City seeks applicants for municipal boards, commissions

February 7, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

City leaders need civic-minded citizens to offer advice on key issues as municipal board and commission members, even as officials remain undecided about just how many such groups Issaquah needs.

The city needs applicants for openings on 12 boards and commissions. The groups advise the City Council on issues related to the arts, cable TV, development, parks and, in more specialized realms, city cemetery operations and sister-city relationships.

Get involved

Citizens interested in applying for a board or commission post can pick up application forms at the City Clerk’s Office at City Hall, 130 E. Sunset Way, or download the form at The deadline to submit a completed and signed application and volunteer service agreement form is 5 p.m. Feb. 29.

Call the City Clerk’s Office at 837-3000 to learn more about the appointment process.

Officials need regular and alternate members. Applicants for board and commission posts do not need to reside in Issaquah.

Applicants undergo interviews before Mayor Ava Frisinger recommends appointees to council members for confirmation. The council usually confirms appointees in the spring. Terms for appointees start in May.

However, some responsibilities could shift for boards and commissions soon.

In a study released last year, Seattle consultant Moss Adams called for city leaders to slim down the 13 municipal boards and commissions to relieve employees’ workload and consolidate some functions. (The overall study recommended broad changes to City Hall operations.)
The council is expected to vote on reorganizing boards and commissions in the months ahead. Restructuring the board and commission structure requires a city ordinance or ordinances.

“What that’s going to look like and how fast that’s going to happen is a little bit hard to say,” Frisinger said in early January.

Meanwhile, the council is scheduled to decide soon on a city Economic Vitality Commission. Creating such a commission is a top council priority for 2012.

The proposed commission could handle a marketing plan to attract businesses, consider opportunities to improve signage options for merchants, review municipal permitting and inspection processes, and produce annual report cards on strategies recommended in the 2005 Economic Vitality Plan — although the city has yet to outline specifics.

Other recommendations in the Moss Adams study called on leaders to create a more muscular economic development office. The initial steps in the City Hall reorganization focused on economic development efforts.

In November, City Administrator Bob Harrison announced the effort — a plan to promote Keith Niven, the longtime Major Development Review Team manager, to economic development director and a plan to hire economic development managers to complete the team.

The open positions include:

  • Arts Commission — Commissioners work to increase awareness and enjoyment of performing and visual arts.
  • Cable TV Commission — Commissioners regulate and oversee the operation of the cable television system in Issaquah.
  • Cemetery Board — The board advises the city administration about management of the city-owned cemetery.
  • Civil Service Commission — Commissioners administer a Civil Service System for some Issaquah Police Department employees.
  • Development Commission — Commissioners review site-development and sign permits for large projects.
  • Human Services Commission — Commissioners advise the city administration about human services planning and funding.
  • Library Board — The board serves as a liaison between the city and the King County Library System.
  • Park Board — The board guides municipal parks and recreation planning, maintenance and programs.
  • Planning Policy Commission — Commissioners shape long-term land-use plans and review key growth documents.
  • River & Streams Board — The board works to protect, preserve and enhance water quality in city creeks and waterways.
  • Sister Cities Commission — Commissioners foster relationships among Issaquah and sister cities Chefchaouen, Morocco, and Sunndal, Norway.
  • Urban Village Development Commission — Commissioners oversee large-scale projects in the Issaquah Highlands and Talus urban villages.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment at

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