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League of Women Voters Explains:
The Role of County Commissions

Apr 5, 2019

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By Leona Judson

Did you know that there are over ninety commissions, also known as advisory citizen bodies, that report to the Board of Supervisors? Some have very specific geographic focus such as the Sebastopol Oversight Committee or the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission. Others have a more county wide function such as the Child Care Planning Council. These commissions are a vital link between county agencies and the Board and are a way that citizens can help craft policy and set priorities on how money is spent. Commission members are appointed by the Board of Supervisors and usually serve for a two-year term. Some commissions provide modest reimbursements, many do not.

At the moment there are thirty-four commissions with vacancies.  The process to apply is simple. Go to the County of Sonoma website (www.sonomacounty.ca.gov). Click on the Government menu then the Board, Commissions link. There is a brief description of each commission with contact information and a link to the County agency to which the commission reports. Download and complete the application. Mail it to the Board of Supervisors.

Citizen engagement at all levels of government is critical to maintaining a healthy democracy. Our government provides a breadth of services to our communities, including public safety, protection of human rights, environmental oversight, waste management, promotion of the arts, health policy and so on. If you are passionate about some aspect of government policy, consider applying for a worthwhile and rewarding commission membership. 

The Sonoma County League of Women Voters will highlight some of these commissions in future articles. Stay tuned.

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