City Hard-Pressed to Fill Boards and Commissions

     The City of Homer is looking for a few good volunteers to serve on its committees and commissions. This is a chance for interested residents to be on the ground floor of public policy.

     Regular KBBI listeners know the Clerk’s Calendar is a staple for Monday programming. Lately there’s been a consistent refrain each week: committees and commissions need more bodies. But what’s recruitment actually like?

     “It’s difficult,” said Homer City Clerk Jo Johnson. “We advertise frequently for openings and occasionally we get a few names for consideration.”

     There is no shortage of committees or commissions for the city. For the month of January alone, eight different groups have meetings scheduled. Some volunteers serve in multiple groups. Johnson says the commissions generally meet once a month while the committees usually meet at least once a quarter. So it’s not a huge time commitment. 

     Though, just this week the Library Advisory Board had to cancel its meeting due to a lack of a quorum. And oddly enough, one of the items on their agenda was recruitment for new board members. 

     In November, the Planning Commission was discussing changing its rules about the number of allowed absences. Commissioner Roberta Highland said at the time she wasn’t sure that was going to be a good idea for the long-term.

     “To tell people if you miss so many then you’re off; I think we would be possibly shooting ourselves in the foot,” she said. 

     Johnson said for some people the amount of time spent in meetings might not be too bad. But a roadblock the city deals with is when a commissioner or committee member realizes the groups aren’t exactly what they expected.

     “The things that we hear frequently are their ideas may not be listened to, or they come in with an agenda and the other commissioners may not want to act on it. So they’re kind of out there on their own. But they seem to… form a cohesive group that can make good recommendations to council,” she said. 

     She said the city does create committees that get together for one specific purpose for a short period of time and then disband. Johnson said both residents and, in some instances, non-residents can apply for the groups. Applications are available at both the City Clerk’s office or on the City of Homer website. Information about what each group does also is available on the city’s website.