There’s no reason to wonder whether elected Lawrence and Douglas County officials are interested in what local residents think about public policies.
A recent event honoring all the volunteers who serve on city- and county-appointed advisory boards was a vivid reminder of how many people are involved in setting local government policy.
The city has 47 advisory boards or task forces and makes appointments to fill about 360 slots on those boards and others joint boards. The county has 30 advisory boards and about 150 appointees.
Those boards deal with issues ranging from how to run the public library to what changes are needed in the city’s traffic system. Their members give city and county officials advice on how to allocate public funds, how to change city codes and a host of other details associated with running local government. They put in many hours dealing with public concerns and offering input to officials who must make the final decisions.
Many people might find the work tedious. In some cases, the advisory board member might agree with that assessment, but they nonetheless pour through materials and consider a variety of issues that affect how well local government operates and serves its constituents.
It’s often a thankless job, so it’s good every once in a while to take time to express some appreciation to all those advisory board members. City and county officials did that at their recent event, and we’d like to do the same now. Advisory boards are an important link between local residents and our elected officials and members of those boards deserve the community’s thanks.