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Utility District Commissioner Training FAQ

Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding the training requirements set out in Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 7-82-307 & 308. Please be aware that the information below is meant to be only a summary of the requirements rather than a comprehensive restatement of the law. You should direct any specific questions about your training and eligibility to your utility district’s attorney, or to speak with a utilities specialist, email utilities@cot.tn.gov or call the Comptroller’s utility line at 615.747.5260.

All members of the board of commissioners of a utility district must meet the training requirements. Tenn. Code Ann. § 7-82-308(f)(1). The members of the governing board of any water or sewer authority created by public or private act are also subject to the training requirements in Tenn. Code Ann. § 7-82-307 & 308. Tenn. Code Ann. § 7-82-308(f)(9).

Tenn. Code Ann. § 7-82-308(f)(1)-(2) requires utility district commissioners to attend a minimum of twelve hours of training and continuing education in the approved subject matter within one year of initial appointment or election to the board or within one year of reappointment or reelection to the board.

After a utility district commissioner has satisfied his or her initial twelve hours, he or she is required to obtain twelve hours of training every three years thereafter. The first three-year period begins the January 1st after the calendar year in which the utility district commissioner completes the initial one-year training period.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 7-82-308(f)(7) provides that “[a]ny association or organization with appropriate knowledge and experience may prepare a training and continuing education curriculum for utility district commissioners covering the subjects set forth in subdivision (f)(6) to be submitted to the comptroller for review and approval prior to use.”

The Comptroller’s Office provides six hours of online training at no cost for utility district commissioners. The Comptroller’s Office also offers periodic training classes at various locations throughout the State. For questions about Comptroller training opportunities, email utilities@cot.tn.gov or call the Comptroller’s utility line at 615.747.5260 to speak with a utilities specialist.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 7-82-308(f)(6) provides that the subject matter for training includes, but is not limited to, “board governance, financial oversight, policy-making responsibilities and other topics reasonably related to the duties of the members of the board of commissioners of a utility district.”

The Comptroller’s Office will approve internal training so long as it is compliant with all requirements for training set out in Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 7-82-307 & 308.

Training curricula must be submitted to the Comptroller’s Office for review and approval prior to use. Tenn. Code Ann. § 7-82-308(f)(7).

Any organization wishing to have its training approved should submit a detailed syllabus and the appropriate supporting documentation to utilities@cot.tn.gov for approval. For questions, contact a utilities specialist at the above email address or call the Comptroller’s utility line at 615.747.5260.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 7-82-308(f)(7) provides that any changes and updates to your curriculum must be submitted to the Comptroller’s Office for approval prior to use. The statute further requires that “any training and continuing education curriculum approved by the comptroller shall be updated every three (3) years and resubmitted to the comptroller for review and approval.”

Tenn. Code Ann. § 7-82-308(f)(4) requires that “(e)ach utility district commissioner shall certify by January 31 of each year the training and continuing education courses attended during the prior calendar year by filing an annual written statement with the utility district on a form developed by the comptroller. Each annual statement shall identify the date of each course attended, its subject matter, location, sponsor, and the hours attended for each course and shall include a certificate of attendance for each course listed on the annual statement. Each utility district commissioner shall be responsible for obtaining a certificate of attendance certifying that the utility district commissioner attended the course, on a form acceptable to the comptroller.”

Tenn. Code Ann. § 7-82-308(f)(4) also requires that each utility district maintain a copy of the annual statements for six years after the calendar year in which the annual statement is filed.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 7-82-308(f)(4) provides that a utility district commissioner’s failure to file the annual statement results in the commissioner being ineligible to receive further benefits or payments received in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. § 7-82-308(a).

Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 7-82-308(f)(3), a utility district commissioner may request a training extension of up to six months from the Comptroller’s Office. The law requires that the request “only be granted upon a reasonable showing of substantial compliance with subdivisions (f)(1) and (2). If the extension is granted, the utility district commissioner must complete any additional required training hours necessary to achieve full compliance for only the relevant continuing education period within the extension period. The utility district commissioner shall file copies of any extension request letters and corresponding comptroller of the treasury determination letters with the utility management review board. The failure to file this information with the utility management review board shall cause a commissioner to be ineligible to receive any further payment or benefit as provided in subsection (a) until the information is properly filed.”

The utility district commissioner will not be eligible for reappointment or reelection to another term of office. Tenn. Code Ann. § 7-82-307(b)(5).