Public unaware of process to fill vacancies on boards
Many people are unaware of the process of how county board positions are filled, said Commissioner Brenda Hutchinson at last Friday's commission meeting. A lot of people have told her they didn't know there were vacancies on the boards.
"We often have to go begging for people to serve on them," said Commission President Glen Stotler.
A vacancy currently exists on the Morgan County Fire Board for a citizen representing Magisterial District 2. Representative Bill O'Grady has served two conservative terms and cannot serve another term, said County Administrator Bill Clark.
There is also a vacancy on the Morgan County Economic Development Authority, he said. Businessman Wayne Omps resigned from that county board to serve on the Planning Commission, said Clark.
Clark said they have run advertisements in the past when county board positions became vacant. They haven't done so in a few years since the boards have mostly been full. Clark has gone around speaking to local community groups different times about the county boards and has taken applications.
There are 16 county volunteer boards and committees on which citizens can serve. Volunteers are appointed by the Morgan County Commission. Residents may fill out an application to serve on any of the county boards
County boards & committees
County boards include the Morgan County Economic Development Authority, the Morgan County Planning Commis-
sion, the Warm Springs Public Service District, the Morgan County Board of Health, the Morgan County Building Commission, the Morgan County Fire Board, the Health Care Planning Commission and the Morgan County Library Board of Trustees.
Additional county boards are the Northeastern Regional Emergency Medical Services, Inc. (NOREMS), the Parks and Recreation Commission, the Region 9 Development Council, the Special Communications Committee, the Potomac Headwaters Recreation and Development Board of Directors, the Morgan County War Memorial Hospital Board of Directors and the Morgan County War Memorial Hospital Advisory Board.
Board make-up varies
Volunteer boards and committees vary in the number of members. A county commissioner presides over each county board.
Volunteer boards may have a specific make-up, such as the fire board, which has three firefighters and three members-at-large, each one representing a magisterial district along with a commissioner, said Stotler.
The rules governing a county volunteer board, as for the Health Board, may also specify that there can't be more than two members from the same magisterial district or no more than three from the same political party so to have a balanced make-up, said Stotler.
These criteria sometimes make board positions difficult to fill, he said.
Volunteer boards and committees also have specified terms of service, usually three years. After their term, the commission may reappoint the board member if they are still willing to serve.
Jeanne Mozier suggested that the commission list the county boards on their website, with code requirements, job descriptions for board members, meeting days and times and job expectations.
Board applications could also be downloaded from the website. Mozier also recommended a one-hour orientation for new board members.
John Webster pointed out that the legal notices used to advertise the board positions are such tiny print that it's impossible to tell what they are about unless you read them all.
Webster wondered if a heading could be put at the top of a legal notice like "Fire board member needed" so it would be easier to see what it was about.
Clark said that all county boards are dedicated and hard-working. The Planning Commission is one of the most impressive of the county boards, said Clark. Often they stay late at night, sometimes until 11 p.m., he said.
"To volunteer for it is almost like taking on a job," said Clark.
For more information
For more information about the county volunteer boards and committees, call the Morgan County Commission office at 258-8540.