Here's a list of City of Newburyport Boards and Commissions which can also be found at
The work is often quietly done behind the scenes, usually not covered by the press and usually with no audience.
ATKINSON COMMON COMMISSION
BOARD OF HEALTH
BOARD OF REGISTRARS
BOARD OF SEWER COMMISSIONERS
BOARD OF WATER COMMISSIONERS
CABLE ADVISORY COMMITTEE
COMMISSION FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
COMMUNITY PRESERVATION COMMITTEE
COUNCIL ON AGING BOARD
EIGHT TOWNS AND THE BAY
LIBRARY BOARD OF DIRECTORS
MOSELEY WOODS COMMISSION
MUNICIPAL RETIREMENT BOARD
HOUSING AUTHORITY NEWBURYPORT
REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY NEWBURYPORT
OPEN SPACE COMMITTEE
POLICE-CITIZENS ADVISORY COUNCIL
SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE AND EDUCATION FUND COMMITTEE
STREET TREE COMMITTEE
TRUST FUND COMMISSION
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS (ZBA)
In terms of recruitment, sometimes you'll see a notice in the Daily News or Current about an opening (the Harbor Commission recently posted an opening in the Daily News daily briefs), but most times the appointment process is behind the scenes. I'm not suggesting any malfeasance but I am suggesting that it's not a very efficient way to find the 'talent' that undoubtedly is out in the community.
Because these Boards and Commission often are dealing with the likes of developers with deep pockets filled with legal expertise and landfill operators with profit in their hearts, I think it best that we go into this in a very deliberate way.
I am suggesting two incremental changes to the way Newburyport does business which I think will foster improved civic involvement.
1) Open Recruitment
At the local level, Methuen has an application form http://www.cityofmethuen.net/legacy/Mayor/Assets/talent%20bank%20application%202006.pdf where the resident checks off their interests and attaches a resume.
We should do the same. This would be easy to track. As each application and attached resume is received, it could be logged in an Access database or Excel spreadsheet checking off the Boards and Commissions the person is interested in. Keep the application on file. Every time there's an opening, the Mayor could start with a pool of applicants already on hand.
2) More Transparency
The City of Salem doesn't have its recruitment process on-line but they do have the Boards and Commissions listed with meeting dates and a link to each entity here. Click on a link and you get that Board's member list, minutes and agendas.
We should establish a Boards and Commissions link on the homepage of the City's website (http://cityofnewburyport.com/). The Boards and Commissions page would include a general application form, the list of Boards and Commissions, and members and dates of term --- as well as links to minutes. Right now you can find information on the City's Boards and Commissions but it's a hunt. The website has been much improved in the last year and centralizing this information would be a great next step.
Here's how the State is opening up the appointment process.
Here's some commentary on Blue Mass Group at http://bluemassgroup.com/diary/15714/governor-patrick-launches-boards-and-commissions-website:
This new website may seem like a little thing. It's not -- actually, I think it's potentially huge. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of boards and commissions set up under state law. Most of them are unpaid, but many of them have direct influence over important areas of state policy. You can have real impact by serving on these things -- in fact, short of running for office, it might be your best way of doing that.The State is tracking the openings in a fairly sophisticated way-- hey, they've got more money and more positions to track.
I think we should take the cue from the State and other communities and improve this very important volunteer element of our local government.
Councillor Ed Cameron