Question#8: Authorities, Boards, and Commissions
The city’s 20 (or so) authorities, boards, and commissions significantly impact the progress and the quality of every facet of life in Easton. Because the authorities, boards, and commissions are sanctioned city government subdivisions, how can we better ensure that the nominated appointees are qualified and representative of the needs of taxpaying residents?
Authorities, Boards and Commissions are an important element of local government. This level allows multitudes of people to become involved in their city, making decisions that affect the future of our city. First and foremost, we will advertise openings by all means possible to recruit as many applicants as possible. We will interview each candidate to review their commitment to the position and the skill set they bring to the appointment. When a decision is made the individual’s name will be submitted to City Council for their approval. We will meet semi-annually, in public, with the members of the ABC’s to review and update the city’s strategic plan and how well we are achieving the goals and objectives.
It is council’s job to vet mayoral candidates for the ABCs. First, council needs to ensure that openings on the ABCs are somehow advertised – on the city website, in the Bugler, etc. – so that all interested residents have a chance to come forward. Rather than just passing a name onto council for approval, the mayor should be asked to also pass along a list of qualifications, and a letter of interest from the candidate. If necessary, council should also meet with the candidate for a discussion. Strengthening this process should not “scare” away interested citizens, but instead help strengthen the membership of these ABCs.
Nominated appointees are typically confirmed by council. I believe that council needs to interview each candidate and identify their expectation of the individual being nominated for that position. Each authority, board, and commission should be assigned to a council member and that council member should monitor the appointee to determine if she/he is meeting the expectations. If they are not a mechanism should be established to allow council to remove an individual from that position.
I just answered that in my previous statement. Citizens Oversight Committee will have the power to remove from office, employees who are doing substandard work. Every department needs to have an annual independent audit. If there is no improvement from one year to the next, without any major problem being the cause, that department needs to be cleaned out and replaced with employees who have not gotten complacent in their jobs.
An idea that I am very fond of and highly in favor of, will be for an annual reapplication of all city employees. It has worked in major corporations, and it will work for city governments too. If we keep applications on file of qualified individuals for at least 1 year at a time, we will be able to replace substandard workers with little effort. The reapplication process is fairly easy and straightforward. Every year each employee must submit a resume for review, to include what accomplishments they have made in the previous year, if they have not grown in their present position, then they will be brought up for review, and other prospective candidates will be interviewed at that time for that job. If another candidate has better qualifications we release the former employee, and hire a new employee. It not only keeps salaries down, but it also better qualifies us as a city of professionals. I am sure that no resident has a problem paying a higher salary for a more qualified individual, if that individual is willing to continue their education and training.