St. Clair Shores commissions, committees seek new members

By: Alyssa Ochss | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published August 8, 2023


ST. CLAIR SHORES — Several St. Clair Shores commissions and committees are looking for new members.

Councilwoman Candice Rusie said memberships are always fluctuating. Members decide to leave for a variety of reasons, including changes in personal schedules and taking on more responsibilities at work.

“We always have vacancies come up in all our committees,” Rusie said. “Right now, we are in a position where we have vacancies on a number of our committees.”

Rusie went on to say they are always looking for more people who want to join city commissions and committees and volunteer their time.

There is no official definition listed in the city charter for committees and commissions, Rusie said. Some are created within the city charter, others are created by the state and others are created by the mayor or City Council.

“Basically, it’s a body created by the city government to carry specific duties as defined by mayor and or City Council and/or state law,” Rusie said.

Both the Historical Commission and the Cultural Committee, on which Rusie serves as a City Council liaison, have vacancies.

Other council members have seen similar fluctuations in commission and committee membership.

“Not every committee but a lot of our committees have an opening or two,” Rusie said.

She said she noticed during the pandemic, when committees weren’t able to meet as often, things slowed down. 

“We’re still in a position where we’re trying to get things moving again,” Rusie said.

She went on to say both public and private groups have some members that haven’t returned.

Residents are welcome to come to committee meetings even if there are no current vacancies, Rusie said.

“You don’t have to be a member to come to the meeting. You don’t have to be a member to help out,” Rusie said. “And when a vacancy does open up, you know what, you can join.”

Rusie said to join most committees there is a one-page application residents can fill out and submit to the city clerk. The subcommittee of boards and commissions will interview those who have applied and then they will make a recommendation to the City Council. Some committees are appointed by the mayor. Applications are available at

Amy Lockard, chair of the St. Clair Shores Cultural Committee, said they currently have six members on the committee. They have three vacancies and one alternate vacancy.

These vacancies haven’t affected their ability to host events, Lockard said. Their tours and speaking engagements are still very popular. But the vacancies do cause an issue at their meetings.

“It comes down to when we have meetings,” Lockard said. “Whether or not we’ll have a quorum for a meeting. If somebody has to miss a meeting for whatever reason is going on in their life, that’s where we really run into an issue.”

If there are not enough committee members present, they have to cancel the meeting. However, this has only happened once or twice in the past year.

She also said with more members, they could divide the work more.

“Everybody is doing a lot and putting a lot of effort into planning all the events we’ve been hosting, and I think it would be helpful to have a few more folks who are interested in helping because then we could spread out the load a little bit,” Lockard said.

Even before the pandemic, the Cultural Committee had struggles with retaining membership. Lockard said people would join for a short time and leave. When she became chair, she came up with a couple ideas to encourage members to stay.

“When they bring their ideas to the table, empower them to enact those ideas,” Lockard said. “So if somebody says, ‘I have an idea for a tour,’ my philosophy is (to) empower them to organize and help figure it out, how things are going to go. I’m just trying to get members more active in the planning.”

Lockard said if anyone is thinking of joining a committee, go to meetings to see what it is all about.

“My suggestion to people would be, is to come to a meeting or come to several meetings, come to an event or several events and just see if this is something that you feel like you want to fit into,” Lockard said.