POSTED ON APRIL 13, 2011:
A Volunteer Army
Tulsa needs more men and womento sign up and help out
A section of the local government that is just as important as the Council and Mayor includes our authorities, boards and commissions that are led by 462 volunteers.
These volunteers work with the mayor's administration, the Tulsa Council and our City staff members to address issues, create or modify policies, and connect with the citizens of Tulsa to bring information to City Hall. By being in Tulsa offices, schools, churches, industries and our residential neighborhoods every day, they are truly Tulsa's first responders. They bring to City government information from the trenches, and they contribute their skills and talents to city government and Tulsa taxpayers.
Keeping track and replacing 462 volunteer positions as they expire is a large task. All positions should be filled on a timely basis, and it requires considerable staff time within the Mayor and Council offices, as well as Council confirmation. We try to find volunteers throughout the city, representing all four quadrants of the city and we look for candidates from all nine Council districts.
I recently convened a board leaders' summit, bringing together 47 chairs of the 53 authorities, boards and commissions that perform work for the City. There, I presented my vision for the City, discussed our goals and asked each to work with the Administration and staff on the goal of improved efficiency and effectiveness among our authorities, boards and commissions. It is the beginning of dialogue to evaluate redundant or similar services provided by these boards and staff, and find goals and missions that could easily fit together.
I have proposed we consider consolidation of some authorities, boards and commissions and strive to become more efficient in serving all of Tulsa. The discussions are in the preliminary stages, and will involve members of the authorities, boards and commissions. There are no discussions regarding the elimination of any services provided by these groups, but we may be able to streamline. A fewer number would also allow more efficient management and tracking of these volunteer positions, and improve our opportunities to attracting volunteers to work with the City.
Above all, I want to thank all of the Tulsans who put hundreds of hours of time into volunteer positions every year for the betterment of this city. Many work weekly on issues and dedicate several hours a week to our City government programs and services. The work ranges from contracts and policies regarding refuse and recycling pick up, delivering clean, safe water, assisting with trade licensing, and contributing experience and knowledge to economic development efforts, as well as social and human rights issues. All should be applauded and praised for their effort.
By ordinance, authorities, boards and commissions' volunteers must be Tulsa residents and be at least 18 years of age. We most always have a need for volunteers.
Interested Tulsans may find a list of all authorities, boards and commissions, open seats, application forms online at www.tulsaboards.org or by calling the Mayor's Action Center, 918-596-2100. My aide, Monica Hamilton, reviews applications, submits her recommendations and forwards my nominees to the City Council.
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