Will Nixing Terms Fix Hyattsville Committees?
Hyattsville's appointed committees are a mess of expired terms and vacancies. What if there were no terms?
If city leaders are having a hard time keeping track of appointments to Hyattsville's advisory boards, commissions and committees, why not do away with terms of office?
That's the idea of Stuart Eisenberg, who last night encouraged the Hyattsville City Council to think of creative solutions to the city's currently disorganized appointed advisory bodies.
As a result of sloppy record keeping, all but one of the city's appointed bodies are hamstrung by vacancies and ilegitimacy issues. Many lack codified mission statements. A number of them are not in full compliance with open meeting laws.
Eisenberg, director of the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation and a member of the apparently illegitimate (or at least poorly documented) city Shade Tree Board, pressed the city to act fast to sort out the committee mess.
"The shade tree board is a working board, and there is a lot of work left to do," said Eisenberg. "Appoint people until otherwise removed, so we don't get left in the lurch."
"Is your suggestion that committee and shade tree board members have life sentences?" inquired a joking Mayor Marc Tartaro during Eisenberg's speech at the public comment portion of last night's city council meeting.
"No, please, just a different model," responded Eisenberg.
While rare in American politics, the idea of a political position without a term of office is common in parliamentary democracies, where a prime minister serves indefinitely until subject to a successful vote of no confidence which then triggers an election.
Later in the meeting, city council members agreed on a rough plan to fill vacancies sort out legal frameworks for committees one at a time, starting with the Hyattsville Environmental Committee.