Council lifts restrictions on volunteer board seats

Commissions and boards the city has, among them the Arts Commission, the Transportation Advisory Board and the Airport Advisory Committee.

Of course, the City needs volunteers to fill seats on those boards and commissions. Problem is that sometimes, when vacancies come up, there aren’t enough bodies stepping forward to fill them.

On Monday, a recently-enacted City policy that had made filling those chairs more difficult went down, 4-3, with Auburn City Council members Largo Wales, Yolanda Trout-Manuel and Claude DaCorsi in the minority.

That is, not without polite disagreement.

At issue, the City Council’s modification of the City code to restrict how many boards and commissions one person may serve on at a time.

“I like the concept of limiting a person to just one committee so they can focus their energy on that area, and that we provide a wealth of opportunities to our ever-growing community,” said Council member Largo Wales. “When I came to Auburn in the early ’80s, we were around 20,000, and now we’re quite a bit larger. … In the last six months, we’ve increased the membership of those committees to get more people involved.

“We also have an aggressive vetting and recruitment process out of the mayor’s office, so I want to continue to work on limiting a person to one commission or board so that we have opportunities to grow our leadership base in the community, and possibly get future people to be on the City Council and other public positions,” Wales said.

Council member John Holman said that he agreed in principle with Wales assertion, i.e., that it is a good thing to share opportunities for decision-making throughout the community, but the policy was impractical.

“The problem is … when we don’t have sufficient applicants to fill the boards, and we have people telling us that are already working on a board that meets once a quarter that they’d like to be more active on an additional board,” Holman said.

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