Possible reform of Bloomington boards, commissions gets study by city council committee

Clockwise around the table from right: City councilmembers Matt Flaherty and Isabel Piedmont-Smith; city of Bloomington public engagement director Kaisa Goodman; city council deputy attorney Ash Kulak; and city councilmember Sue Sgambelluri. On screen in the upper left of the frame is Bloomington city clerk Nicole Bolden. he meeting took place in the city council’s “library” room. (May 25, 2023)

On Thursday night, a special city council committee met to move ahead with a closer look at reforming various processes related to Bloomington’s boards and commissions.

Also up for consideration by the four-member committee are possible recommendations on merging some of the city’s roughly 50 boards and commissions.

The committee is hoping to wrap up its work on board and commission reform by the end of the year.

The committee was appointed by council president Sue Sgambelluri at the council’s first meeting of the year. It was the same meeting when she was elected by her colleagues as this year’s council president.

In addition to Matt Flaherty as chair of the committee, Sgambelluri appointed as members the three officers of the council—including herself (president), Isabel Piedmont-Smith (vice president) and Dave Rollo (parliamentarian). Rollo did not attend Thursday’s meeting. Continue reading “Possible reform of Bloomington boards, commissions gets study by city council committee”

Consultant on Bloomington boards, commissions: Uniform process, mergers recommended

On Wednesday, the city of Bloomington released a 38-page report from the Novak Consulting Group with recommendations on revising the structure of the city’s 49 different boards and commissions and improving the way their work is supported.

The image links to a .pdf of the Novak Consulting Group report.

The report was presented on Wednesday night to Bloomington’s city council by Novak’s Jonathan Ingram. The city paid Novak $38,900 for the work.

The council gave the report an uneven response.

Many of the recommendations involve standardizing the way boards and commissions operate, so that support staff, current members, applicants for appointments, and the watching public have a uniform and reliable experience.

Drawing the attention of city councilmembers were recommendations on merging some of the city’s boards and commissions with dedicated constituencies. One example is the recommended consolidation of the parking commission, the bicycle and pedestrian safety commission, and the traffic commission.

Another proposed merger would combine the commission on sustainability and the environmental commission.

Councilmember Ron Smith gave an enthusiastic response, saying, “It was a great report. Fantastic.” He added, “I’ve long thought that we have too many boards and commissions, and they could be consolidated.”

Less sanguine was councilmember Steve Volan, who called the report “very interesting” before establishing that Novak had been hired by the mayor’s office, not the city council, to do the work. Volan asked Ingram how the project had been defined: Was the main goal to reduce staff time devoted to supporting boards and commissions? Continue reading “Consultant on Bloomington boards, commissions: Uniform process, mergers recommended”