Committees may be consolidated

Kevin Wilson

When it comes to recreation and beautification committees, the city is hoping that less is more.

That’s the reasoning for an upcoming ordinance for the Clovis City Commission meeting to combine the Parks and Recreation Board, the Ned Houk Park Board and the Keep Clovis Beautiful Committee into one committee with more duties and more likelihood of moving items to the city commission.

“It’s always been a problem getting a quorum,” Parks and Recreation Director Bill Bizzell said of the three boards. “You can’t act on any business. It’s just a discussion.”

The ordinance was introduced during the Jan. 19 commission meeting, where it passed under the consent agenda, dedicated to items that are either routine or have expected unanimous consent. Citizens or commissioners can pull items off of any consent agenda for discussion.

The ordinance is up for approval during the Feb. 23 commission meeting. If it is implemented, it would:

• Eliminate the Ned Houk Park Board, the Parks and Recreation board and the Keep Clovis Beautiful Committee, and repeal the city code that established each.

• Create a Parks, Recreation and Beautification Committee and create a city code to establish it.

• Require the new committee to consist of nine members appointed by the mayor, with consent of the city commission. The committee would include one commissioner and one citizen from each of the city’s four districts, plus a ninth member from a representative of a group that utilizes parks and recreation services (i.e. Clovis Sports Association).

• Give the new committee numerous responsibilities, including creation of park policies and fee structures, coordination of city cleanup activities, oversight of Ned Houk Park grazing leases, identification of future recreational areas and the biannual updating of the parks master plan.

“I think what you’ll do is you’ll wind up getting rid of some of those members who have no interest in serving again,” Bizzell said. “I’m hoping this resolution will strengthen our participation in all three boards.”

Citizen terms would be for two years, with two members serving initial one-year terms to allow for staggering of the board. All citizen positions are volunteer.

Rose Riley, who chairs the parks and recreation board and serves on the Keep Clovis Beautiful Committee, said she hopes the streamlined process would take less of a toll on commissioners and citizens who consistently attend but are thwarted when others don’t.

“We have a commissioner who sits on every board,” Riley said. “It will be more interesting and serve everybody if instead of 10 meetings a month, we move it to one or two.”

Should the new committee be formed, Riley plans to apply for the position.

Community Development Director Claire Burroughes said the problem of reaching quorums has existed for years within the small committees. Some changes have been made — such as last April, when the Keep Clovis Beautiful Committee dropped from 13 members to eight. But the problems were still there.

“We talked with other communities in the region about their parks and recreation committee, primarily,” Burroughes said. “They advised they had similar challenges. We discussed how they addressed that.

“The general consensus is to be more meaningful as a board … putting them all together (will give you) one more cohesive board.”

Burroughes said as an example, the city previously had numerous committees on drainage, sewers and so on. Now, the Public Works Committee handles all of those matters, and it consistently has meetings with quorums and citizen attendance.