One of the most important responsibilities the Mayor has in our community is the ability to appoint individuals to city boards and commissions. These boards and commissions are made up of citizens that have volunteered to provide their advice and ideas on how the affairs of our community should be handled.
In Troy, that responsibility comes with the authority to appoint over 50 individuals to over a dozen of such boards and commissions. These boards and commissions work on very specific subjects dealing with certain aspects of our community and our local government. For example, the Board of Appeals (or more commonly known as the Board of Zoning Appeals) hears requests for variances from the zoning code that property owners may believe aren’t practical to follow in some circumstances. The Civil Service Commission helps create hiring lists for many non-managerial jobs in the city government to ensure that the best and brightest get hired to work for the city. The City Beautification Commission provides accolades for homeowners that have beautiful homes and help provide flowers downtown and other spots around town. In other words, if there is a specific interest a resident has, there may very well be a board or commission that addresses that desire to serve. Being a statutory community, many of these boards and commissions are required by state statute and these statutes often govern how these boards and commissions operate.
The process in which citizens are appointed to these boards and commissions seems simple enough; individuals are put forward by the Mayor and voted upon by the City Council. But this simple process has been fraught with challenges. Our current process is in need of serious reform to ensure that we have new and representative voices; it should be noted that our community has some board and committee members that have been serving in their roles for over 20 years.
Our campaign's plan is to create the following as new guidelines on appointing citizens to our various boards and commissions:
- Individuals wishing to be appointed to a board or commission will be required to fill out an online form on the city website, or submit a written letter, indicating their interest to serve on a board or commission.
- Unless otherwise required by state statute or city ordinance, individuals will not be able to serve on multiple boards or commissions at the same time.
- Individuals currently serving on a board or commission may be re-appointed for one additional term. Those individuals will also be required to fill out the same online form, or submit a written letter for re-appointment to a city board or commission.
- Individuals that have served at least one and one-half consecutive terms on any city board or commission will be ineligible for reappointment to any board or commission for a period of one year. After the conclusion of the one-year break, an individual may apply to serve on any board or commission.
- When an individual for appointment to a city board or commission is proposed by the Mayor, the Mayor will forward all information submitted by the applicant to the City Council for their concurrence. Currently, City Council receives no information on individuals wishing to serve on any of our community’s boards and commissions.
These processes will ensure that those who have served on our city boards and commissions continue to complete the good work that they are doing while giving opportunities for new members to be recruited and placed in positions where they have an interest. I believe that these changes will make our city boards and commissions more effective, accountable and responsible to our community.