Government observer John Marshall Lee addressed the City Council Tuesday night highlighting issues filling and maintaining positions on boards and commissions. From Lee:
As Council members you have much to remember as you meet constituents, hear their problems or concerns, and attempt to recall the backup system available to you and to taxpayers for inquiry. Through the years I have consulted the City website and found that it is often under review or design. I find no dates to inform me when the last adjustment was made nor what the plan is, and not a prediction as to completion. Tests the patience of folks, I am sure.
Today I am talking about the most recent iteration of the listing of Boards and Commissions on which taxpayer citizens can and do serve based on a process with a Mayoral appointment and approval by the Council. The most recent listing is actually less adequate than before. It lists 22 groups but likely there are more. The individual listings in many cases have ceased to talk about purpose, mission, numbers to serve, and where agendas, meeting times, and minutes can be accessed.
An overview or summary of the Board and Commission (B&C) facts does not tell us that as of 1-1-23 there are more than 65 people serving a term as long ago as 20 years or more that has EXPIRED. Why is that? All of us know that it did not happen overnight. And we also know that FAIR HOUSING AND FAIR RENT groups have actually died in plain sight because no nominees were forthcoming from each Mayor during that time. Does this show Mayors living up to the Charter spirit?
The current summary reports ACTUAL VACANCIES at 30 persons with no attribution for the Housing or Rent groups. And there are three vacancies being filled at the time of the report.
Where volunteers and home addresses are listed as well as appointment expiry dates occasionally these facts are missing as well as details of B&C. Why so incomplete, or sloppy? Disrespect for open, accountable, transparent, and honest presentations? Why not perform timely and proud? Why not add more training and support to group members? Why not highlight their attendance, participation, and service if the City chooses to extend their tenure. Merely expecting them to serve until relieved by new appointments does not show leadership, pride in appointing others to serve, nor an incentive to entice new folks to seek appointment, sadly.
There is a bright spot on the scene at this moment, the Historic District Commission. They have four members and what appear to be two alternates, all of whom are serving Unexpired terms. The work can get done to provide the minds and voices of the voters with good data and reasons for their own pride in leadership. Time will tell.