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"Unexpected Vacancies" on City Commissions and Committees

From: domainremoved <Lynne>
Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2019 13:34:26 -0800

Hello Council,

I'm writing about the "unexpected vacancies" in Menlo Park
Commissions/Committees that you are being asked to choose replacements for
at your Jan 29, 2019 meeting. The term "unexpected" makes me wonder. I
understand reasons such as moving out of MP or being elected to Council.
However, I'm troubled at the possibility that some may have resigned early
due to dissatisfaction with their commission/committee service.

First, for transparency's sake, can we start to add a reason (in neutral,
objective language) to these type of reports. I suggest coming up with a
short list such as "moved out of Menlo Park" or "no longer eligible due to
_______" or "resignation."

When someone ends their service early, for non-obvious reasons, I think it
would be helpful to find out more. First, we could start to ask everyone
who has completed their Commission/Committee service to complete a short
online survey. After an adequate number of respondents, I would like to see
the results made public and in a rolling fashion. For those departing
early, for non-obvious reasons, a suitable staff member could invite them
to a short "exit interview." The data would help MP to identify problems
that need fixing and opportunities to better engage those serving. Of
course, we need a process for how we channel the information into needed
improvements.

Like Atherton did, we could also hold an interactive "study session"
<https://www.ci.atherton.ca.us/DocumentCenter/View/5457/Item-19> to
"discuss ways to more proactively engage the committees in the Town's
public engagement and feedback process." That topic provides a constructive
focus for what I believe is a much overdue needed conversation. I think
it's better to hold a group session because the brainstorming and refining
of ideas would be better. The report gives more background into why the
Study Session was held and it includes suggested changes to Atherton's town
committees that came out of the meeting. As Atherton's report notes,
"Commissions and Committees are a *vital* part of the Town's public
engagement and review process. These groups have the ability to gather
public input on an issue and provide feedback and recommendations to the
City Council for consideration." The report signals the importance of the
Commissions/Committees to the Atherton City Council.

Please let me know if I can be of help.

Lynne Bramlett
Received on Mon Jan 28 2019 - 13:31:34 PST

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