Left In Lowell

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January 1, 2013

New year but not so new issue!

by at 12:55 pm.

By now I may sound a bit repetitive but the City Council’s last motion for calendar year resonated with me and others.

City Councilor Ed Kennedy has been consistently presenting motions on the make-up of the various City Boards and Commissions. At the last meeting of this year he once again submitted a motion on that topic

C. Kennedy - Req. City Mgr. appoint or re-appoint members to following boards or commissions: Auditorium Comm., Library Bd. of Trustees, COOL Bd., Election Comm., Greater Lowell Workplace Investment Bd., Green Building Comm., License Comm., Lowell Civic Stadium Comm., Animal Advisory Comm., Scholarship Comm., and Taxi-Cab/Livery Comm.

C. Kennedy - Req. City Clerk provide a list of all Boards and Commissions along with expiration dates of members.

In the past CC Kennedy had stressed that he wanted the status of all hold over appointees to be resolved. He is referring to those who term is up but have not yet been re-appointed or replaced. And he also wanted to make sure that all vacancies were filled.

But at the last meeting, he raised an issue which I am in total agreement: bring greater diversity to these boards. To me the word diversity encompasses not only meant gender but ethnic, neighborhood, religious, socio-economic, age, professional backgrounds, experience, etc…

Here is a 7 minute video of the discussion during the CC meeting of December 18th:

As you can see and hear the City Manager is an agreement with CC Kennedy and his Administration has done a good job of bringing new faces and new views to these various Boards and Commissions.

I am not suggesting anyone should be replaced. On the contrary, we need seasoned, experienced members to mentor, provide institutional memory and make sure that the board follows its stated mission. We should all be appreciate of these individuals who volunteer their time to help this City prosper.

However, when there is an opening, we should throw a wide net and perhaps reach enthusiastic, emerging community activists. I am not also advocating appointing unqualified individuals. I am just suggesting that we can expand the demographic make-up a little bit.

How do you encourage talented, concerned individuals to get involved in civic affairs? How do you make them feel comfortable in wanting to apply? That is our challenge. Most people would consider it a great honor to serve their community in this voluntary capacity but the welcome mat has to be laid out not only by the Administration but by the City Council.

Here is the link to the page on the City’s web site which provides information on the boards, commissions and advisory boards.

CC R. Elliott suggested posting the openings on the web site. We can also use social media to advertise these openings. City Council members can become ambassadors and promote membership of the various boards and commissions. There are a lot of avenues available to us.

Perhaps the last motion of the year will be the first order of business for the CC, their Clerk and the Administration.

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