Boards & Commissions: May in Review

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On the Docket: How Decisions are Made and Mock Hearing

The fifth month of learning is where the rubber meets the road. Our first session this month was dedicated to learning about how leadership entities earn the authority to make decisions. Jim Baugh, former DisAbility Rights Idaho Executive Director, walked the fellows through this information and encouraged them to do their own research on the statutory requirements of each body they are appointed to, in order to ensure they are making decisions according to the law, code or statute. 

This year, all of the fellows were invited to come to Boise to participate in a live mock hearing.  Each was assigned to one of five boards to work through a ‘hot topic’ during a mock public hearing. For example, one group of fellows simulated Ammon City Council hearing from the public about an addition to the city code that would prohibit the sale of pets in public spaces (Chapter 5, title 14, section 19). This issue was an actual topic in the city of Ammon, where the code was ultimately passed by the City Council.  

During the mock hearing, the fellows not only simulated a public body, they also prepared and delivered testimony during each other’s mock hearings, so their fellow participants could get an authentic public hearing experience.

The mock hearing is a crucial part of the fellows’ learning experience. It helps them actually feel what it would be like to serve on a public board – from reviewing the agenda and researching the items on the agenda, to sitting on a dais, to remembering all of the protocols required to make a motion, accept testimony, and more. All of the fellows commented about how nervous they felt leading up to the event, and how much they learned about themselves and the process by the end. Many thanks to Boise City for allowing us the use of their facilities on a weekend and a huge shout out to Kathy Griesmyer who not only helped us access City Hall but who provided expert testimony on one of the topics.  

Next Agenda Item – DEI Learning: For diversity, equity, and inclusion topics this month, the fellows reviewed three short animated films (Purl, Drawn to You, and My Shadow is Pink) and then talked about the complexities of each regarding inclusivity and acceptance in regards to gender and sexual orientation.

The fellows explored the following questions: 

  1. What thoughts, feelings, emotions did each video cause for you? Why?
  2. Were there any moments of sudden insight or discovery? What threads of connection could be made with your lived experience?
  3. There are numerous resources related to these identity dimensions.  

We encourage all of you to pick one of these short films, watch it and tell us your thoughts about its message.  

Meet the Presenters

Jim Baugh, retired Executive Director, DisAbility Rights Idaho
Jim served as a civil rights attorney for over 40 years specializing in disability rights. For about 20 years, he worked primarily in public policy–mostly the Idaho legislature and state agency rulemaking. He retired from being the Executive Director of DisAbility Rights Idaho in 2019. He currently serves as a Boards and Commissions Fellowship Mentor.

Adan de la Paz, DEI Educator
You may remember Adán; he is a regular presenter for our 2023 Fellowship. Adán also assisted in the restructuring of the College of Idaho’s Council on Diversity & Inclusion and is now the principal consultant and founder of De La Paz Education.

Final Chapter: Graduation and Next Steps 

Graduation will be held on June 10th in Boise. We are very excited to celebrate all of the fellows and what they have accomplished. We’ll share our celebration photos in next month’s newsletter. 

The goal of the program for the fellows to apply for public boards and commissions. So far, we have folks interested in joining public charter school boards, as well as the Planning and Zoning commissions in both Caldwell and Nampa. Many folks are interested in giving back in other ways – such as joining Reclaim Idaho in their efforts to get rank choice voting onto the ballot. We will be following up with the fellows as they spread their wings and do great things all over Idaho. On that note, we are very excited to announce that 2021 graduate, Trish Walker, is on her final interview to join the Boise Library Board of Directors. Good luck, Trish!! 

Here are a few board openings in the area: 

  • Eagle: Parks, Pathways, & Recreation Commission: Two positions open.  Those who wish to serve on the Commission must submit a Request for Consideration Form (Online). A resume or curriculum vitae is encouraged. 
  • Garden City: Design Review Committee – one open position. To apply, email or mail a résumé, contact information, and a cover letter to

Quote of the Month

“I’m SO SO grateful for this Fellowship! My primary personal goal for my participation in this Fellowship was to gain more confidence…I reached other goals too, but confidence was my main one. GRACIAS!!!!” -America Yorita Corrion, Boise Fellow

As we wrap up this year, we are looking towards the future and identifying individuals who should know about this program. If you would like me to come and present to people, associations or groups near you, please reach out to me so we can chat! or by phone at 208-703-3063

See you next month!