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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Platform for a 21st Century Hickory - Independent Boards and Commissions

2) Independent Boards and Commissions - to lend a non-partisan perspective to the intended purpose/mission of the group. We need policies related to Nepotism and adherence to guidelines of term limits so that members of boards and commissions are not actual proxies of City Council members. We should not see business partners of Council members serving under Council members on Boards, Commissions, and Task Forces where there can be even a perception of a conflict of interest.

Openings should be filled promptly without delays. Citizens who ask to be on Boards and Commissions should have the opportunity to serve, if not a fair hearing and appeal process should be available.

This is not a dreamed up concern about a non-existent or anticipated issue. We have seen too many situations where City Council members immediate family are serving on these Boards and Commissions. We have seen where  business partners have served on task forces that weighed issues that can affect the business partnership. We have seen where people have filled out paper work to participate on various Boards and Commissions and been ignored and never appointed to any position, much less a desired position.

Through the last several years, we have been told how hard it is to fill the seats on these various Boards and Commissions, but we know of people who have gone through the process and never been appointed. Time and time again the Mayor has reiterated that 200 people serve on various Boards and Ccommissions, which is .5% of the Hickory Population of 40,010 (Newsletter - City Council meeting - July 19, 2011). We have seen the same circle of people rotate on and off various Boards and Commissions, when there were term limits, and we have seen what appear to be Lifetime Appointments to Boards and Commissions where there are no defined term limits. Every Board and Commission should be term limited. We have seen positions continuously go unfilled, when we know there are people who have filled out paperwork to serve.

Why is all of this happening? Because the leaders of this community want to control the productivity, findings, and message of the Boards and Commissions to meet their personal desires. Certain people in the community who have done nothing more than express concerns have been labeled as "Trouble Makers". The "Powers That Be" do not seem to want the checks and balances that come with Independence and Critical Thought. Unfortunately for all of us, that is how the best ideas and processes that lead to success happen. At the end of the day, as we have seen, the City Council will have the final say any way. Why the problem with people who lend a fresh perspective or take a second look at issues that this community faces? Why do they feel it necessary to stack the deck?

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