse input into project planning – helping to frame the projects to offer multiple benefits
  • Support recreational use of public lands and encourage expanded access
  • Strive to generate a unified voice on potential actions in the management of public lands
  • Look for those opportunities where management can balance social, economic, and ecosystem benefits
  • Help public agencies create projects and provide input on agency programs of work
  • Offer follow-up and monitoring on completed projects

Membership and Participation

Participation in the Sanders County Collaborative is open to any interested citizens.  A person may become a voting member by attending at least two meetings and submitting a written request to the Chair of the Collaborative indicating his/her desire to become a voting member and affirming that he/she supports the terms of the charter.  Members will sustain their status as voting members as long as they attend at least two-thirds of the meetings of the collaborative over the course of the previous 12 months.   Remote participation via a live telephone linkage will be considered full participation.

People may also participate in any of the meetings as non-member participants.  Employees of public sector land management agencies are encouraged to participate, but they may not become voting members of the collaborative to ensure independence of the collaborative.

Decision Making

The Sanders County Collaborative will strive to reach consensus on its decisions (consensus means unanimous agreement). Decisions will be taken by a vote of the membership.   If agreement (even agreement with reservations) cannot be reached after three attempts at applying the prescribed voting process, a decision may be taken via majority rule.

If a voting member cannot attend a meeting where a decision is to be made, a voting member may submit a proxy vote to be carried by another voting member, although the voting member carrying the proxy vote at the meeting may only carry one proxy vote.

The process to make decisions on a proposal will utilize a visible system of hand signals to indicate support, support with reservations, or opposition.  A system of thumbs-up, thumbs-sideways, and thumbs down will be used to indicate voting preference.  Thumbs-up signifies support; thumbs-sideways signifies support with reservations; and thumbs-down signifies opposition.  The following table identifies the commitments associated with the three different types of votes.  

Collaborative vote resultSupport levelMember commitment
All thumbs-up (consensus)HighAll members support the decision and work to resolve issues of colleagues who do not participate in the SCC
Votes are both thumbs-up and thumbs-sideway; no thumbs-down votesMediumAll members vote for approval but some have reservations.  Members may express these reservations, but will encourage the project to advance
At least one thumbs-down vote after three attempts at voting; majority vote approves the decisionLowSome members have such strong reservations that they cannot support the proposal.  They may express their opposition publicly, however, statements opposing the decision will not be directed at the collaborative

Decisions will typically be made on issues that appear on the meeting agenda such that there is advance notification of significant decisions.   People who attend any meeting can request decision items to be placed on the agenda to be decided at the next meeting. 

Quorum at Meetings

A meeting will have a quorum if two-thirds of the voting members, plus proxies, are present.  Participation by telephone is considered participation at the meeting.

Member Responsibilities

  • Members will attend as many of the Sanders County Collaborative meetings as possible
  • If absent a member will review meeting minutes and other meeting communications
  • Members will come prepared to all meetings
  • Members can lose voting privileges if too many meetings are missed


The Sanders County Collaborative will nominate and approve two Co-chairs each January for the upcoming year.  Co-chairs will assume the following responsibilities:

  • Setting meeting agendas and meeting dates
  • Managing internal communications
  • Managing any funds with a fiscal sponsor, if necessary
  • Ensuring meeting records are collected, up-to-date, and distributed to membership
  • Maintain records of attendance at meetings

Co-chairs may delegate responsibilities to willing participants. 

Federal and State Partners

Federal and state agency staff members, such as employees of the Forest Service or the State of Montana Department of Natural Resources, may serve as participants within the collaborative but will be of non-voting, ex-officio status.  Representatives of these agencies are encouraged to share technical expertise, actively discuss issues, and clarify the scope of recommendations acceptable to the agency.

Meetings and Meeting Schedules

The Sanders County Collaborative will meet periodically upon the request of the Co-chairs, but will strive to meet at least once every two months.  Other meetings may be scheduled if something needs attention.  The Collaborative will attempt to meet on a regular meeting schedule, tentatively set for the second Wednesday of the month.

Adoption of the Charter The Charter can be adopted or amended either by consensus or by a minimum 2/3 majority vote of the voting members of the collaborative.  The Charter must be circulated to all the membership at least one month prior to its adoption.

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