Many residents are involved in Auburn’s local government, but their names don’t appear on the local election ballot every four years. These residents are appointed to serve on one of Auburn’s 22 boards and commissions.
The 22 boards are split into four categories: advisory, planning and development, independent authorities and multi-governmental agencies. There are 122 Auburn residents serving in various roles on these boards.
Assistant City Manager Megan McGowen Crouch said she believes each resident offers a unique perspective on issues presented to each board.
“We are able to allow citizens who have specific skills, trades, and interests a direct line of expertise to the City Council,” Crouch said. “We are also able to see where our citizens have interest within their communities and give them a place to actively make a difference or voice their opinion.”
Boards and commissions are in place by Alabama law, which has certain standards and expectations of the members who are selected for these positions.
“For instance, one board, by state law, may require an engineer or architect while another requires you to live in the community of that board,” Crouch said. “It all just depends on the board or commission that you are interested in.”
The Council appoints all board and commission positions.
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After Mayor Ron Anders took office in November 2018, he appointed two Council members to a Boards and Commissions Task Force to rework the appointment process.
After several work sessions, the City Council issued a resolution on the City’s appointment procedures on Jan. 8, 2019. The resolution requires a formal announcement of a vacant position four weeks prior to the date of appointment.
The resolution also established an annual open house where residents interested in serving on a board or commission can learn more about qualifications and the appointment process.
“This helps citizens know a little more of what they are getting themselves into when they sign up,” Crouch said. “Time is important to people and some boards require more of a time commitment than others.”
Appointment terms and meeting times vary for each board.
Laura Chappelka, who has been a member of the Auburn Public Library Board since 2013, said serving on the board was just her way of getting involved in something that was important to her.
“I care about these libraries,” Chappelka said. “When I saw the opportunity to get involved, I immediately decided this was my way of giving to my community.”
Residents can look to the City’s website for more information about the boards and commissions in Auburn. Vacancies within the boards are posted on the website and the schedule for the different board meetings is available for residents who are interested in attending.
Residents can also find a comprehensive list, detailing the state requirements for board appointments, and descriptions for the roles of each board and commission on the City’s website.
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