Skip to Content

By Laws


Last updated: April 27, 2019

Article I: Name

The name of this organization shall be "County of Sonoma Mental Health Board (the "Board" and/or “MHB”)


Article II: Powers and Duties

Section 1 - General

The Board is established and will function in accordance with statutory law as provided for in Division 5, Chapter 2, of the California Welfare and Institutions Code (the "Code") including any amendments thereto and in accordance with the Policy and Guidelines for Advisory Boards of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma (the "Policy").

Section 2 - Mission Statement

Mission Statement. The Board shall act as a community focal point for mental health issues and shall develop a community network to promote:

  1. Coalition building that will create a unified voice to impact public policy and awareness;
  2. A wider understanding and knowledge of mental health issues;
  3. The integrity of mental health services;
  4. Involvement of clients and families in mental health planning.

Section 3 - Specific Powers and Duties

The Board shall:

  1. Review and evaluate the community's mental health needs, services, facilities and special problems;
  2. Review any County agreements entered into pursuant to Section 5650 of the Code or any subsequent amendments;
  3. Advise the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors and the local mental health director as to any aspect of the local mental health program;
  4. Review and approve the procedures used to ensure citizen and professional involvement at all stages of the planning process;
  5. Submit an annual report to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on the needs and performance of the County's mental health system;
  6. Review and make recommendations on applicants for the appointment of a local director of mental health services. The Board shall be included in the selection process prior to the vote of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors;
  7. Review and comment on the County's performance outcome data and communicate its findings to the State Mental Health Planning Council;
  8. Review and assess the impact of the realignment of services from the State to the County, on services delivered to clients, and on the local community;
  9. Any additional duties or authority the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors may transfer to the Board.

Article III: Members and Membership

Section 1 - Board Composition

There shall be sixteen (16) members on the Board. Each member of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors shall appoint three (3) members. One of the Supervisors shall also serve on the Board.

Fifty percent of the Board membership shall be consumers or the parents, spouse, sibling or adult children of consumers who are receiving or have received mental health services. At least twenty percent of the total membership shall be consumers and at least twenty percent shall be family members of consumers.

With the exception of consumers, no member shall be an employee of a county mental health service, the State Department of Health Care Services, or an employee or paid member of the governing board of a mental health contract agency. Consumers who work for the above-named agencies may be appointed to the board if they hold a position in which they do not have any interest, influence of authority over any financial or contractual matter concerning the employer. 

Section 2 - Terms of Appointment

The term of each member of the Board shall be for three years or the duration of an unexpired term of a member being replaced. Terms shall be staggered so that approximately one-third of the appointments expire in each year.

Section 3 - Appointment Procedures and Vacancies

  1. The Chairperson shall advise the appointing Supervisor if a member resigns or declares intent to cease participating in Board activities or otherwise becomes a non-participating member.
  2. Prior to appointment by the Board of Supervisors, candidates for Board membership are urged to meet with the MHB Executive Committee which shall assess the candidate's interest and demonstrated commitment to mental health advocacy, educate the candidate about responsibilities and duties of Board members, and encourage the candidate to attend a meeting of the Board. The Executive Committee shall then advise the Board of Supervisors concerning the appointment.

The Executive Committee shall be responsible for working with the Board of Supervisors to ensure that the composition of the MHB is in compliance with California State law and represents the demographics of the County as a whole, to the extent feasible.

Section 4 - It shall be the duty of MHB members to:

  1. Perform any and all duties imposed on them collectively or individually by law, these Bylaws, or by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors;
  2. Meet at such times and places as required by law and these Bylaws;
  3. Maintain a correct address and email address on record with the Secretary of the Board. Meeting notices mailed to that address shall be considered valid notices.

Article IV: Officers

Section 1 - Officers and Duties

The Officers of the Board shall be a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson, and a representative to the CA Association of Behavioral Health Boards and Commissions. These officers shall perform the duties prescribed by Division 5, Chapter 2, of the California Welfare and Institutions Code including any amendments thereto; by the Policy and Guidelines for Advisory Bodies of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma; by these Bylaws; and by the parliamentary authority adopted by the Board.

Section 2 - Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee shall function as a temporary committee. The Executive Committee of the Board shall appoint no less than three (3) Board members (excluding members of the Executive Committee) to the Nominating Committee not later than the April meeting each year. It shall be the duty of this committee to select a Slate of Officers (Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer and Representative to State and Local Mental Health Boards), obtain the verbal consent to serve of those nominated, and report their results at the regular meeting in May.

Section 3 - Election of Officers

The Officers of the Board shall be elected each year at the regular June meeting. The Chairperson of the Nominating Committee shall assume the full Board Chair for the purpose of conducting the election. The Nominating Committee will nominate a Slate of Officers. Additional nominations from the floor shall be permitted. Election shall be held in an open meeting. If there is no quorum when the election is to happen, the election shall be delayed to the following month’s meeting.

Section 4 - Terms of Office

Terms of office shall be for one year and shall begin at the close of the June meeting. No member may hold more than one office at a time, and no member shall be eligible to serve more than two consecutive terms in the same office. At the discretion of a majority of the Board, any officer may be extended to a third term. Members shall again be eligible for such office after a period of one year. 

Section 5 - Removal of Officers.

Any officer may be removed from office and relieved of duties by a two-thirds majority vote of the Board membership at any regular or special meeting.

Section 6 - Special Elections

If an officer resigns or is removed from office, the position shall be filled by a special election within thirty days of such vacancy occurring. Such election shall be conducted at a regular or special Board meeting with nominations being made from the floor. The term of office shall be the remainder of the term of the officer being removed.

Article VI: Executive Committee

Section 1 - Members of the Executive Committee

The Executive Committee shall consist of the current officers of the Board. The immediate past Board Chairperson shall be an ex-officio member so long as that person remains an appointed MHB member.

Section 2 - Duties

The Executive Committee shall have general supervision of the affairs of the Board between meetings, shall make recommendations to the Board, shall set the agenda for each Board meeting and shall perform other duties assigned by the Board or the Chairperson of the Board. The MHB Chairperson may request the Board to authorize the Executive Committee to act in its place, when occasion demands. The Executive Committee shall be subject to the orders of the Board and none of its acts shall conflict with action taken by the Board.

Section 3 - Meetings

The Executive Committee shall meet a minimum of once each month. A simple majority (3) shall be required to cancel or call for Special Executive Committee meetings. 

Article VII: Committees, Liaisons and Advocates

The MHB Chairperson may create standing committees, temporary committees and/or task forces, and appoint liaisons and advocates to perform the duties of the Board. Under the direction of the MHB Chairperson, in consultation with the head of the Sonoma County Department of Health Services, Mental Health Division (the "Department"), committee members, liaisons and advocates may consult with Department staff, who may act in an advisory capacity to the MHB when called upon to do so.

Articles VIII: Parliamentary Authority

All regular meetings of the Board shall be conducted according to Robert's Rules of Order modified to allow open participation of the Chairperson.

Article IX: Amendments of the ByLaws

These Bylaws may be amended at any regular meeting of the Board by a two-thirds vote, provided that the amendment has been submitted in writing at the previous regular meeting. Such changes as may be approved by the Board must be submitted to the County Board of Supervisors for their concurrence before they can become effective.