Become a Council Member

TCDD is governed by Council members who are passionate about improving the lives of Texans with disabilities. Before joining the Council, each member completes an application and appointment process through the Texas Governor’s Office. The following information explains that process and answers some common questions about becoming a Council member.

Who’s on the Council?

The 27-member Council consists of the following individuals:

  • People with developmental disabilities (DD)
  • Parents, guardians, and family members of people with DD
  • Representatives from state agencies that provide DD services and support
  • Representatives from the university centers for excellence in developmental disabilities: the Texas Center for Disability Studies at The University of Texas at Austin and the Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M University
  • Representative from Disability Rights Texas
  • Representative for local, non-government organizations

At least 60% of Council members must be people with DD or family members. At least one Council member must be someone who has lived in an institutional facility or a family member of a person who has lived in an institutional facility.

The Texas governor appoints Council members per the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act. The governor also designates a Council member to serve as chair.

Council members serve six-year staggered terms and may serve no more than two consecutive six-year terms.

Council members serve without salary. Members can be reimbursed for expenses, such as travel, as allowed by the state Legislature.

What do Council members do?

Council members have important responsibilities, including:

The Council engages in advocacy and planning activities to support projects that serve as models for future programs. Council members foster public awareness and community acceptance through education and seek public involvement in Council activities. The goal is to find gaps in the system and fund projects that address those gaps so people with disabilities are included in all aspects of daily life — like making friends, attending college, going to work, and being healthy.

Along with serving on the full Council, members serve on either the Project Development Committee or the Public Policy Committee. The Council and its committees meet quarterly, usually in Austin. On our website, we post meeting information and materials.

Council members may also be asked to serve on special committees or task forces and represent the Council at other DD-related meetings or conferences.

See Mission and Purpose to learn more about TCDD’s guiding principles, funding, and responsibilities.

How do I become a Council member?

The process to become a Council member includes two parts: the application and the appointment.

To apply, download an application and review the instructions on the Texas Governor’s Office website. Complete the application and send it to the Governor’s Appointments Office along with any other required materials. See Application Process to learn more about how to apply.

Appointments happen when there is a vacant position on the Council. During the appointment process, the governor’s office will gather additional information about applicants. Once appointments are made, appointees are contacted to prepare for their next steps. The length of the appointment process varies, but it usually takes a few months. 

New Council members attend an orientation. They also attend presentations, receive advocacy training, and meet with other Council members and TCDD staff during meetings. 

If you have other questions about becoming a Council member, please email Koren Vogel or call her at 512-948-2035.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What makes an effective Council member?
An effective Council member 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.

What can I contribute if I’m not an expert and I don’t have a degree?
You are the expert in your own life and have your own personal experiences and talents to share. TCDD values all viewpoints from diverse groups.

What if I need accommodations to apply or to participate in meetings
TCDD is happy to coordinate any accommodations Council members might need, including interpretation or translation services.

As a Council member, would I have access to information that I couldn’t share with the public?
No, all Council meetings are open to the public and subject to the Open Meetings Act.

Is the Council political or partisan?
No, the Council is not political or partisan. 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.

What’s the difference between a Council member and a TCDD staff member?
Council members are appointed by the governor and serve as a board of directors for TCDD. Staff members are full-time paid employees.

Does TCDD report to any other agencies?
Yes, the Administration for Community Living is the federal agency that sets the goals for all 56 DD Councils, including TCDD. The Texas Education Agency provides TCDD with administrative support.

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