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Thread: Serving on another community's boards

  1. #1
    Cyburbian mique28's avatar
    Aug 2005

    Serving on another community's boards

    Sorry if this in in the wrong thread...please move as needed.

    I am curious to know if anyone on Cyburbia has volunteered or served on a board (Plan Commission, Design Review Board, Board of Appeals, etc.) in one community (perhaps your hometown) while also working in some public/municipal capacity elsewhere?

    Any problems, benefits, concerns or conflicts of interest?

  2. #2
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    May 2003
    Staff meeting
    I was on the Plan Commission in the last community I lived in (I work for another one 30 miles away).

    It wasn't a problem and actually very insightful. And since I live in a very large metro, I could live in one community and work for the one right next door, which would be fun.

    I no longer serve on any boards, because I recently moved into the community I work for.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  3. #3
    Oct 2008
    Eugene, OR
    I wasn't personally, but knew someone that was. I think it could greatly benefit a town espicially if say a city planner in one town serves on the Plan Commission in their home town. This is becasue you know they are knowledgeable about the topic, and also may have seen what worked and what didn't in the town which they work in.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
    May 2002
    On the edge of the abyss
    Go for it. I was on the BZA and the Planning Commission for my city in one county while working as the Transportation Planner for the road commission in an adjacent county. There was no problem at all, and it added to my knowledge somewhat at regional meetings.
    What do you mean I can't plan? My SimCity has 300,000 people with a 99% happiness rating!

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Aug 2001
    South Milwaukee
    I offered to serve ony any committee deemed appropriate by the Mayor in Repo Man's city. I was summarily dismissed and ofered to attend a "meet and greet" where the Mayor hand picked his nominees. In hindsight, he's an assmunch.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Fat Cat's avatar
    Nov 2006
    Rockwood, MI

    Fat Cat

    At various times I have served on a Historical and Cultural Commission for another city, a Promotional Board for another city and a County Historic Commission, always with the knowledge and approval of the city that I worked for.
    There were probably others but I dont recall them at this time, It was a good opportunity for me, for the city that I worked for and for the city and county where I was on a board, It gave me lines of communication that helped the area and all of the cities
    I did work for one city where they told me that they would fire me if I was a volunteer for another city,
    Another city that I worked for told me that if I was a paid per call fire fighter for the city that I lived in they would fire me.
    so always get permission
    I might not have liked the answer but at least everything was up front and there was no doubt in my mind what I could do and not do.

  7. #7
    Jul 2006
    I've served on two historic district commissions in communities where I've lived but worked in the private sector in planning. It worked very well.

    It could, however, not work if it's a situation like I have right now: the former planning director for the community I work in left the position to work for a neighboring community. The mayor appointed him to the ZBA for our community after he left the job and its been a nightmare. He didn't leave under the best conditions (sorta forced out) and he has been horrible hostile to staff and has worked hard to try and embarrass the junior planners during meetings. I'm pretty unembarrass-able, but his line of questioning is typically really out of line. He mostly embarrasses himself and we've had to start having trustees attend the meeting so that they can see his behavior and know not to reappoint him.

    So....as long as you've never worked for the municipality, I think that serving on a board for the community is a great idea.

    My long term plan is to get on the library or school district board where I live.

  8. #8
    Jan 2004
    I currently work for the county but serve on the city's zoning board. It is occasionally awkward when I'm making ZB recommendations on projects for people that I'm dealing with on other projects in my planner capacity. For the most part, however, its been a great learning experience b/c I've had to work closely with another jurisdiction's codes and think about things on a different level than normal for me. I say go for it. you learn a lot.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian estromberg's avatar
    Jul 2007
    Northern Illinois
    I work for the County Zoning department, and I was recently asked to serve on the Comp. Plan Steering Committee for the municipality I live in.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian RandomPlanner's avatar
    Mar 2005
    Missing up north from the low country
    Two of our County Planners are Planning Board Chairs in their fair municipalities and it seems to work out just swimmingly. The only oddity -- Board members are required to attend 4 hours of "planning and zoning training" per year. So every time one of our Planners gives a presentation, he complains about having to do the required "training" and claims that his presentation should count. It's unclear if that's completely kosher, but ... his municipality gives him the hours (so he usually has 15-20 hours a year instead of the required 4, but many of them, he was the instructor/ presenter). (Shrug.)
    How do I know you are who you think you are?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
    Jun 2005
    NYC area
    Those of you who are on boards, how do you find the time to balance night meetings for your job with those for the boards? I'm interested in getting involved in my local Community Board but since I already have anywhere from 1-3 night meetings a week, it would be a real balancing act to pull it off - and obviously, the meetings for work are going to take precedence if there is ever a scheduling conflict. How do you make it work?

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