Editor’s Note: Many deadlines have been extended through the end of October.
If you’re looking for a way to get involved in local policies and politics, you have until the end of the month to apply to serve on one of 26 Minneapolis boards, commissions, and advisory committees that have seats up for appointments. Appointments are made twice a year: in the spring and fall. The deadline to apply for the current round is Sept. 30. The positions are open until filled.
“Advisory bodies can exercise significant influence because they are appointed by and have access to the City’s elected policymakers, the Mayor and City Council,” said City Clerk Casey Carl. “The reason the Mayor and Council appoint these bodies is to give the community the opportunity to participate directly in the work of the City government, and they rely on those boards and commissions to provide their best advice and recommendations on a range of subjects so that the City can response to the needs and priorities of its residents.”
In recent years, Carl said, several major policies have resulted from the work of appointed advisory bodies; for example, the increase to the City’s minimum wage and the City’s policy on sick and safe time for all workers both were the result of efforts led by appointed advisory bodies.
Many seats that are up for appointment don’t require special skills or experience.
“The ideal candidate is someone who holds a sincere interest in civic processes and who has the ability to do the work,” Carl said.
Benefits to serving, he said, include opportunities to engage directly in the City’s decision-making processes; the ability to develop new skills; the opportunity to build personal knowledge about the City government, its organization and systems, as well as its services and programs; and the chance to network and connect with other residents who are interested and engaged in similar work and who share similar values. Some groups offer payment for attending meetings, usually around $50 per meeting.
Some groups become inactive as they are no longer needed, and new ones develop to meet new needs. The City’s elected policymakers decide when to form a new group, but it can be influenced by demand from the community, Carl said.
“The City has always believed its Appointed Boards & Commissions (ABCs) offer valuable insight on local needs and priorities and, as a consequence, has established new advisory bodies and even re-started and re-energized existing advisory bodies in just the past few years,” he said. “Today, the City has a total of 54 active advisory bodies appointed to advise the Mayor and City Council on a range of issues, everything from aging to zoning.”
Some open seats are ward-specific (Wards 1 and 3 for Northeast) although most aren’t, so seat numbers don’t always correspond to ward. Some are vacancies and some have incumbents seeking re-appointment.
Commissions with ward-specific openings looking for members from Wards 1 or 3 (Northeast):
The Futuro Latino Empowerment Commission advises city leaders on policies, practices, budget, and other matters related to addressing the issues and needs of the Latino community. Membership: 20 seats comprised of one voting member from each ward, plus special appointments. Up for renewal: 20 seats (all vacant). Meetings: the second Tuesday of every month, at 5:30 pm. Contact: Mariano Espinoza, 612-673-2272, email@example.com.
The Minneapolis Advisory Committee on Aging advises the Mayor and City Council on concerns related to senior citizens and acts as a liaison for senior citizens. Membership: 17 seats comprised of one senior per ward, and four at-large members representing community organizations. Up for renewal: Ward-specific seats 1 (vacant), 3, 4 (vacant), 5, 6 (vacant), 7 (vacant), 8, 10, 12 (ward-specific), and seats 14, and 17 (at large). Meetings: the second Tuesday of each month, 1-2:30 pm. Contact: Christina Kendrick, 612-673-3952, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Northside Green Zone Council addresses the environmental justice overburden in North and Northeast Minneapolis (specifically Marshall Terrace, Sheridan, Bottineau, and St Anthony West). Membership: 19 seats comprised of nine community members, six Environmental Justice Coordinating Council members, and four city representatives. Up for renewal: seats 1-19 (one vacant community member seat). Meetings: monthly based on availability. Contact: Kelly Muellman, 612-673-3014, email@example.com.
The Public Health Advisory Committee advises the City Council and Health Department on matters affecting the health of residents and serves as a liaison between the city and the community. Membership: 22 seats comprised of one representative from each ward, and other appointments. Up for renewal: ward seats 3, 4 (vacant), 5, 6, 7, 9 (vacant) and 13; and seats 14 (mayoral); 16 (Hennepin County); and at-large seats 18, 19 (vacant) and 20. Meetings: the fourth Tuesday of each month, 6-8 pm. Contact: Margaret Schuster, 612-673-2301, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Commissions with openings not specific to wards
The Transgender Equity Council advises the City and Park Board on matters of importance to transgender and gender-nonconforming residents, and serves as a liaison between the transgender community and the City. Membership: 15 seats comprised of eight community members, four city appointees, and organization representatives. Up for renewal: seats 1-8, community-member seats (one vacant), non ward-specific, and seat 13, parks and recreation (vacant). Contact: Track Trachtenberg, 612-673-3785, email@example.com.
The Violence Prevention Steering Committee oversees the process of reviewing and updating the City’s comprehensive violence prevention strategic plan. Membership: 31 seats, comprised of community members and violence prevention experts. Up for renewal: seats 1-31, non ward-specific, 13 vacancies. Contact: Jean Sawyer, 612-673-3548, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Animal Care and Control Advisory Board advises on the development of animal related policies and issues. Membership: 11 seats total. Up for appointment: seat 5 (rescue organization/vacant), seat 8 (veterinarian/vacant), and seat 10 (resident/vacant). Contact: Caroline Hairfield, 612-673-6250, email@example.com.
The Minneapolis Art Commission fosters the development of the arts, seeks financial support for the arts, advises the City Council on arts-related matters, and stimulates participation in and appreciation of the arts. Membership: 17 seats comprised of five individual practicing artists, seven lay persons, and five administrative staff or board members of arts organizations. Up for appointment: seats 1 (artist/vacant), 3, 7 (arts lay person/vacant), 10, 11, 12 (arts lay person/vacant), and 16. Contact: Tina Beech, 612-673-3242, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Minneapolis Commission on Civil Rights implements the city’s Civil Rights policies through public information and education, is a liaison between city members and the Department of Civil Rights, and serves on review panels and hearing committees. Membership: 21 seats comprised of members who observe principles of equity and nondiscrimination, with a minimum of six and a maximum of eight lawyers. Up for renewal: seats 1-7, non ward-specific (one vacant). Contact: Kaela McConnon, email@example.com.
The Community Environmental Advisory Committee suggests environment priorities for city policies, programs, and projects. Membership: 19 seats comprised of 13 residents and six environmental advocates. Up for renewal: 19 seats, non ward-specific (3 vacant). Contact: Diana Chao, 612-673-2563, Diana.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Heritage Preservation Commission helps preserve the community’s unique identity, culture, and character by protecting significant historic resources from the city’s past. Membership: 10 seats. Up for renewal: seats 5 (vacant), 7, 8, and 9, non ward-specific. Contact: Andrea Burke, 612-357-8104, email@example.com.
The Minneapolis Ethical Practices Board promotes high ethical standards and conduct and fosters a healthy ethical culture throughout Minneapolis city government. Membership: three seats. Up for renewal: seats 1 and 3 (non ward-specific). Contact: Susan Trammell, 612-673-3230, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Minneapolis Advisory Committee on Housing advises city leaders on all aspects of housing policy. Membership: 21 seats comprised of 12 residents and nine organization representatives. Up for renewal: seats 1-21, non ward-specific, two vacant organization seats. Contact: Katie Topinka, 612-673-5068, email@example.com.
The Minneapolis Advisory Committee on People with Disabilities aims to expand opportunities for all children and adults with disabilities. Membership: 15 seats for people with related knowledge or expertise. Open: seats 1-15, non ward-specific, nine vacant. Contact: Nick Ngo, 612-673-3969, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Pedestrian Advisory Committee advises the Mayor and City Council on policies, programs, and actions for improving pedestrian safety, mobility, accessibility, and comfort. Membership: 16 seats comprised of city residents, city business owners, senior citizens, person with disabilities, university students, child/school advocates, and walking/transit advocates. Up for renewal: seats 3, 6 (vacant), 8, and 10-15, non ward-specific. Contact: Matthew Dyrdahl, 612-673-3642, email@example.com.
The Police Conduct Oversight Commission helps assure that police services are delivered in a lawful and nondiscriminatory manner by shaping police policy, auditing police misconduct cases, engaging the community in discussions, and facilitating cultural awareness training. Membership: eight seats comprised of residents. Up for renewal: seats 1 (vacant), 2, 4 (vacant), 5 (vacant), and 7 (vacant), non ward-specific. Contact: Andrew Hawkins, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Police Conduct Review Panel assures that police services are delivered in a lawful and nondiscriminatory manner, provides participatory oversight of the police and their interactions with the citizenry, and makes recommendations to the Chief of Police regarding the merits of complaints against police officers. Membership: eight seats comprised of residents, and two optional seats. Up for renewal: seats, 1 (vacant), 2, 4 (vacant), 5, 6, 8 (vacant), and 9, non ward-specific. Contact: Andrew Hawkins, email@example.com.
Commissions with ward-specific openings, non-Northeast-specific openings: The Bicycle Advisory Committee, the Capital Long-Range Improvements Committee and the Racial Equity Community Advisory Committee.
The following commissions have no confirmed vacancies as incumbents are up for renewal: The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, the Minneapolis Workforce Development Board, the Workplace Advisory Committee, the Minneapolis Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
The Southside Green Zone Council has eight vacant positions.
The City seeks applicants with a diversity of backgrounds and experiences representing the demographics of Minneapolis. Translation and interpreting services are available so all residents can participate.
Due to COVID-19 and declared state of emergency, all public meetings have transitioned to an online, virtual format.
For more information on each board or commission and how to apply, visit: http://www2.minneapolismn.gov/boards/openings/index.htm. For general info, call 612-673-2216 or email OpenAppointments@minneapolismn.gov.