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    For the second time in as many weeks, the Fayetteville City Council discussed the formation of a new committee to vet volunteers for the city’s numerous boards and commissions. And, following a great deal of discussion, and assurances that the council would remain in ultimate control of the process, the council approved changes to the process.
    The new process was part of  a comprehensive overhaul of the system, which, in the past, left the council little time to adequately review the applicant’s qualifications and interests. The plan calls for a three prong process: Recruitment, Selection and Appointment and Training, Retention and Recognition.
    Under the Recruitment section of the plan was a call for a comprehensive marketing plan to make citizens aware of the roles boards and commissions play in local government, with an ultimate goal of creating a larger pool of volunteers. The Training, Retention and Recognition segment of the plan would ensure that volunteers understand their duties and the rules and regulations governing their actions. {mosimage}
    At contention was the formation of an Appointments Committee. The committee comprised of four members of the council, representatives from the city manager’s office, the city attorney’s office and the city clerk, would review all applications to ensure they meet the requirements for service on the boards and commissions on a bi-annual basis, and then make recommendations to the council.
    Council members noted that they had citizens questioning the process and whether it would affect their ability to continue to serve if the process was changed. Assistant City Manager Doug Hewitt explained that the process has, in fact, not changed. He explained that the committee would only ensure that the citizens who had applied for a board or commission lived in the city, did not serve on any other board or commission and if needed, met the professional requirements for service on a particular board.
    He noted that certain boards require a specific make-up. For instance, the Historic Resources Commission calls for membership to include an architect and an attorney.
    He added that in the past, people who live outside of the city or who did not hold the professional qualifications needed for service on a particular board had come up for a vote by the council. He said the Appointment Committee would ensure that that did not happen, adding, "Council still has the opportunity to look at the applications and decide the appointments," he said.
    Councilman Charles Evans questioned the need for the committee. "We’re selecting a committee for people who are volunteering their service. I’m really trying to understand why we are selecting this committee. Do we think people are not going to be truthful or are not capable of committing to what they are asking for appointment?" questioned Evans.
    Hewett noted that the committee would be in place simply to make sure any issues related to appointment were made prior to the appointments being brought to the council.
    Councilman Bates said that the new plan would inform the community of the boards and commissions and ensure that the citizens understand fully what they are getting into.
    The council passed the recommendation, with Evans the lone vote in opposition.


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