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Application Information for Citizens
City boards, commissions, and committees in general are comprised of registered voters, City of Petaluma residents, who volunteer for service and are appointed by the City Council. Their primary responsibility is to advise and make recommendations to the Council. The adoption of policies, the issuance of proclamations, and the approval of agreements and other official acts of the City are Council’s responsibility.
There are presently fourteen boards, committees and decision-making commissions appointed by the City Council. They are as follows:
- Airport Commission
- Animal Services Advisory Committee
- Building Board of Appeals (Housing Advisory and Appeals Board)
- Historic and Cultural Preservation Committee
- Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee
- Planning Commission
- Public Art Committee
- Recreation, Music, and Parks Commission
- Senior Advisory Committee
- Sonoma County Library Commission/Library Advisory Board
- Technology Advisory Committee
- Transit Advisory Committee
- Tree Advisory Committee
- Youth Commission
When a vacancy on a board, committee or commission occurs, the City Clerk prepares a press release that is distributed to all local media, including the Argus-Courier. The vacancy is announced on Petaluma Community Access's government channel 28.
Applications for vacancies are obtained from the City Clerk's office, and are also available from this web site, in Adobe Acrobat pdf format, by clicking on the "Application Form" link above. Completed applications are submitted to the City Clerk's office. Three to four weeks after the vacancy announcement, the completed applications are forwarded to the City Council in a regular agenda packet for public review. The City Council interviews all applicants at a meeting open to the public. The official appointment of commission members is made at a City Council meeting by at least four affirmative votes of the Council.
Board, commission, and committee members generally serve two-, three-, or four-year overlapping terms. (Every June 30th, the term of at least one member of each may expire.) There is no monetary compensation or benefits for board, commission, or committee members.The City Council may reappoint the member or fill the vacancy.
Some bodies limit the number of consecutive terms an individual may serve. After one to two years have elapsed since his/her second consecutive term has expired, a member is again eligible to serve and may make application for appointment to the same or another board, commission, or committee.
Members are expected to serve their full terms of office; however, when a member must resign, due to personal or professional circumstances, he/she should send a letter to the City Council stating the effective date of the resignation. A member shall be removed from office upon four affirmative votes of the City Council, based on one of the following grounds:
At the pleasure of the City Council, without cause:
- If he/she is absent from three consecutive meetings, unless permission by a majority vote of the commission had been granted as reflected in the official minutes of the commission.
Or by operation of the City Code if:
- If he/she is convicted of a crime of moral turpitude.
- If he/she ceases to be a qualified voter in the City of Petaluma.
City boards, commissions, and committees shall have the following general powers, duties and responsibilities in addition to those set forth in Title 2 of the Petaluma Municipal Code and various Resolutions:
- To establish rules and regulations governing the election of their officers, the holding of meetings and the conduct of business.
- To utilize all appropriate techniques in crystallizing and testing public sentiment on major public issues in their respective fields.
- To make budget recommendations.
- To hold official hearings as required by law or requested by the City Council.
- To advise and recommend on City policies and procedures pertinent to their respective activities and functions.
- To support and adhere to all City policies promulgated by the City Council and to establish needed interim policies in the absence of the same.
- To provide information and promote good public relations between the City and the general public.
- To perform such other related functions as may be assigned to them by the City Council.
While membership on City boards, committees and commissions requires no specific qualifications, there are desirable characteristics for which the Council will be looking as they review applications:
- Familiarity with Community
The Council would require appointees to have lived in Petaluma for at least one year prior to their appointment and to be somewhat familiar with the physical, social, and economic make-up of the City. Applicants should have demonstrated an active interest and involvement in the community.
- Familiarity with Major Issues
While it will be assumed that applicants are familiar with the specific issues that are being addressed by the board, committee or commission for which they are applying, it is also expected that applicants be aware of far-reaching issues which will impact all sectors of City programs and services.
- Knowledge of the Committee
During the application process, applicants should become familiar with the responsibilities and role in the City's policy-making structure of the board, committee or commission for which they are applying.
- Commitment to Serve
When appointed, members are expected to serve their term of office. While personal or professional circumstances might prompt an unexpected resignation, applicants who are aware of any reasons why they may not be able to complete a full term or attend regularly scheduled meetings, should indicate this on the application. While time commitments will vary depending upon schedules and workload, members are expected to attend all scheduled meetings. In addition to attending scheduled meetings, members may be expected to participate in study sessions or serve on subcommittees.
- Relationship with the Community
As a member of a City board, committee or commission, your actions will reflect on the City of Petaluma, and you are required to relate to the community with impartiality and courtesy.
- Type or neatly print your application. Due to the quantity of applications the Council must review, it is appreciated.
- Answer all questions on the application. Council reviews your application to gain an understanding of your background and experience, and what skills and talents you believe you could bring to a particular board, committee or commission. Don’t forget to sign and date your application.
- Attend one or two meetings of the board, committee or commission for which you are applying. Find out what the current issues are, and what issues may be coming in the future. Review the minutes of past meetings, available at City Hall.
- Talk to a current member. Current members can share with you their experience, give you an estimate of the time commitment involved, and what they see as current and future issues.
- Talk to the City management liaison(s) to the board, committee or commission. Listed on the above-mentioned rosters are City staff members who are assigned to work with the boards, committees and commissions and who can also help you learn more about the function and role of members. (City staff members do not recommend or lobby for any applicant).
- Find out City Council’s priorities and interests. Attend City Council meetings and review meeting minutes. Council meetings are televised on public access Channel 28, broadcast live and archived on the City’s website, cityofpetaluma.net, and are available for purchase on DVD from the City Clerk's Office or for loan on videotape from the City Manager’s Office.
- Prepare for the interview. Although we do not know what specific questions Council will ask, we suggest that you clarify for yourself why you are applying for a specific board, committee or commission, understand its role and function, and be familiar with the current issues it is examining.
- Treat the interview with City Council as a business interview. Understand that the City Council is not only considering what experience, skills and talents you bring, they are interested in how you will represent the City.
Claire Cooper, CMC
11 English Street
Petaluma, CA 94952
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Mon-Thurs