City committee recommends consolidating or changing most of 18 advisory boards

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A city committee has reviewed the city’s advisory boards and recommends consolidating 13 boards down to five, nixing another and making the police review board the “Safe and Secure Board.”

Over the last five months, the Board and Commissions Structure Committee was tasked with limiting the number of boards to 10, not counting those required by state statutes.

The committee has discussed the city’s strategic plan, and the scopes and charges of all its boards and commissions, according to a Friday news release from the city. “As a result of this work, each relevant board and commission has been sorted into the outcome or commitment area to which it is most closely aligns,” according to the release.

Under the committee’s recommendation, some would remain separate boards:

The Community Police Review Board would become the “Safe and Secure Board.” Its future is also in flux as the temporary Community-Police Oversight Work Group is set to start meeting next week.

Three “Unmistakable Identity” boards would remain separate: the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board; Cultural Arts Commission; and the Sustainability Advisory Board.

Combined boards:

The Affordable Housing Advisory Board and Human Relations Commission would be combined into one board for equity and inclusion.

The Board of Zoning Appeals / Sign Code Board of Appeals, Building Code Board of Appeals and Historic Resources Commission would be combined into a single board for strong, welcoming neighborhoods.

The Public Transit Advisory Committee and Multi-Modal Transportation Commission would be combined into one board for a connected city.

The Transient Guest Tax Grant Program Advisory Board, Public Incentives Review Committee and Aviation Board could be combined into a single board for prosperity and economic security.

The Special Alcohol Fund Advisory Board, Affordable Housing Advisory Board Trust Fund and Sales Tax Audit Committee would be combined into one board for sound fiscal stewardship.

The draft also suggests that the Bodywork Advisory Board’s responsibilities be moved to Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health.

See the full draft with more explanations of the goals and outcomes at this link. See the city’s current list of advisory boards at this link.

The recommendation is a draft, and the committee is seeking the public’s feedback. There is a digital questionnaire that will be available through June 30 on this Google form.

There will also be two meetings to discuss the draft: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 15 at the Carnegie Building, 200 W. Ninth St.; and noon to 2 p.m. Friday, June 16 via Zoom, with a Zoom link to be provided soon.

“Given the possibility that boards and commissions sorted into a particular outcome or commitment area might be combined as part of this process, the Committee is eager to hear from the community regarding the proposed structure,” according to the release.

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