Boards & Commissions: April in Review

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April Agenda: Open Meeting Law, DEI and in-person Meetings  

Can you believe we’re already in month four in our 2023 program? As we draw closer to the end of this class, the curriculum is more technical. While open meeting law is not a stimulating topic, it is important for the public to be involved in decision making.  Additionally, dispelling myths about who is qualified to serve is a hallmark of this program.

Old Business

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – Disability 
This month, Adan de la Paz helped the leaders learn about disability justice and ableism by reading and discussing this article: Ableism Is Embedded In Our Language. We Can Dismantle It. Throughout the fellowship, the Fellows are encouraged to ask the question, “Who is missing from the conversation?” By being curious about whose perspectives are not at the table helps them to bring in more voices from the community.  

In-person Meetings 
In order to increase our Fellows’ exposure to elected and appointed officials, I arranged informal meet-and-greets near where our Fellows meet current or former elected/appointed officials. These meetings serve to facilitate relationship development by encouraging elected and appointed officials in the area to share their story of how they came into leadership.These gatherings never disappoint! Everyone who participates has learned something new, and the importance of building relationships is reinforced. 

  • March 28th, Meridian: The Fellows met with Public Works Chair, Crispin Gravatt, Boise Public Works Trustee, Meredith Stead, Boise Design Review Commission Trustee, Jessica Aguillar, and former state legislator, Gayle Batt. Thank you to Jessica Aguilar for making the meeting space available for us!
  • April 6th, Ketchum: The Twin Falls Fellow, Lisa Gonzalez, met with some amazing leaders from the Wood River Valley. They met with commissioner Karma Fitzgerald (who also ran for the Idaho Legislature in 2022) and former Bellevue City Council Member, Jenni Rangel.
  • April 19th, Idaho Falls: I traveled to Idaho Falls to meet with Carrie Sheid from the College of Eastern Idaho board and Elizabeth Cogliati from District 91 school board. We had so much to say and connect about that I forgot to snap a picture. Much thanks to Carrie and Elizabeth and Yossie who learned so much from their wisdom.

ACHD and Resumes
This year, we added two new components to the curriculum – resume writing for boards and commissions and exploring Ada County Highway District advisory committees. Mary Beth Netting shared with the fellows her passion for biking and running, how she came to be on the ACHD Bicycle Advisory Committee and how she prepares for the meetings. Jillian Alexander gave a lengthy presentation about resumes and answered a lot of questions about how fellows could tailor their resume and cover letters to highlight their strengths as they apply to local boards and commissions.

New Business

Upcoming agenda items:

  • Public Decision Making: Fellows will learn how different bodies make decisions using laws, ordinances and policymaking 
  • Mock Hearings: Fellows will learn what it’s like to sit on a dais and walk through an agenda – including hearing public testimony 
  • Get involved!! May 20th is our mock hearing date. We need audience members!  If you would like to be an audience member and/or give mock public testimony (to test out your own leadership skills), please email me so we can connect. I’d love to get you involved in the Boards and Commissions Fellowship Program!

Current Board openings 

 Ada County Commissioners 

  • Historic Preservation Council – 4 seats currently open – accepting applications
  • Parks, Open Space and Trails Advisory Board – 1 seat currently open – application period closed, but interested parties are always encouraged to apply
  • Solid Waste Advisory Committee – accepting applications
  • Western Idaho Fair Advisory Board – 2 seats currently open – application period closed, but interested parties are always encouraged to apply
  • You can find the application for these opportunities by clicking here

Boise City/Ada County Housing Authorities – Commissioner – 1 seat open – accepting applications. You can find the application by clicking here

Caldwell: Planning and Zoning Commissioners – You can find information about Planning and Zoning by clicking here. To apply for the Caldwell Planning and Zoning Commission, you must complete an application, which can be found by clicking here.