Council Membership FAQs

Become A Council Member

Below are answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about being a Council member of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD).

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What is the time commitment? Where do you meet and how often?

Answer:
The Council meets quarterly for two days in the Austin area. Between meetings, Council members have the opportunity to participate in meetings and conferences, attend grantee events, and may be asked to provide input on state disability issues. To get an idea about the structure of a quarterly meeting, visit the Council Meetings webpage.

Question: Is there training involved in being a Council member?

Answer:
New Council members attend an orientation. Also, members attend presentations and receive advocacy training during Council Meetings, and staff members provide ongoing support. New members can also receive information and assistance from other Council members.

Question: Do Council members get paid?

Answer:
No, but Council members are reimbursed for travel expenses per state guidelines. This can also include attendant or respite care services.

Question: How much does it cost to serve on the Council?

Answer: Nothing — just your time.

Question: I’m not an expert in anything or have a college degree. What can I contribute?

Answer:
You are the expert in your own life and have your own personal experiences and talents to share. The Council values all viewpoints from diverse groups.

Question: What makes a good Council member?

Answer:
Someone who is passionate about improving the lives of people with disabilities. Also, it helps to be a good listener, have ideas, and enjoy being part of a team.

Question: Who else is on the Council?

Answer:
Per the Developmental Disabilities (DD) Act, 60% of Council members are people with disabilities or family members of people with disabilities. The other 40% are representatives from state agencies and non-governmental disability-related organizations who provide services and supports to individuals with disabilities.

Question: What’s the point (i.e., what does TCDD do) and what impact have you had?

Answer:
Our goal is to find gaps in the system and fund specific demonstration projects that address the gaps so people with disabilities are included in all aspects of daily life. This includes finding ways to help individuals make friends, go to college, go to work, and be healthy. Learn more about what guides our work on the Mission and Guiding Principles webpage. Learn about the impact of our current and past projects on the Projects webpage.

Question: Who does TCDD answer to (i.e., who’s the boss)?

Answer:
The Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is the federal agency that sets the goals for all 56 DD Councils, including TCDD. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) provides administrative support for TCDD.

Question: What’s the difference between a TCDD Council member and a TCDD staff member?

Answer:
Council members are appointed by the Governor and serve as a Board of Directors. Staff members are full-time employees.

Question: As a Council member, would I have access to information that I couldn’t share with the general public?

Answer:
No, all of the Council’s meetings are open to the public and subject to the Open Meetings Act.

Question: Is the Council political or partisan?

Answer:
The Council is not political or partisan and our mission is established by the federal DD Act. Our Council is responsible for educating decision makers, like elected officials in the Texas Legislature, on how policies may impact individuals with developmental disabilities. Learn more about our direction from the DD Act on the Legal Authorization webpage.

Question: How long is the application process to become a Council member?

Answer:
After completing a short application, the Governor’s appointments office will receive your application and notify applicants if they are selected. The specific time length can vary but usually takes a few months.

Question: I don’t speak English. Could I still be appointed?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Is the application available in languages other than English?

Answer:
No, but TCDD staff are available to assist individuals with completing the application.