UPDATE: One of the incumbent recreation commissioners will not be asking to be re-appointed.
One of the hurdles Ryan Gilbert was asked to jump over to be elected to city council was to sit on a city commission or committee. But, thanks to the great number of community volunteers, that is not so easy to do. For example, I have twice volunteered for the recreation commission, but was not appointed. Ryan has also volunteered for a commission in the past and was not appointed.
Currently, the city is advertising for volunteers (see below), but the city has a tradition of acknowledging the hard work of its current volunteers by re-appointing incumbents. So, unless we find out that incumbents aren’t interested in re-upping, there appear to be only two volunteer opportunities at this point, the Civil Service Commission and the CIP Review Committee.
City Looking for Volunteers
The city is looking for a few talented volunteers for vacancies on city committees and commissions. Interested residents may download the Application for Appointive Vacancy and mail or hand deliver it to city hall prior to the deadline of March 24, 2008.
Interviews with the city council for these positions will be scheduled for Monday, March 31, 2008. No appointments will be made without a council interview.
Civil Service Commission 1 Vacancy 0 Incumbent Park Commission 2 Vacancies 2 Incumbents Planning Commission 2 Vacancies 2 Incumbents Recreation Commission 3 Vacancies 3 Incumbents CIP Review Committee 1 Vacancy Possible *
I hope that Ryan will apply for the CIP Review Committee, but I know of some other well known community members who might also apply for this position. The other community member I am thinking of has already served on other commissions and committees, as might others who apply. I would assume that this would give those candidates a leg up over Ryan for the position.
Lets be honest about this: the commission process favors folks who have lived in town for a length of time, know other commissioners or councilmembers and who have not challenged the city council on any issue. If that is the path to election to city council, the council will never reflect the diversity of opinions in our community. So here is my suggestion to the city council: buck convention. Ask incumbent commissioners seeking reappointment if they would reconsider, so that others might become involved and choose people you don’t know, people who haven’t already served and people with whom you might have differences of opinion. I think you will be surprised to find that the quality of the commissions will not go down and that our public discourse might traverse a broader spectrum than it has in the past.