City seeks volunteers to join boards, commissions

NILES — The city of Niles is seeking volunteers to join city council-appointed boards and commissions. Appointments are generally city residents, but a number of city of Niles boards and commissions do not require people to live in the city as they call for areas of expertise, employment or business addresses in the city, or even regional partners.

Recommendations for consideration of appointments of new commissioners are forwarded to the specific staff liaison who will take the commission’s recommendation to the City Council Appointment Committee for consideration. All recommended appointments will then be considered by the entire city council during a meeting.

Each commission advises the city council on specific issues or on policy matters regarding its assigned responsibilities and duties. Commissions function in two distinct capacities in the public policy process in Niles: advisory and administrative. Some will serve in both capacities.

Each advisory commission makes recommendations to the city council based on the scope of its particular service area. Typically, advisory commissions have a work agenda in place for a calendar year during which it undertakes projects, deliberates on issues and hosts special events. The city council is responsible for making the final decisions on most issues or topics, but it will look to commissions for advice, background information and analysis. As the elected body, the city council has discretion to accept advice in full, in part or not at all.

City of Niles advisory committees include: Fort Saint Joseph Advisory Committee, Parks & Recreation Board, Niles Public Arts Commission, and the Dial-A-Ride Local Advisory Committee.

Certain commissions have an additional administrative role. This means that they are permitted or required by charter, statute or ordinance to conduct formal reviews and issue administrative decisions. It is vital that rules established by law are followed by commissioners and that every administrative decision is supported by facts placed on the record. An administrative decision shall not be based on the number of people who show up to speak for or against, rather, it shall be based on applicable law and presented facts or testimony. In fact, courts will overturn decisions that lack a factual basis and decision makers may even be liable if determinations are not based on what is permissible under the law. In some cases, a decision may be appealed to the city council; in others, an appeal will be made to Circuit Court.

City of Niles administrative committees include: Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, the Downtown Development Authority, the Historic District Commission, the Housing Commission, the Planning Commission, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Construction Board of Appeals, the Utilities Board and the Pension Board.

Interested individuals will need to be available to attend regular monthly meetings that occur at regularly scheduled meeting time. Members usually serve between two and five years and most meetings last between one and two hours.

For more information or to download an application, visit the city’s Boards and Commissions webpage at nilesmi.org/government/boards_and_commissions.php.

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