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Harper Woods seeks to fill vacancies on boards, commissions

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published February 14, 2020

File photo

HARPER WOODS — The city of Harper Woods is putting out a call for residents who are interested in volunteering to fill vacancies on several boards or commissions.

Harper Woods Clerk Leslie Frank said there are plenty of ways for Harper Woods residents to get involved. She added that she thinks those living in the city are traditionally very good at stepping up to help their community.

“For any civic-minded resident, we encourage community participation and appreciate the volunteerism we have in Harper Woods,” said Frank.

City officials said filling these seats will mean a better community for everyone and a more efficient local government.

“It’s a great way to get involved,” said Harper Woods City Manager Joe Rheker. “Local government and policy making requires input from the community. This will mean a better Harper Woods.”

Frank said there are numerous ways that people can take action.

“We have a vacancy on the Beautification Commission, and their role is to, one, plan the annual plant exchange, which is held in May every year in Slater Park, and the other is determining the beautiful homes of Harper Woods based on nominations and their own examination of the community,” she said. “They don’t have any specific powers in the city — they are an advisory committee.”

Those with experience in real estate or home values might consider applying for the Board of Review.

“We also have a vacancy on the Board of Review, and that board assists the assessor in determining if assessments can be adjusted based on property changes and the costs of similar homes,” Frank said.

Those who are looking for a commission that only meets rarely could apply for the Officers Compensation Commission.

“The local Officers Compensation Commission has one vacancy,” said Frank. “Their only role is to determine the salaries for elected officials, which are our mayor and council. They meet only in odd years.”

Those who want to take a more proactive role in how city ordinances are enforced, or who want to have a voice when determining the city’s master plan could apply for the Planning Commission.

“We have one vacancy on the Planning Commission, and they are responsible for compliance with the city zoning ordinances, both residential and commercial,” said Frank. “They also develop the city’s master plan.”

Each board or commission plays a role in making sure the city runs properly. Rheker said it’s also the best way to ensure there is an avenue to ensure citizens’ voices can be heard.

“This means being in touch with the community,” said Rheker. “We want members of the Harper Woods community to be involved and to tell us what they think, and make sure there’s a dialogue between them and our city officials.”

There are no qualifications necessary to join any of the boards or commissions besides being a resident of Harper Woods. Experience in the topic of the respective groups is preferred, but not required.

“They just have to be a resident of Harper Woods,” said Frank. “They can go to our website, to the government tab, and on the board and commissions page, there is an application. They can email it, mail it or drop it off to me.”