BERLIN — Dozens of positions on town boards and commissions are set to open when terms expire at the end of the month, leaving town officials concerned that some boards may be left without enough members to conduct business.
“It’s an amount I’m concerned about,” said Town Manager Jack Healy.
Though many members are expected to be reappointed, even a few vacancies can make it difficult for smaller boards to have enough members present to take action.
Out of the 62 spots which are open, 15 are currently vacant. Others have told Healy they don’t intend to seek reappointment.
“Many of these people have been on for many years … and are getting on in years and are saying ‘it’s time for someone else,’” Healy said.
Interested residents can submit an application to Healy’s office, which will then be forwarded to the Town Council for consideration. The council is expected to make appointments at its Jan. 22 meeting.
Mayor Mark Kaczynski said serving on the Planning and Zoning Commission and Town Council has been rewarding.
“Certainly volunteering is a great thing to do,” he said.
Healy emphasized applicants don’t need to be experts to qualify for a board or commission because each panel has town staff to handle technical work and provide advice.
“You don’t have to be a wetlands specialist to be on the inland wetlands board,” Healy said. “If you are willing to sit and listen … you are qualified.”
William Jackson, vice chair of the Inlands Wetlands and Watercourses Commission also encouraged residents to volunteer.
“We have the ability as citizens to be involved, to share in the review of decision-makings,” he said.