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[GreenYes] Re: Citizen Advisory Committee


I have mixed feelings and mixed results with CAC's. I was glad to read what
JW wrote below because it makes some important points that are the roots of
my frustration with CAC's.

When JW says: " However, . the citizens must remember that these committees
are 'Advisory' . No unit of government will, or should, delegate its
decision-making authority to a non-elected body . It falls upon the CAC to
maintain sufficient credibility and integrity ."

The bottom-line is that if the government creates the CAC, then the
government is the overlord with the power and freedom to censor your work.
What fun is that? Seriously, we are all busy in life, and getting the
public to join these committees, only to watch the government officials do
nothing with all their work is a very frustrating experience. (I'm not
saying that always happens!!)

My suggestion is that any sort of CAC gets created as an independent public
body that reports directly to the top. city manager, mayor, whomever . and
that the government put at the CAC disposal a staff support person for at
least 8 hours/week so facilitate the group functioning, write up group
results, etc. The CAC should have a "begin & end" date. do NOT create an
ongoing open-ended committee. that will kill all ideas and people on the
committee. Really get focused on why a committee is needed, give it a
6-month mandate with staff and some money, and get out of their way. This
requires TRUST on the side of the government for the value of the public.
hmmm, that is something that would be nice to have more of.


Eric Lombardi

Executive Director/CEO

Eco-Cycle Inc

Boulder, CO. USA


-----Original Message-----
From: GreenYes@no.address [mailto:GreenYes@no.address] On Behalf
Of JW Spear, Sr.
Sent: Wednesday, March 07, 2007 3:49 PM
To: 'Colleen'; 'GreenYes'
Subject: [GreenYes] Re: Citizen Advisory Committee


In our practice we often work with Citizen Advisory Committees (CAC's) and

have been instrumental in establishing them for some of our projects. We use

CACs to do planning, develop programming, evaluate programming, and even to

establish locational siting criteria in facility siting projects.

I am not aware of any unit of government that can not establish such a


However, both the government sponsor and the citizens must remember that

these committees are 'Advisory'. No unit of government will, or should,

delegate its decision-making authority to a non-elected body. It falls upon

the CAC to maintain sufficient credibility and integrity to give its advice

weight before the elected officials and it is the responsibility of the

elected officials to give the CAC a reasonable charge and the resources

necessary for the committee to develop its advice.

It is rare that the unit of government adopt the CAC's recommendations

verbatim and it is equally rare for the unit of government to totally ignore

the advice of the CAC.

J W Spear, Sr., P.E.


325 West Vine Street

Milwaukee, WI 53212-3605

Telephone (414) 263-2122 Ext. 25

Facsimile (414) 435-3110

Mobile (414) 687-0518

Email jw@no.address

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-----Original Message-----

From: GreenYes@no.address [mailto:GreenYes@no.address] On Behalf

Of Colleen

Sent: Monday, March 05, 2007 2:42 PM

To: GreenYes

Subject: [GreenYes] Citizen Advisory Committee

My organization is working with our County, local city officials and others

to collaboratively create a County-Wide Solid Waste Managment Plan. We

would like to clearly lay out the roles and responsibilities of both the

crafters (the collaborators, including the County) and the implementers (the

County Commissioners) regarding the plan. It looks as if there is no

statute or law giving the County the right to designate/convene such an

institutionalized group (a Citizens Advisory

Committee) whose recommendations would be implemented. The County is in

support of this project; they have funded the process described above, but

the collaborators are interested in clearly stating rights and roles.

What sort of document might be appropriate to dictate roles and

responsibilities, ensuring that the recommendations of the committee will be

implemented by the County, whenever appropriate, if we are not able to form

a legally/technically defined Citizens Advisory Committee?

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