Our view: Board needs new blood

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During this week’s Lee County Commission meeting, the subject of appointments to one of the commission-appointed citizen boards was on the agenda.

All of the incumbent board members whose terms are expiring wish to be reappointed, and an interested citizen not already on the board was also interested in applying. The interested citizen seems to have excellent qualifications, as do two of the three incumbents.

However, our beloved county commissioners, including the chair, seem to be incapable of saying “no” to an incumbent who wants to be reappointed. Yet they deplore the lack of applicants for these boards and commissions.

We have no doubt that many of these incumbent members serve and have served with distinction and simply wish to help the community in which they live. Such service is admirable and should be commended.

However, there comes a time when one’s service should come to an end – the day when eminently qualified newcomers have their turn to do the job.

These board appointments are not lifetime fiefdoms for local citizens, tiny little kingdoms through which small amounts of power flow.

The point of being on a citizen board is to represent the views of people not unlike yourselves, the average citizen.

It does us no favors either to have the so-called “career board members,” the sort who volunteer for many appointments but actually end up thoroughly committing to few, if any, of them. They are a member, yes, but sometimes in name only.

One of these considered last Monday night is actually a member of five public boards and a total of 10 boards and committees.

If there are new, capable people ready and willing to do the job, it is the responsibility and duty of sitting board members and the public officials who appoint them to recognize when it might be time to make a hopefully  dignified exit.

Public officials, revise your “Citizens Interest Form.” For incumbents, ask for their attendance records. If they don’t come to the meetings, they ought not to be reappointed. Ask how long they have served.

Disclaimers to the contrary, you can do a far better job of seeking new applicants. For a large number of years we have had a Leadership Lee County program that has produced several hundred graduates. How many of these graduates have served on county boards and committees? Maybe service on public boards and commissions ought to be a requirement for participation in the program.

It is time to let new people with fresh ideas come onto these boards, bringing their own sets of skills that could prove useful.

If not, and we continue down the path of reappointment after reappointment, these boards lose much of their relevancy and become rubber stamps for the publicly funded employee/activity they are supposed to provide oversight and direction for.

And we the taxpayers are the losers.

Come on, commissioners – represent us a little better.During this week’s Lee County Commission meeting, the subject of appointments to one of the commission-appointed citizen boards was on the agenda.

All of the incumbent board members whose terms are expiring wish to be reappointed, and an interested citizen not already on the board was also interested in applying. The interested citizen seems to have excellent qualifications, as do two of the three incumbents.

However, our beloved county commissioners, including the chair, seem to be incapable of saying “no” to an incumbent who wants to be reappointed. Yet they deplore the lack of applicants for these boards and commissions.

We have no doubt that many of these incumbent members serve and have served with distinction and simply wish to help the community in which they live. Such service is admirable and should be commended.

However, there comes a time when one’s service should come to an end – the day when eminently qualified newcomers have their turn to do the job.

These board appointments are not lifetime fiefdoms for local citizens, tiny little kingdoms through which small amounts of power flow.

The point of being on a citizen board is to represent the views of people not unlike yourselves, the average citizen.

It does us no favors either to have the so-called “career board members,” the sort who volunteer for many appointments but actually end up thoroughly committing to few, if any, of them. They are a member, yes, but sometimes in name only.

One of these considered last Monday night is actually a member of five public boards and a total of 10 boards and committees.

If there are new, capable people ready and willing to do the job, it is the responsibility and duty of sitting board members and the public officials who appoint them to recognize when it might be time to make a hopefully  dignified exit.

Public officials, revise your “Citizens Interest Form.” For incumbents, ask for their attendance records. If they don’t come to the meetings, they ought not to be reappointed. Ask how long they have served.

Disclaimers to the contrary, you can do a far better job of seeking new applicants. For a large number of years we have had a Leadership Lee County program that has produced several hundred graduates. How many of these graduates have served on county boards and committees? Maybe service on public boards and commissions ought to be a requirement for participation in the program.

It is time to let new people with fresh ideas come onto these boards, bringing their own sets of skills that could prove useful.

If not, and we continue down the path of reappointment after reappointment, these boards lose much of their relevancy and become rubber stamps for the publicly funded employee/activity they are supposed to provide oversight and direction for.

And we the taxpayers are the losers.

Come on, commissioners – represent us a little better.

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