Government Reader Contributed

Town of West Hartford Looking for Volunteers to Serve on 13 Different Boards

West Hartford Town Hall in winter. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

A new application is intended to streamline the process for West Hartford residents interested in joining boards and commissions.

By Ronni Newton

The Town of West Hartford currently has vacancies on 13 different boards or commissions, and has implemented a new online form so residents can more easily express their interest in serving.

There are more than 30 boards and commissions in town, and the following are currently seeking new members: Board of Assessment Appeals, Civilian Police Review Board, Fair Rent, Housing Authority, Human Rights, Library Board, Pedestrian & Bicycle, Parks & Recreation, Pension, Senior Citizen Advisory, Town Plan & Zoning, Veterans Affairs, West Hartford Prevention Council, and Zoning Board of Appeals.

Even if a board or commission doesn’t currently have an opening, Town Clerk Essie Labrot said residents can still submit an application. “There’s always a vacancy coming up for one reason or another and we want to have an available pool,” she said. “Look at all of the boards and commissions and submit anyway, because it could look different in a month.”

Volunteer boards and commissions provide important advice and feedback to elected officials as well as leaders of town departments regarding a variety of matters that affect the welfare and quality of life in West Hartford.

Labrot urges those interested in serving to look at the information about West Hartford’s boards and commissions on the town website. “Look at the calendars, the meeting schedules, read the minutes,” she said. Some meet more frequently than others, and certain boards or commissions, such as the Civilian Police Review Board and the Fair Rent Commission, only meet as needed.

Residents are also welcome to attend any of the board and commission meetings to learn more.

While the primary requirement is that you must be a registered voter, some boards or commissions also require specific skill sets. The Board of Assessors looks for members with real estate experience, the Pension Board looks for people with a financial background, and the Prevention Council is looking for social workers or individuals with a background in treating substance abuse. The Historic District Commission seeks to have at least some of its members living in a historic district, and the Advisory Commission for Persons with Disabilities seeks members who either have a disability or who have a family member with a disability.

“We are fortunate that in West Hartford, we have so many residents willing to share their expertise and knowledge on our boards and commissions,” Mayor Shari Cantor said. “These boards provide a valuable link from our community members to elected officials as important decisions are made within our town – it is what makes West Hartford one of the best places to live.”

Labrot said when completing the new easy-to-use “Expression of Interest” application form, please be sure to include a resume or at least a few paragraphs that indicate work experience or relevant volunteer experience.

“We don’t want people to be disappointed if they are not selected right away,” Labrot said. All boards or commissions are required to have at least one member of the Town Council’s minority party, and have a maximum limit for the number of members from any one party. The town is also looking to balance representation from all areas of town, and is seeking diversity in membership.

A few of the listed boards or commissions, like the Risk Management Advisory Board, are not currently active, Labrot said. The Clean Energy Commission and the Conservation and Environment Commission are in the process of combining.

The “Expression of Interest” form may be submitted electronically can be mailed to the Town Clerk’s Office, 50 South Main Street, West Hartford, CT 06107.

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