How do you begin the process
for preparing a joint or cooperative administration agreement?
The process begins with a series
of meetings to define the goals of the agreement and the process
that will be used. It will take a number of meetings to finalize
the agreement, so be prepared and set an appropriate time so the
meetings will not conflict with other community activities.
If both organizations come to an agreement to pursue a MOA,
begin the process of negotiating the terms and defining the
responsibilities of each party.
What are some of the steps
required to enter into a contractual agreement?
Both entities must first meet
to discuss how involved the contract will be. In some cases
the intent may be to combine all administrative functions
and operations under one administrative unit, or just to combine
administration for one service, such as the water and sewer
utility. Following are some basic guidelines:
1. Hold a joint meeting
to assess the issues to be addressed and develop the scope
of the agreement. Some questions to ask are:
a. What are the issues that
need to be addressed? Some examples are: how better
service delivery can be provided, how to address decline
in revenues resulting in the need to combine administrations
as a cost saving measure, how to deal with a limited pool
of trained workers to draw from, etc.
b. What are some available options? Some examples
might be: job sharing, such as one payroll clerk for both
entities; transferring responsibility for providing certain
services or programs, such as administration of the water/sewer
utility; or transfer of all administrative functions and
operations and maintenance.
c. What is the goal of the agreement? What will the
agreement accomplish? An example might be to improve collections
by entering into a contract agreement for the billing and
collections for the water and sewer utility.
a work plan for developing and implementing the agreement.
a. Assign responsibility for
drafting and reviewing the agreement.
b. Create a timeline.
c. Decide the level of detail required.
d. Decide if you will request outside assistance. Commerce staff are available to work
on these agreements, and it is generally advisable to request
attorney review of a contractual agreement.
3. Work the plan.
a. Draft the agreement.
b. Prepare a transition plan.
c. Review and enter into the agreement.
d. Implement the agreement.
If one of the parties transfers
responsibilities for administering its services, does that mean decision-making powers and assets
are transferred also?
No. As an example, if a municipality
enters into an agreement to combine all services and programs
under one administrative entity, the municipal government
is still responsible for decisions made regarding its resources
and programs. The municipality continues to own municipal
assets such as buildings, land, and equipment, and is still
responsible for oversight of public funds received in the
name of the municipality.
The contractual agreement is
merely an agreement to contract for certain services. The
municipality must still perform all duties and functions required
under the law.
What happens with municipal
property and assets included in (but not limited to) the agreement?
The municipality retains ownership
and control of property and assets, including sale and other
disposition of municipal lands in compliance with its land
One of the first steps in entering into a contractual agreement
should be to prepare an inventory of all assets including
the condition, value, and location of the assets.
What are the minimum legal
requirements to keep a municipality operational?
A municipality must:
1. Hold regular meetings that
are open to the public, including meetings with the contracting
2. Maintain a journal/public record of its official proceedings
3. Appoint municipal officials (AS
4. Perform duties of municipal
5. Prepare and execute
annual budget and capital improvement plans, make monthly financial
reports, and exercise custody over municipal property (AS
6. File reports with Department
of Community and Economic Development (AS
7. Conduct regular elections
8. Develop and pass a
municipal budget (AS
9. Provide an annual audit or report of income and expenditures
and any other requirements
to keep the contract functional in cooperation with the contracting
There are also mandatory requirements
that a municipality must perform in order to qualify for State
29.60.100-120), Safe Communities (AS
29.60.350), Shared Fish Tax (AS
PILT, and Grants (AS
What happens to the employees
when administration transfers?
Unless the agreement eliminates
the need for the position, the tribe or municipality (depending
upon which entity is performing administrative duties) usually
rehires the employee(s) who then work under the supervision
of the administering entity. As an example, there would still
be a need for a city clerk position to perform those duties
required under AS
29.20.380 however, the duties of the municipality's
chief administrative officer could be delegated to the tribal
administrator to carry out. An important element of the
agreement process is clarifying staff duties.
Does the State of Alaska
need to be involved or approve the agreement?
office Local Government Specialists of
the Department of Community and Economic Development (Commerce), are available
to assist with developing the agreement.
What other steps might be
required to implement the agreement?
Additional steps needed to implement
the agreement depend on the level of responsibility being
If you are entering into
a simple agreement to job share, some steps might be to develop
a new job description to clarify job duties, identify what
files or other documents need to be placed in the care of
the contracting entity, and how information will be handled.
If the agreement results in
transferring total responsibility for operation and maintenance
of a service or total administrative unit, the steps would
a. Inventory assets - what
condition are they in. what is their value. where are they
located? Devise a formal
system to transfer funds.
b. Decide where files will be located and how they will
c. Clarify how operations
and maintenance plans will be carried out.
d. Clarify billing and
e. Develop a schedule
and process for conducting joint decision making meetings
between the parties.
f. Develop a method
to assess how well the agreement is working.
NOTE: The agreement should
also identify the method for terminating the agreement and
transferring responsibility back to the contracting entity.