Saturday, February 16, 2019

Defining the role and purpose of volunteer advisory boards.

First, something “Worth Noting” for Lake Worth City Hall: There are only twenty-eight (28) days in February this year.

What is not of issue are these boards: The Community Redevelopment Agency, Historic Resources Preservation Board and the Planning & Zoning Board. Although some may have a problem with a particular decision these boards do tremendous work month after month.

And every volunteer serving on every board needs to commended for all the work they do. To see the list of City volunteer advisory boards click on this link.

The issue about volunteer boards is not about the volunteers. The issue is about whether or not it’s time to reevaluate the role of certain boards, maybe eliminate some or create others, and refocus on the goals and objectives of volunteer boards.

Next Tuesday the City Commission and the Lake Worth Electric Utility (LWEU) will be taking on the future role, if any, for the Electric Utility Advisory Board (EUAB). Below is Item 8C on the Commission/LWEU agenda, a meeting to be held in City Hall next Tuesday. This meeting follows the regularly scheduled meeting of the City Commission which starts at 6:00.

Later on this year will be the bigger job for the Commission, administration and City staff. Evaluating and examining a whole lot of other volunteer boards at City Hall. See that list of boards below.

The regular Commission meeting next week has a short agenda and should not take long. To look over both agendas click on this link and scroll down for the meetings dated “February 29” which of course should read “February 19”. Maybe somebody at City Hall thinks this year is the Leap Year. It’s not. The next Leap Year is in 2020.

Note that after next Tuesday coming up on March 5th there will be one last City Commission meeting prior to Election Day on March 12th. So it is a real possibility that discussion about banning plastic straws will come back before the Commission again. But let’s all hope not. It’s time to stop grasping at plastic straws and come up with some better ideas.

After the City Commission figures out what to do with the EUAB next week, then later on in the year will be this topic. What to do with these volunteer advisory boards?

  • C-51 Canal Advisory Committee (CAC).
  • Citizen’s Advisory Committee – 2016 Bond Referendum (CAC-BR).
  • Finance Advisory Board (FAB).
  • Library Board.
  • Recreation Advisory Board (RAB).
  • Tree Board.

Every board listed above has problems. Not making quorum, missing meeting minutes (the FAB has no minutes for all of 2018), the CAC hasn’t met in two years, the CAC-BR can’t round up enough members to have a meeting, the Library Board is a mystery, the RAB is now bi-monthly, we think, and the Tree Board is out there waging a war against palm trees which are not trees but the public loves them anyhow.

One can see why the public may want our City Commission to take a look at this topic.

Every elected on the City Commission has had issues with one or many of the boards listed above. Either about overreach, not focusing on what their mission is, or just wondering out loud what a particular board does specifically or in general.

Questions: Should volunteer boards come before the City Commission every two years or so to justify what they do? Should boards be automatically sunset if they can’t reach a quorum regularly? Should volunteer boards have an end date, need to be reconstituted on occasion, or just go on forever?

This will be a very interesting discussion and debate coming up, maybe at a City Commission work session to be scheduled later this year.

Now back to the EUAB. Here is agenda item 8C:

Agenda Date: February 19, 2019.

Executive Brief.

Title: Ordinance No. 2019-03 — Reconstituting the Electric Utility Advisory Board.

Summary: This ordinance reconstitutes the Electric Utility Advisory Board to be consistent with the City Commission’s more active role in Electric Utility issues while maintaining the Board as an ad hoc advisory board on electric utility issues. [emphasis added]

Background and Justification: In 2012, the City Commission created the City’s Electric Utility Advisory Board (EUAB) to advise the City Commission, on behalf of the City’s citizens and residents, on electric utility policies, plans and programs. While the EUAB has provided invaluable advisory assistance to the City Commission in the past, the purpose and duties of the EUAB should shift with the City Commission’s desire to pursue a more active role in electric utility policies, plans and programs including the creation of a monthly City Commission meeting dedicated solely to electric utility issues.

Currently, the EUAB is a seven-member board, which is required to have monthly meetings. If the EUAB is reconstituted as proposed by this ordinance, it will become a five member, ad hoc advisory board that can more efficiently assist the Electric Utility Director and City Commission on electric utility matters on an as needed basis.

All current members of the EUAB are serving as de facto board members with expired terms. If this ordinance is approved on second reading, the City Commission will need to appoint five new board members to serve on the reconstituted EUAB.

Following discussion at City Hall next Tuesday there will be a move to approve or not approve Ordinance No. 2019-03.

Stay tuned as they say about the future of the EUAB. We’ll get the answer next Tuesday evening. Or maybe not. Maybe it will come back after March 12th, Election Day.