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Re: commissioner recruitment: some thoughts

From: domainremoved <Cat>
Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2018 12:50:39 -0700

Katie,

We do consider all of the applicants when making appointments to commissions. All Menlo Park commissioners "serve at the pleasure of the City Council,” which means that we can remove them at any time by a vote of the Council.

While existing commissioners do have the advantage of illustrating their commitment and contributions to that commission, some haven’t been re-appointed in years past. Please also note that our staff keeps track of who applies multiple times. Just because someone doesn’t get appointed the first time, there is a higher change that they might make the next opening. So it isn’t ever a waste of time to apply.

I do appreciate your thoughts, though, and agree that we may need to make this more clear to those who apply as well as to those who are appointed. Thanks so much for sending us your ideas!

All the best,

Catherine


> On Apr 5, 2018, at 8:50 AM, Katie Behroozi <kbehroozi_at_(domainremoved)
>
> Dear council members,
>
> I noticed that there are a lot of commission openings coming up this month, and that the city has been encouraging people to apply.
>
> I've also noticed that when sitting commissioners apply for a second four-year term, they typically are reappointed. In fact, this is such a norm that *not* reappointing someone to a commission can be seen as a slap or judgment.
>
> So I have a request, on behalf of citizens eager to engage:
>
> Can you consider modifying the commission appointment process in one of the following ways?
>
> 1) Advertise commission vacancies–but alert citizens to the fact that x of the vacancies are likely to be filled by reappointments. In some cases, x is 100%.
>
> This way people can gauge how much time to spend on an application, or whether they want to apply at all, knowing that it could be a pointless exercise (and for that matter, asking seated commissioners to fill out an application for renewal when we all know that they are likely to be reappointed *also* feels like a waste of everyone's time.)
>
> or
>
> 2) Change the norm by fully considering every application you receive, even if there is an existing commissioner who wishes to re-up. After all, you have to run for your council seats every 4 years. It's not crazy to do the same thing with the commissions. We all know incumbents have advantages–knowing the system and so forth–but I personally know a few good people who have wanted to serve and been denied the chance, multiple times. If we tell people that they shouldn't run for office before they've been seated on a commission then we should ensure that there are more real opportunities to serve.
>
> Disclaimer: I really enjoy my fellow commissioners and would happily serve with them until the end of time. I also fully plan to reapply when my first term is up, and I'll probably be bummed if you don't reappoint me. But I'm also uncomfortably aware of how opaque the process appears from the outside, and of how disappointing it is for someone to pour their effort into an application, only to see reappointments fill the spots without any real discussion.
>
> Thank you for your consideration.
>
> Warm regards,
>
> Katie
>
> --
> Katie Behroozi
> 650.804.1812 (cell)
Received on Tue Apr 10 2018 - 12:52:30 PDT

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