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Volunteer Activity Waiver

  1. Volunteer Activity Waiver

    City of Missouri City, Texas, Municipal Volunteer Program Manual


    ARTICLE I. MUNICIPAL VOLUNTEER PROGRAM MANUAL (“MANUAL”) OVERVIEW

    1.1 Municipal Volunteer Program Created Missouri City’s dedication to public partnerships is one of the many ways that the “Show Me City” has been recognized as one of “America’s Best Places to Live” by CNN Money Magazine. In 2014, the City launched a comprehensive City-wide Municipal Volunteer Program (“MVP”) to serve the City, its citizens, and the public.

    1.2 Municipal Volunteer Program Mission The mission of the MVP is to place qualified volunteers with the City to fulfill City needs. The MVP should fulfill City Charter, City Ordinances, and City Policies through the assistance of a wide variety of volunteer activities.

    1.3 Municipal Volunteer Program Goals

    1.3.1 Enable qualified volunteers to assist City employees, officers, and officials to accomplish their goals, initiatives, and duties.

    1.3.2 Continue the City’s dedication to its “Scenic City” status through cleanup opportunities and green initiatives.

    ARTICLE II. GENERAL GUIDELINES

    2.1. Types of Volunteers: There are several types of volunteers that the City may utilize including the following:

    • Volunteers who are appointed by the City Council to City committees, boards, and commissions;
    • Special Event Volunteers;
    • Recurring Volunteers; and
    • Volunteer organizations.

    2.3 “All Are Welcome”

    2.3.1 Equal Opportunity Policy

    The City provides equal opportunities to volunteer for all individuals. The City does not discriminate against volunteers on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, age, disability, religion, or any other category protected by state or federal law.

    2.3.2 Anti-harassment Policy

    The City prohibits unlawful harassment in the workplace. This means that harassment by means of verbal or physical conduct that singles out, denigrates, or shows hostility or aversion toward someone on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, age, disability, religion, or any other category protected by state or federal law, is prohibited. Harassment can include offensive jokes, slurs, epithets, name calling, physical assaults, or threats. While on duty or on the City’s premises, volunteers shall not discriminate against or harass any other person, including City employees, officers, officials, other volunteers, residents, vendors, patrons, or members of the public.

    2.4 Media Relations

    Volunteers shall adhere to the City’s 2011 Media Relations Policy. Volunteers are not designated representatives of the City for media relations; shall not represent to the media that they represent the City; and shall not speak on the City’s behalf. If a volunteer is contacted by the media, the volunteer shall report such contact to their Volunteer Liaison immediately.

    2.5 Volunteer Requirements

    2.5.1 Age Requirements

    Volunteers under the age of 14 may not participate in volunteer service for the City unless a parent or legal guardian is present at all times while the minor is volunteering. Volunteers aged 14 through 17 shall provide written consent of a parent or legal guardian prior to volunteering. The City shall place a minor volunteer in an appropriate service setting. Volunteers in the City’s Animal Services Division, Code Enforcement Division, Police Department, and Fire and Rescue Services Department must be 18 years of age or older.

    2.5.2 Residency Requirements

    To be appointed to serve on certain City committees, boards, or commissions (i.e. Planning and Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Adjustment, and Parks Board) an individual must be a resident of the City; however, the City welcomes volunteers who live in or outside of the City.

    2.5.3 Other Eligibility Requirements

    2.5.3.1 Some volunteer activities require that a volunteer have the ability to read, write, and understand English.

    2.5.3.2 Some volunteer activities require that a volunteer have physical ability and strength.

    2.5.3.3 Some volunteer activities require that a volunteer have specific knowledge, experience, training, and skills.

    2.5.3.4 All volunteers shall be drug and alcohol free while performing volunteer activities. A volunteer shall not be permitted to perform activities while under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances, illegal drugs, prescriptions, or other medications. Volunteers in an impaired state are not allowed on City property or to use any City system or equipment. A volunteer shall not possess, sell, ingest, manufacture, hold, use or transfer illegal drugs, prescribed medication in an illegal manner, or alcohol while performing any activities for the City.

    2.5.3.5 No volunteer shall have a criminal conviction or have been placed on deferred disposition or deferred adjudication for a crime or moral turpitude, assault, or any felony offense. 2.5.3.6 No volunteer shall be subject to a court order, restraining order, or state or federal imposed registration that would limit a volunteer’s ability to be near an individual or groups of persons.

    2.5.4 Volunteer Application Required

    2.5.4.1 Anyone interested in volunteering with the City shall complete a Volunteer Application. The volunteer application can be found on the City’s website or by contacting the City’s Communications Division. The City may conduct a criminal background check on any volunteer who submits a volunteer application to the City. An application to volunteer may be denied if the applicant may pose an unreasonable risk of injury to other volunteers, City staff, or the public.

    2.5.4.2 An application to volunteer may be denied if such application contains false or misleading information or required information has been omitted.

    2.5.5 Continuing Obligation to Notify City If the City approves an individual to be a volunteer and that individual becomes ineligible to be a volunteer as provided for by this Manual, the volunteer shall immediately notify the volunteer’s Volunteer Liaison. The City may conduct a criminal background on a volunteer before and any time after a volunteer is approved.

    2.5.6 Recertification

    All volunteers may be recertified on an annual basis. A volunteer who is not recertified may not continue to volunteer with the City.

    2.5.7 Volunteer Input Forum

    The City may host an optional Volunteer Input Forum which will allow the City to provide program updates to volunteers and solicit feedback from volunteers. 2.5.8 Volunteer of the Year

    The City may name a Volunteer of the Year. City employees will select nominees for Volunteer of the Year. The Volunteer of the Year shall be chosen by members of the Employee Engagement Group. A volunteer who has been disciplined by the City for violating this Manual or any City Charter provision, City Ordinance, or City policy shall be disqualified from receiving the Volunteer of the Year award.

    2.6 Volunteer Activities

    2.6.1 Volunteers shall be familiar with the

    policies and procedures outlined in this Manual.

    2.6.2 Position Description

    The City may provide a Volunteer with a written description of the activities to be performed. This description is not meant to be all-inclusive of the services the City may need, but will act as a general guide to aid the volunteer and the City.

    2.6.3 Training

    The City may provide a volunteer with training to perform needed services, but the City is under no obligation to provide training for a volunteer who is not quailed to perform needed services.

    2.6.4 Services

    The City shall assign a volunteer to activities that best meets the City’s needs and the volunteer’s ability to perform such needed activities. City staff shall be present whenever volunteer services are being provided.

    2.6.5 Volunteer Liaison

    Volunteers shall be assigned a Volunteer Liaison to whom the volunteer shall report to, receive service assignments from, and report any problems to. Volunteers shall follow the instructions of the Volunteer Liaison at all times. A Volunteer Liaison may discontinue using the services of a Volunteer if the Liaison believes such is in the best interest of the City.

    2.6.6 City Equipment, Supplies, and Property

    The City shall provide a volunteer with any required equipment and supplies to perform activities. The City shall also provide a volunteer with access to City property and facilities to perform activities. The volunteer shall only use City equipment, supplies, property, or facilities for City services and not for personal use. The volunteer shall return all City equipment and supplies to the City upon request. The volunteer may be required to reimburse the City for lost, stolen, damaged, or destroyed equipment or supplies. The volunteer may be required to reimburse the City for any damage to City property or facilities caused by volunteer. Property—intellectual or otherwise—developed by volunteers for or in relation to any City program, become the property of the City.

    2.6.7 Treatment

    Volunteers may have interactions with a broad spectrum of the City during volunteer service including interaction with City employees, officers, officials, vendors, contractors, other volunteers, citizens, and members of the public. City employees, officers, officials, vendors, contractors, other volunteers, citizens, and members of the public have the right for these interactions to be free of conflict, danger, illness, injury, or harassment. If you are involved with or witness any of the foregoing refer to Section 2.6.8 below for reporting instructions. The City does not condone or allow:
    • Bullying;
    • Harassment;
    • Violence;
    • Drug and alcohol use; or
    • Tobacco use. The City intends to provide a safe and healthy environment for volunteers. Due to the acknowledged hazards of tobacco use and secondhand smoke, it is the City’s policy to provide a tobacco-free environment. Tobacco use, smoking, and smokeless “dip” tobacco is prohibited except in outdoor locations specifically designated for tobacco use. Tobacco use is not permitted in any City owned or leased vehicles or equipment.

    2.6.8 Reporting Criminal Activity, Concern, or Complaint

    2.6.8.1 If a volunteer is involved with or witnesses criminal activity while providing services to the City, the volunteer should contact the Missouri City Police Department immediately by dialing 911 or by calling the City’s non-emergency line at 281.403.8700.

    2.6.8.2 If a volunteer has a concern or complaint regarding their service as a volunteer that is not criminal in nature, then the volunteer should report such to their Volunteer Liaison as soon as reasonably practicable.

    2.6.8.3 If the Volunteer Liaison fails to resolve the concern or complaint in a reasonable time, the volunteer may report such concern or complaint to the Missouri City Communications Director.

    2.6.8.4 All complaints shall be submitted in writing. 2.6.8.5 The City shall have the discretion to

    address each concern or complaint in a manner in which the City, at its sole discretion, determines to be in the best interest of the city. 2.6.9 Ceasing Volunteering

    At any time, a volunteer may cease volunteering for the City. If a volunteer is going to cease services to the City, advance notice to the Volunteer Liaison is appreciated, if possible, but not required. If a volunteer ceases volunteering with the City, but later decides to volunteer in the future, the volunteer shall fill out a volunteer application and undergo the review and approval process, as stated above.

    2.7 City Expectations of Volunteers

    2.7.1 Compliance with rules, regulations, and policies.

    The City values its volunteers that help the City become one of the best places to live, work, and play. The behavior and actions of volunteers can have a tremendous impact on other volunteers, City employees, citizens, vendors, commercial partners, and surrounding communities. Volunteers shall comply with the City’s Charter, ordinances, policies, and this Manual. Volunteering with the City is a privilege granted by the City, not a right, and can be ended at any time by the City.

    2.7.2 Authority

    2.7.2.1 The Volunteer Liaison may end a volunteer’s service if it is in the best interest of the City and the City Manager, or his designee, may end any volunteer’s service, other than those appointed by the City Council, and may place restrictions on future volunteering by any individual who fails to comply with the City’s Charter, City ordinances, City policies, or this Manual.

    2.7.2.2 A volunteers shall not deviate from

    assigned tasks unless the volunteer’s Volunteer Liaison expressly instructs the volunteer to do so. 2.7.2.3 The City Council may cease funding to any volunteer service or program.

    2.7.2.4 The City Manager or the City Council may revoke, at any time, any contract or agreement with an individual, entity (for-profit or non-profit) if there is a violation or non-compliance with the City’s Charter, City ordinances, City policies, or this Manual.

    2.7.2.5 Volunteers shall not interfere with the duties of a City employee, officer, official, or other volunteer. Any intentional act or omission by a volunteer that impairs, as determined by the Volunteer Liaison, the operation and efficiency of a department or its employees is grounds for discontinuing the volunteer’s services.

    2.7.2.6 A Volunteer Liaison may transfer a volunteer, if qualified, to another department within the City, if available, provided that such transfer is in the best interest of the City.

    2.7.3 Hours of Service

    The Volunteer Liaison shall direct which days, times, and location the volunteer is scheduled to provide volunteer services. Volunteers are expected to be present at the days, times, and location as set forth by the Volunteer Liaison. Failure to follow the directives of the Volunteer Liaison is grounds for the City to cease using a volunteer.

    2.7.4 Financial Liabilities or Representing the City Externally

    No volunteer or volunteer group shall have the authority to bind the City in anyway.

    2.7.5 Safety

    2.7.5.1 Volunteers shall use caution when completing their volunteer activities. Volunteers shall immediately report any injury, illness, disease, accident, or unsafe conditions to their Volunteer Liaison. Volunteers shall follow all safety instructions and post reporting of injury, illness, disease, accident, or unsafe condition instructions given by their Volunteer Liaison or any other City employee, officer, or official.

    2.7.5.2 Safety gear or protective clothing should be worn at all times while performing duties that require them.

    2.7.6 Weapons

    2.7.6.1 Firearms. Volunteers who have a license to carry a handgun may possess a handgun in City facilities, unless the facility is one where possession of firearms is prohibited by state law or other laws, rules and regulations. 2.7.6.2 Weapons other than firearms. Except as provided by Subsection 2.7.6.1, volunteers shall not possess weapons at City facilities. 2.7.7 Public Contact

    All contact with the public should be conducted in a professional manner. If you are unsure as to how to handle a situation or respond to a request, please contact your Volunteer Liaison. All attire and appearance should meet the requirements of the volunteer service.

    2.7.8 Information

    2.7.8.1 Volunteers shall not develop, print, or distribute letterhead, business cards, or other type of personal business information relating to their volunteer service with the City without the prior approval of the Volunteer Liaison.

    2.7.8.2 Every form, entry on a document, or notation created on behalf of the City creates a public record subject to disclosure upon request pursuant to the City’s established disclosure process. All entries made or records created should be as complete and accurate as possible. A volunteer shall not destroy, trash, mutilate, alter, or secret any City information or record.

    2.7.8.3 Although a City is a public entity subject to the Texas Public Information Act, all documents, records, information, and property of the City, regardless of form, shall not be copied, released, distributed, accessed, uploaded, or downloaded except as required for volunteer to perform assigned volunteer services and under the supervision of the Volunteer Liaison. The City has its own process and manner by which public information is identified and provided to a requester, as required by state law. Just because a volunteer may have access to a document, record, information, or property of the City does not mean that the volunteer may provide such to anyone, including the volunteer.

    2.7.8.4 Confidentiality. Volunteers are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of all confidential, private, personal, or privileged information to which they are exposed while serving as a volunteer. Volunteer shall not attempt to access any information, regardless of form, without approval of the Volunteer Liaison.

    2.7.8.5 Volunteers shall not operate recording devices, including, but not limited to, mobile phone cameras or video cameras, in a City facility in a place that is not open to the public without the written authorization of the volunteer’s Volunteer Liaison.

    2.7.9 Gratuities or Financial Gain

    2.7.9.1 Volunteers shall not accept any gift or

    gratuity, no matter how small or in any form, from any firm, contractor, consultant, vendor, or individual for whom any service is to be performed, was performed, or may be performed in the future by the City. If a gift or gratuity is offered, the volunteer should kindly reject the offer and report it to their Volunteer Liaison. Occasionally the City may sponsor celebratory events that reward the efforts of volunteers such as the annual MVP Input Forum or the Volunteer of the Year Award. These events may include meals or small tokens of appreciation from the City that volunteers are free to accept.

    2.7.9.2 Volunteers shall not solicit or accept funds on behalf of the City, unless authorized by the volunteer’s Volunteer Liaison. A volunteer who receives funds on behalf of the City shall complete the City’s cash handling training.

    2.7.10 Computer and Network Usage

    2.7.10.1 Use of City technology. The City’s

    computers, networks, servers, email, internet, intranet, telephones, or any other electronic system shall be used for City business only and as directed by a Volunteer Liaison. Volunteers shall comply with the City’s email and internet policy. Any use of computers, networks, servers, email, internet, intranet, telephones, or any other electronic system is subject to the Texas Public Information Act. There shall be no expectation of privacy on any of these devices or systems.

    2.7.10.2 Social Media. When posting to personal social media, if a volunteer writes about volunteer related activities, readers may perceive the individual to be writing on behalf of or representing the views of the City. If the volunteer is not authorized to represent the City, the volunteer shall use a disclaimer or make it clear that the views expressed are personal only and not the views of the City. Participation in social media shall not violate the privacy rights of others, including, but not limited to, City volunteers, employees, officials, officers, vendors, contractors, citizens, customers, or business partners. Volunteers shall not represent that a private business, organization or entity (for-profit or non-profit), or event is an official City event or partnership unless approved by the Volunteer Liaison. Volunteers shall not use any City address, property or facility, phone numbers, email addresses, fax numbers, or any other similar information without the approval of the Volunteer Liaison. When participating in social media, volunteers are expected to know and follow all City policies and regulations regarding official information.

    2.8 Use of facilities.

    2.8.1 Any volunteer or volunteer organizations interested in utilizing a City facility shall first enter into a written User Agreement or Letter Agreement with the City.

    2.8.2 Volunteers not leave personal property unattended. Volunteers are responsible for their personal items. The City is not responsible for lost or stolen items.

    2.9 Consequences of Violations

    The City may cease using the services of a volunteer for any violation of the City’s Charter, City Ordinances, City policies, or this Manual.

    ARTICLE III. DISCONTINUING VOLUNTEER SERVICES

    3.1 Discontinuation of Services

    The City may, at any time, and for any reason, cease using a Volunteer.

    3.2 Employment

    Volunteers are not employees of the City and nothing contained herein shall create an employment relationship with the City.

    ARTICLE IV. MODIFICATIONS

    4.1 Amendment of this Manual

    The City may amend this Manual at any time. Any amendment is binding on the Volunteer.

    ARTICLE V. CODE OF CONDUCT

    5.1 Required Conduct

    Every volunteer is expected to:
    • Be respectful to anyone the volunteer comes into contact with while providing services;
    • If unable to report for volunteer service, call in to the Volunteer Liaison at least 30 minutes before the shift start time to inform the Volunteer Liaison of any delay in arriving or inability to report for service;
    • If unable to remain for the entire scheduled service, obtain approval of the Volunteer Liaison;
    • Abide by the City’s Charter, City Ordinances, City policies, and this Manual;
    • Perform assigned duties to the best of his/her ability at all times, and, if unable to perform any duty for whatever reason, inform a Volunteer Liaison of any incomplete assignment or inability to complete the assignment;
    • Report any limitation of ability to perform assigned activities to the Volunteer Liaison immediately;
    • Report for a service in uniform or appropriate work clothes and wear all safety gear and equipment as needed to perform assigned duties;
    • Refrain from attempting to supervise or manage or supervising or managing City programs, worksites, or City employees;
    • Refrain from directing City employees in the performance of their duties;
    • Inform the Volunteer Liaison and refrain from any further contact with a City employee regarding actual or perceived performance issues regarding the City employee;
    • Refrain from making personal calls or using a cellular phone during regular shifts in order to maintain full attention to the activities to be performed (not including emergency circumstances);
    • Be honest in all documents and in every interaction with anyone the volunteer comes into contact with while providing services;
    • Keep all resources provided to the volunteer in safe and good condition and refrain from destroying any resources by loss, theft, negligence, or inattention to its use;
    • Clean up after any use and return used items to their appropriate places;
    • Adhere to any sign in or sign out logs for equipment and resources; and
    • Keep track of all volunteer time by signing in and out on the roster provided by the Volunteer Liaison.

  2. Acknowledgement

    I acknowledge that I have been provided a copy of the City of Missouri City, Texas, Municipal Volunteer Program Manual and hereby agree to abide by the terms and provisions contained in this Manual. I understand that I am not an employee of the City of Missouri City, Texas, and nothing contained in this Manual shall constitute the formation of an employment relationship. I further understand that the City of Missouri City, Texas, may cease using my volunteer services at any time.

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