(A name given to me by the City Controller since I regularly attend the Council Meetings and 14 Budget Hearings)
What is a Councilperson expected to do?
Math Homework for a Councilperson: Binder is 14 Budget Hearings, CAFR Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (273 pages of mostly spreadsheets), Adopted Budget (243 pages of mostly spreadsheets) These are available electronically for both Council and Citizens. This is what spending over $330 million dollars looks like and it needs to be spent responsibly.
(There is a lot of other homework on the other issues, but those are packets stored electronically.)
If you think they just attend a couple meetings a month and make a few votes, you are only seeing a very small part of the duties. I've been faithfully attending both Full Council and pre-committee meetings for over three years as a Citizen Advocate along with the 14 Budget Hearings. I've been known to also show up at quite a few of the Board meetings and special hearings.
Here's a short list of duties...
Oh, and fit in some joking around! It helps to enjoy those you are working with. I was leaning on one of the Council desk chairs talking with someone and I got chided to, "Don't sit down. You aren't on the Council yet!"
I understand what it takes and I have already researched a lot of what needs to be addressed.
Be prepared to serve on multiple Standing Committees, Chair at least one and knowledgeably vote on all these areas of City Government.
There are 11 STANDING COMMITTEES on the South Bend Common Council.
It would be great to have Citizens make a commitment to attend at least one of them on a regular basis and post observations. You can also be a Citizen Member of these committees.
1. Community Investment Committee
2. Community Relations Committee
3. Council Rules Committee
4. Health and Public Safety Committee
5. Information and Technology Committee
6. PARC Committee - Parks, Recreation, Cultural Arts & Entertainment
7. Personnel and Finance Committee
8. Public Works and Property Vacation Committee
9. Residential Neighborhoods Committee
10. Utilities Committee
11. Zoning and Annexation Committee
This is where a lot of the discussion and information is disclosed. From these meetings, recommendations are made to the whole Council.
If you want to know what is coming up and have time to voice your concerns, this is where it happens. There are also opportunities to serve as a citizen member on other boards and commissions. Those are:
1. South Bend Commission on African-American Males
2. Animal Control Commission
3. Century Center Board of Managers
4. Historic Preservation Commission
5. MBE/WBE (Minority and Women Business) Utilization Board
6. Redevelopment Commission
8. Urban Enterprise Association UEA
As a citizen, to be on one of these boards or commissions, you may apply on the 4th floor at the Clerk's Office. All of these meetings are public, so you may attend at any time as an interested party throughout the year. This is YOUR CITY. Be part of it!
It is my goal as an Advocate to involve YOU in the process.