Monday night was a long night as I sat down and began writing a 3,000 word count article on the most recent meeting of the Mountain Home City Council. Most weeks we roll those articles over to the next issue since our deadline to go to press is Tuesday morning. However, one of the reasons that I choose to cover those particular meetings myself is because I know that there will be times when the story cannot be held. Something happened that made it need to hit the streets right away. This past meeting was one of those and it was a long meeting, going nearly three hours. So after arriving home around 9:30 and then having to eat dinner (because of course I worked straight through until the meeting began at 6 p.m.). I sat down to write at 10 p.m.
As I began to type, I just kept thinking about how the meeting could have gone a lot differently if the city just had a step by step outline on the process on which a person is appointed to a board.
This is kind of what I would call appointment season around here. For the past few meetings multiple people have been appointed to multiple boards. One thing I have been reading and hearing around town though is that many people do not hear about these openings and would have been interested in applying if they had known. As someone who works with the local governments and reads press releases for a good portion of each day, many of these I hadn’t heard of ahead of time either, but for the most part could see why the people who had been appointed had been chosen.
Then we have nights like Monday, in which two controversial picks were appointed to boards. I am not going to comment on either of those choices today, however, this could have been avoided.
During Library Director William Lambs public comment to the Council, he asked for them to look into streamlining the process and setting up a system of advertising positions and choosing appointments. Later on in the meeting Councilman Matt Bundy said similar.
Now I am asking our council to do the same. There is no reason for this process to not be clear cut. Though most of them are not paid positions, these boards and committees fill an important role in guiding how our city grows and in the day-to-day operations of Mountain Home. Their work is important even if it is on a volunteer basis.
I am asking that one of our councilmen put forward an effort to form a working group and write out a step by step guide for an ordinance on the advertising, length of time a position can be open, application process and vetting process for the multitude of open positions within the city. That ordinance should also go over a review process for members of boards who would like to be reappointed to a second term: have they attended meetings, do they bring knowledge and enthusiasm to the position and in the end are they an asset to the board or committee on which they serve. I have asked a few of you what your plans are as a member of our city government for 2020 and am hoping now that one of you step forward and take up this cause. Lets make this process clear cut and black and white for years to come. Make this one of the things you are proud you accomplished when you are done serving the community and look back at your time in office.