Many cities and counties have local boards and commissions who advise the local government on a number of policy issues from public safety, zoning, housing, and economic development to ethics, sewer and water, and law enforcement. Boards and commissions enable citizens to get involved in the policy-making process without holding elected office and allow for a broader perspective to be considered when a City Council is making decisions. Typically, members from the community are appointed by the local government executive to serve on these committees, boards and commissions.
Common boards, committees, and commissions (just to name a few):
- Architectural Review Board
- Community Development Authority
- Fair Commission
- Technology Commission
- Library Board
- Police and Fire Commission
- Finance Committee
- Sewer and water
If you’re under 18 and want to get involved, no problem! Many municipalities have their own Youth Advisory Councils that serve as a way to get young people involved in local government and learn how policy is made. Call your city/town/village clerk to get more information. You can find your clerk and contact information HERE.
Boards and Commissions are almost always unpaid, volunteer positions; and they are great stepping stones to understanding how your local government works, meeting new community members, and exploring what life in public leadership could look like for you. To find out what boards and commissions are offered in your town, start by googling your local town or city’s name and “Boards and Commissions” or you can head directly to your city’s local government website. If you live in a smaller town or village, call the village/town president or clerk.