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City Commissions Have Open Seats

City Commissions Have Open Seats

(Crystal A. Proxmire, 12/6/2011)

Do you have a passion that could help move the city forward?  Ferndale’s Boards and Commissions offer a variety of ways to put your skills and knowledge to work for the common good, and several have openings at this time.

The City of Ferndale has several Commissions which focus on specific tasks or areas of interest where citizen involvement can make a difference.  These groups are made of residents and representatives of the City, and sometimes those who do business in the City.  Their main task is to advice City Council on policy matters, though groups can also do other volunteer activities such as organizing events or doing community education or projects.

The Arts and Cultural Commission has four open seats. The Beautification Commission has three.  And the Downtown Development Authority and Police and Fire Board each have one opening.  The Board of Review needs one alternate, and the Board of Zoning Appeals has two alternative seats open, with one expected to be filled at the Dec. 12 City Council meeting.

Each Board or Commission has its own terms and requirements, established by Council at the times the groups were formed.  Meeting commitments also vary, though most meet once a month or less. More detailed information on each Board and Commission can be found on the City of Ferndale website.

To be considered for a position, individuals can download an application form from the City of Ferndale Website, and return it to the City Clerk’s office. Many positions require an appointment by the Mayor, which is considered after reviewing the application.  “We look at all of them and take them seriously,” said Mayor Dave Coulter.

“One of the things that makes Ferndale work is the willingness of our citizens to step up and volunteer.  It’s unlike most communities I know of,” he said.

Other Boards and Commissions  are already full of member volunteers, such as the Ferndale Environmental Sustainability Commission (FESC), The Brownfield Redevelopment Commission, Planning Commission, Special Event Commission and Parks and Recreating Advisory Board. While there are not official seats to be filled, meetings for these groups are open to the public for those who want to get involved.

One recent Commission success, according to Coulter, is the FESC.   Formed in 2007, this 11 member team is tasked with advising the City on issues like solid waste and recycling, alternative energy and energy reduction, carbon output, pollution and water quality.

“The FESC is one of the most recent examples of how commissions work for the good of the community,” Coulter said.  “They identified the problem that we have low rates of recycling in the City, which not only hurts the environment, it costs the City money.  They saw a problem, and they helped come up with a solution.  They’ve been out educating the community and teaching people why recycling is important.  They’re the ones the pushed the half off recycling bins and worked with the DPW {Department of Public Works} to get more people doing it. That’s one of the best examples of residents with a passion using it to make the city better.”  (To read about the recycling class held by the FESC go to http://oaklandcounty115.com/2011/11/12/recycling-101-how-to-save-the-city-money-help-the-planet-too/)

City Manager April McGrath has been impressed with the level of involvement as well, and hopes more residents will consider applying for the open seats. “We have over 170 volunteers that assist in creating change with different thoughts and ideas, that’s what makes a City unique,” McGrath said.

“Our community is only as strong as our residents. Many residents think that the only way to make a difference is to get elected as a Councilmember.  However, there are multiple boards and commissions that help create policy. One of the ways to make a difference and offer a voice is through volunteering.”

Read more about Boards and Commissions here.

Check out the Meeting Schedule here.

Download Application here.

Or contact the City Clerk’s office for more information at (248)546-2384.  Applications can be turned in anytime of the year.

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