Appointed Member Requirements and Appointment Process
Appointed members of all City advisory bodies must be residents of the City of Monterey. Members serve either a one-year,
two-year or four year term dependent on the advisory body and may be reappointed with no term limit. Non-voting members are permitted
on some advisory bodies and are people with specific knowledge or skills that are beneficial (i.e. architecture, history, cultural
arts). Non-voting members may live outside the City. Interested applicants submit an application for appointment and a Council Sub
Committee interviews and makes recommendations for appointment to specific boards, commissions, and committees. Appointments are
made by the full City Council at a regular City Council meeting. The City Council reviews member attendance and performance during
the reappointment interview.
By policy, board, commission, and committee members are not permitted to sit on more than one City board, commission, or committee. This does not preclude a member from participating in an "outside" agency such as the Water Management District or Regional Park District.
An orientation program for newly appointed members will be held within 30 days of appointment to a board, commission, or committee. The orientation will be arranged by the staff liaison and includes an overview of Monterey City Government and a comprehensive briefing with the staff liaison, body Chair and Vice-Chair.
The orientation program is designed to welcome newly appointed members and cover information to prepare them for their first few meetings, not to overwhelm them with information. The orientation of new members is really an on-going process during the first few months after appointment. In reality, we hope the learning process never stops!
Training for Appointed Members
Continuing education to further one's knowledge of the various issues that face cities is essential to serving the public interest. Appointed members are encouraged to attend conferences and workshops, read relevant publications, and utilize other opportunities for personal and professional training that will bring new ideas into the community. The City Council's current policy regarding conference, travel, and training expenses is included in the Important Links section of the handbook.
General Guidelines for Appointed Members
The Council encourages active citizen participation in the business of city government. Boards, commissions, and committees provide an opportunity for interested residents to participate in the governing of their community under guidelines and procedures established by the Council. Boards, commissions, and committees can improve the quality of city government by providing the Council with resources to make better-informed decisions. Other benefits of these bodies include improved lines of communication between the public and Council, greater opportunities for discussion of public issues and more citizen involvement in city government.
Appointment to a City board, commission, or committee is an honor. It provides an opportunity for genuine public service. Each appointed member should be aware of the responsibilities that go along with officially serving the City. The specific duties of each body vary with the purpose for which it was formed.
There are, however, many responsibilities common to all appointed members:
- Understand the role and responsibility of the board, commission, or committee. Be informed of its functions, work programs and relationship with other bodies.
- Represent the overall public good, not the exclusive point of view of a sole group or interest.
- Keep all lines of communication open. Each appointed member serves as a communication link between the community, the City Council, and staff.
- Do your homework and be prepared. Appointed members should become familiar with items under consideration prior to meetings in order to be fully prepared to discuss, evaluate, and act on matters scheduled for consideration. Feel free to seek staff's advice and assistance in advance of a meeting.
- Establish a good working relationship with fellow appointed members, the City Council, and your staff liaison.
- Understand the scope and authority or your appointed body’s responsibility and strive to work within that scope.
- Be a participant, an active representative, and be enthusiastic.
Your role as an appointed representative of the City Council carries with it a significant responsibility. As an "ambassador" of the City of Monterey, the City Council hopes that you conduct yourself with politeness and courtesy with staff and whenever in the public eye. Yours is a position of service that is charged with maintaining the public trust. It is important that you not abuse that trust.
The Ralph M. Brown Act
Political accountability is essential to responsible government. To help ensure accountability, the "Brown Act" was passed by the State Legislature and requires "All meetings of the legislative body of a local agency shall be open and public, and all persons shall be permitted to attend any meeting of the legislative body of a local agency..." The law prohibits closed or secret meetings except under very special circumstances. The City Council takes this matter very seriously, and insists that the "public's business" be done in an open forum. It is essential that no perception to the contrary be conveyed. The Brown Act also establishes requirements for advance notice and a posted agenda before regular meetings take place. Furthermore, no action may be taken on an item at any meeting without a quorum present. You are strongly encouraged to read this material the Brown Act information included in the Important Links section of the handbook.
Conflict of Interest
To best serve the community, the City Council appoints persons with knowledge of the issues that face Monterey to serve on boards, commissions, and committees. Consequently, it is inevitable that matters will occasionally come before boards, commissions, or committees in which individual members have a direct or indirect financial interest. When this happens, the member must disqualify him/herself from participating in the discussion and abstain from voting. The law also requires appointed members and certain other City officials to report various financial interests including income, interest in real property, and business interests.
The City of Monterey has adopted a local conflict of interest code as required by the Political Reform Act. It applies to members of all City of Monterey boards, commissions, and committees. You are required to complete and file the appropriate conflict of interest forms within 10 days of your first meeting and annually thereafter. Forms and assistance will be provided by the City Clerk's Office, including an annual notification regarding Form 700 thirty days in advance of the due date. Financial disclosure forms are filed with the City Clerk, as a matter of public record. The Fair Political Practices Commission is available for questions concerning conflicts of interest and disqualifications.
Potential conflicts of interest should not be taken lightly. The City Council has placed a special trust in you that should not be abused. It is also important to note that it is a violation of the Monterey City Code to vote on a matter knowing that you have a conflict, and that this can result in forfeiture of your position.
State law AB1234 requires that local officials that receive compensation, salary stipends, or expense reimbursements must receive training in public service ethics laws and principals every 2 years. The requirement applies to the governing body of local agency as well as boards, commissions, and committees, or other local agency bodies, whether permanent or temporary, decision-making or advisory. Therefore, you are required to complete this training. The only exception to this at the City of Monterey is for members who do not receive a stipend, either by choice or as members appointed to the Neighborhood Improvement Program Committee.
The Institute for Local Government and the Fair Political Practices Commission developed an online ethics course to help local officials meet their ethics training requirements. Upon completion of the ethics training, members are required to print their certificate, sign it, and return the original hard copy document to the Clerk's Office.
Adherence to Policy
Appointed members should not approve projects that violate adopted City Council policies. Members can make recommendations to the City Council about exceptions to a City policy, and can also recommend policy changes when appropriate.
Regular attendance at meetings is critical to the effective operation of City boards, commissions, and committees. Therefore, all members are expected to attend all of their appointed board, commission, or committee meetings, including study sessions. If you are unable to attend a meeting, call your Chair or staff liaison prior to the meeting. If a problem with absenteeism arises, it should be handled between the appointed member and the respective Chair. If the issue cannot be resolved, the Chair should approach the staff liaison to help work toward a solution.
Members of boards, commissions, and committees are issued a special City parking permit valid only in City-owned and operated parking garages, metered parking spaces, and areas with time limits. The parking permit is to be used only when a personal vehicle is being used to conduct official City business, such as attending a meeting or viewing a project site. Abuse of the parking permit will result in the revocation of parking privileges. Other parking arrangements for other appointed members will be handled by the staff liaison on an as-needed basis.
The City Council's current policy regarding stipends for board, commission, and committee members is that they receive $25 for each meeting with a monthly maximum of $75.
Role of the Chair
The principal role of the Chair is to manage the board, commission, or committee meeting. This includes helping to set meeting agendas, maintaining the order of business during the meeting, focusing discussion on the issues at hand, and ensuring that the public appearing before the body are treated courteously. The Chair must make certain that discussions do not get sidetracked. Duties of the Chair also include review of the agenda with the staff liaison before the meeting, representing the body at City Council and community group meetings and, attending quarterly meetings with the Mayor.