Our Opinion: Consider serving on city boards, commissions

News Tribune editorial

No invention exists to identify volunteers to serve on Jefferson City boards and commissions.

Opportunities abound, however, to participate as a member of advisory groups for government at all levels – city, county and state.

Jefferson City now is seeking people to serve on four specific boards or commissions. Applying to volunteer is as simple as filling out a form, available on the city Web site, www.jeffcitymo.org.

The application is available by clicking Special Interests, then Board and Commissions on the menu. In addition to the application, the city’s boards and commissions are listed. Each includes length of term, a description and requirements, if any.

Among impediments or obstacles to participation, first is a lack of awareness.

Jefferson City is served by 23 boards and commissions. The varying number of members on each adds up to hundreds of opportunities.

Second, prospective volunteers may question whether they are qualified. Some boards and commissions require specific qualifications; others do not.

The city now is seeking to fill vacancies on the: Cultural Arts Commission, Convention and Visitors Bureau Board, Housing Authority Board and Board of Adjustment. For the latter board, for example, the city is seeking a member with a background in architecture.

Finally, we have heard a reluctance to volunteer expressed with the words: “I pay my taxes. Isn’t that enough?”

It is enough. It is what’s required.

Imagine, however, how much higher those taxes would be if reluctance to volunteer was universal.

The volunteers who serve on government boards and commissions donate time, energy and expertise. Without them, government would be bigger, more bureaucratic and, consequently, less connected to the people it serves. Government is people — voters, elected officials, employees and volunteers. We encourage and commend the volunteers who serve us all by serving city government.

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