(1) Except as provided in subsections (2) and (3) of this section, each district shall be governed by a board of directors of five, seven, nine, eleven, thirteen, fifteen, seventeen, nineteen, or twenty-one members. The board of directors shall determine the number of directors and in making such determination shall consider the complexity of the foreseeable programs and the population and land area of the district. Districts shall be political subdivisions of the state, shall have perpetual succession, and may sue and be sued in the name of the district.
(2) At least six months prior to the primary election, the board of directors of any natural resources district may change the number of directors for the district and may change subdistrict boundaries to accommodate the increase or decrease in the number of directors. The board of directors shall utilize the criteria found in subsection (1) of this section and in subsection (2) of section 2-3214 when changing the number of directors. Except as provided in subsection (5) of this section, no director's term of office shall be shortened as a result of any change in the number of directors. Any reduction in the number of directors shall be made as directors take office during the two succeeding elections or more quickly if the reduction can be made by not filling vacancies on the board and if desired by the board. If necessary to preserve staggered terms for directors when the reduction in number is made in whole or in part through unfilled vacancies, the board may provide for a one-time election of one or more directors for a two-year term. The board of directors shall inform the Secretary of State whenever any such one-time elections have been approved. Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, the district may be governed by an even number of directors during the two-year transition to a board of reduced number.
(3) Whenever any change of boundaries, division, or merger results in a natural resources district director residing in a district other than the one to which such director was elected to serve, such director shall automatically become a director of the board of the district in which he or she then resides. Except as provided in subsection (5) of this section, all such directors shall continue to serve in office until the expiration of the term of office for which they were elected. Directors or supervisors of other special-purpose districts merged into a natural resources district shall not become members of the natural resources district board but may be appointed as advisors in accordance with section 2-3228. No later than six months after any change, division, or merger, each affected board, in accordance with the procedures and criteria found in this section and section 2-3214, shall determine the number of directors for the district as it then exists, the option chosen for nomination and election of directors, and, if appropriate, new subdistrict boundaries.
(4) To facilitate the task of administration of any board increased in size by a change of boundaries or merger, such board may appoint an executive committee to conduct the business of the board in the interim until board size reductions can be made in accordance with this section. An executive committee shall be empowered to act for the full board in all matters within its purview unless specifically limited by the board in the establishment and appointment of the executive committee.
(5) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 2-3214 and subsections (3) and (4) of this section, the board of directors of any natural resources district established by merging two or more districts in their entirety may provide that all directors be nominated and elected at the first primary and general elections following the year in which such merger becomes effective. In districts which have one director elected from each subdistrict, each director elected from an even-numbered subdistrict shall be elected for a two-year term and each director from an odd-numbered district and any member to be elected at large shall be elected for a four-year term. In districts which have two directors elected from each subdistrict, the four candidates receiving the highest number of votes at the primary election shall be carried over to the general election, and at such general election the candidate receiving the highest number of votes shall be elected for a four-year term and the candidate receiving the second highest number of votes shall be elected for a two-year term. Thereafter each director shall be elected for a four-year term.