At any given point there are usually between 30 and 35 boards or commissions carrying out Juneau’s business, and there are ample opportunities for members of the public to get involved.
Most boards or committees have three-terms, with a few expiring every month, and people give up seats when they move so there are always openings, said Deputy Municipal Clerk Beth McEwen.
“We have a variety of boards, so it depends on peoples’ interests and how much time they’re willing to put into the work of the boards,” she said.
Some boards, such as the historic resources advisory committee, are looking for candidates with very specific skills or expertise to fill the open positions, but many others have general at-large positions that anyone willing to sacrifice some time and effort can apply for, she added.
“If people have seen something in the community and they wish to have an active role in making decisions about that sort of thing, this is a good way to start down that path,” McEwen said.
All the boards are volunteer positions with the exception of the Planning Commission, which gives its members a $150 honorarium each month due to the amount of work that goes into serving on the board.
“Anyone who serves three years on the Planning Commission deserves a great deal of recognition because it is so time consuming,” said Assemblyman Randy Wanamaker.
He added that the Assembly’s work would not be possible without the boards and committees that tackle the details of difficult issues.
“It is how the Assembly is able to function on the tasks it needs to do by referring to the expertise and work done by boards,” McEwen said. “They’re extremely important.”
Wanamaker added that boards are a good starting point for people interested in public service roles like the Assembly.
“The parliamentary procedures are the same and the issues are no less difficult,” Wanamaker said. “That’s why we need the boards, because the issues are so difficult.”
He added that board or committee experience is a bonus when running for office.
“You probably have a fairly good idea what you’re in for, and you bring a good perspective with you,” he said.
Board vacancies and information on how to apply for those openings are posted on the city website at http://www.juneau.org/clerk/boards/Board_Mainpage.php .