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Looking to make a difference, network, learn? Serve on a city board or commission

The planned North Lot Tower near Qwest Field will undergo a Design Commission review.

Today in the Committee on the Built Environment we confirmed appointments of 16 citizens to various city boards, commissions, and councils.

Thanks to people stepping forward to serve, we have new appointees to the Seattle Design Commission, Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority, the Ballard Avenue Landmark District Board, the Historic Seattle Preservation and Development Authority, the Pioneer Square Preservation Board, a couple of neighborhood Design Review Boards, and the Ethics and Elections Commission.

My colleagues and I rely on input from more than 50 boards and commissions. The City Council and Mayor appoint members of boards and commissions after putting out a call for applicants.

We post notices and do some targeted outreach to professional groups that may be good trolling grounds for people with professional experience. You can check out openings any time on the Boards and Commissions Web site.

About serving on a board or commission

Service on the boards is voluntary (no conscription) with terms that last two or three years and include the opportunity to be reappointed. Commissioners meet usually twice a month. They contribute crucial informed opinions to project staff and policy makers.

How younger people can get engaged

Not surprisingly, board and commission membership can skew toward people who are established in their careers and have a bit more flexibility to give their time. Younger adults sometimes feel like they don’t have the knowledge or time to give.  Wrong! For a number of years now the city has had the Get Engaged program for adults under 30 who are interested in serving. The YMCA recruits the participants and provides training and support, while the City offers special one-year positions on the Boards and Commissions and partially funds the YMCA work.

Interested in serving?

To find out more about board and commissions, what they do, and whether or not you might be interested in serving, visit the City of Seattle’s Boards and Commissions Web site.

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