In an effort to attract more volunteers to serve on boards of various Barry County committees, boards and authorities, Barry County Commissioner Ben Geiger, who is also chair, Tuesday presented a plan called the 2018 Appointments Reform Plan.
Geiger discussed five areas and gave suggestions for future action in those areas in the year-long incentive. The county has 35 total boards, with 26 requiring citizen appointments, with 198 appointments of 80 citizens at large and 78 qualified citizens at large.
Fewer applications are being submitted and some on boards resign or do not reapply, resulting in a 16 percent vacancy rate, he said. To improve those figures, Geiger proposed training for new board members, working closer with the commission and developing a culture of professionalism to avoid personal conflicts on boards.
The training will include learning about teamwork and accountability and understanding the fundamentals of being on a board. Instead of word of mouth and advertising in the newspaper as it is now, in the future, Geiger plans marketing and community engagement to find more qualified applicants, and work on issues related on chronic vacancies.
Geiger said there are four parts to his plan; outreach and recruitment, training, organizational improvements, and assessment. In the first phase of the new structure of finding and appointing citizens to county boards, each commissioner will volunteer to work in one of three areas; scouting, writing or researching.
Later phases will be rolled out in phase two from April through July and phase three from August through December.
“This won’t be an overnight project,” Geiger said. “The project can’t be delegated to someone else. It requires leadership from the commissioners." The mission of the plan is to enhance our citizen boards to provide community and professional development.