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Fri., Jan. 25, 2013, 8:29 a.m.

Gookin: Appointment Process Flawed

Dan Gookin (re: Gookin still votes vs. appointments): My thoughts are that a committee that approves its own members perpetuates a closed-box thinking. After all, knowing human nature, a group is unlikely to invite in new members who don't already think like the group. I don't believe that's representative of the general public and certainly wouldn't present itself as a valid cross section of concerned citizens. I know that some committees seek out new members, but I'm not certain if they all do. A step in the right direction would be the written committee recommendation presented to council. Currently we don't see that. Or I should say, <em>I</em> don't see it because it's not made available in our cubicle. That was one of the issues I discussed with the Mayor. More below

Question: Have you ever served on a local government committee?

Rather than have a committee keep on the same members for years, or in some cases decades, I think people should openly apply for committees at a public meeting. We should know who wants to serve and open the process to the public. We need to term limit committee members. We need to ensure that individuals aren't serving on five and six committees at a time, and that everyone gets a shot at service. The only requirements should be that they are interested citizens, not that they pass some committee litmus test or their names are not reviewed against certain lists.

The way I see it, the current system simply perpetuates that wall dividing "us" versus "them" and keeps the City polarized. I'd like to see that put to an end.

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D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

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