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Role of the Council Liaison to Boards and Commissions

Every two years, following the election of Councilmembers, the Council selects its liaisons to the boards and commissions. Council has defined the role of Council liaisons as follows:

  1. Serves as the primary two-way communications channel between Council and the board or commission.
  2. Takes the lead in filling vacancies, reviewing applications, and interviewing candidates for the board or commission.
  3. Serves as the primary informal Council contact for the board or commission.
  4. Helps resolve questions the board or commission may have about the role of Council, municipal government, and the board or commission.
  5. Establishes formal or informal contact with the chairperson of the board or commission and effectively communicate the role of the liaison.
  6. Provides procedural direction and relays Council's position to the board or commission, and communicates to the board or commission that the liaison's role is not to direct the board in its activities or work.
  7. Serves as Council contact rather than an advocate for or ex-officio member of the board or commission.
  8. Reviews annual work plan of the board or commission and make recommendations to the City Council regarding the work plan.
  9. Identifies and helps resolve any problems that may exist with respect to the functioning of the board or commission.
  10. Facilitates training of new board and commission members by providing suggestions and relevant information to the City staff members responsible for providing such training.
Council liaisons do not normally attend monthly meetings of the boards and commissions. Liaisons are informed of boards and commissions activities through agendas and minutes, work plans, and annual reports. Liaisons may attend a meeting due to an interest in a specific agenda topic, or may "pop in" just to observe. Attendance by a Council liaison should not affect the normal structure of a board meeting. Attention should not be focused on the Council liaison and his or her input. If Council liaison participation is critical to a particular item, a direct invitation should be made to the Council liaison, explaining why participation is deemed to be critical. If appropriate, discuss with the liaison prior to the meeting what expectations are and whether the liaison can meet those expectations.