Boards & Commissions
The City of Huntsville appoints members to serve on approximately 60 local and regional government and non-government boards and commissions which range in responsibilities or scope from advisory to policy to governing. These appointments provide important knowledge and assistance on behalf of programs, initiatives and operations that help shape the quality of life for residents, businesses, neighborhoods and the community.
The Mayor and City Council make appointments throughout the year as vacancies occur. These positions are volunteer/non-paid. Membership and service on these boards and commissions provide individuals with additional opportunities to participate with and learn more about local and regional government and other non-government entities. This public service opportunity enables individuals to use their education, experience, skills and abilities on behalf of our community. All interested individuals are invited and encouraged to apply to serve.
Being a member of one of Huntsville’s boards and commissions presents a unique opportunity to be a critical part of City government by helping to shape policies and operations that affect citizens daily. It’s not only a great way to learn more about the inner workings of the City from behind the scenes, but it’s also an opportunity to make lifelong friends.
For a complete listing and description of the local and regional government and non-government entities serving the City of Huntsville, terms of service and vacancies, visit:
Qualifications and needs differ for each board and commission and the City encourages prospective members to research the entity’s mission, professional criteria (positions may require expertise in law, accounting, architecture, medical, business management, etc.), along with training and attendance requirements before pursuing a candidacy. Training in governance and ethics, financial disclosure information/conflict of interest, and criminal background checks may also be required.
Each board has specific requirements that may include full-time residency within the City. Please review bylaws or enacting documents related to the board before expressing an interest.
TIME AND COMMITMENT
Each board and commission has individual membership terms that range from two years to six years. The amount of individual time commitments varies from entity to entity and could range from a few hours to 20 hours or more per month. Meeting times, dates, locations and frequency are scheduled as required.
Individuals interested in being considered for appointment by the Mayor and City Council are invited to review the board and commission descriptions, purposes, individual membership requirements and vacancies of those entities and send a cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. Residents can also complete an online Interest Form.
The nomination and appointment process includes the following:
- Upcoming openings for appointments and re-appointments will be posted on the Boards & Commissions webpage prior to a vacancy
- Interested candidates may email the City at email@example.com, submit an online Interest Form to be considered for the position
- City Council Members may each nominate a candidate to fill a vacancy. Council will review and vote on up to five nominees during a regular meeting until a majority is reached on the appointment
- Mayoral appointments are announced by the Mayor at a regular City Council meeting
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Huntsville’s Mayor and City Council rely on boards and commissions to advise or shape policy on a wide range of areas that would improve the quality of life for Huntsville’s citizens and/or result in a stronger, more efficient and financially prudent City government and community. Boards and commissions focus on everything from beautification to human rights, law enforcement oversight, planning, zoning, arts and cultural organizations, and even live music.
There are several types of boards in the City of Huntsville. The more formal is the standing board or commission. These groups are created and authorized by either City charter or municipal ordinance to provide in-depth advice on a variety of topics and/or to research particular issues and gather public input. Some boards and commissions also vote on regulatory actions, which are then presented to the City Council for potential approval. Other boards may provide governance for a City entity, such as the Huntsville Museum of Art, the Von Braun Center, Huntsville Public Library and more. These standing boards serve the City long-term and rotate membership based on terms of service outlined in their authorizing legislation and bylaws. The majority of these standing boards are comprised of citizens appointed to serve by the Mayor and City Council. Each board has assigned officers, including a chair. Often these groups will also have a member of the City administration appointed to serve in either a non-voting or voting role, providing a link between the board or commission and the City. Occasionally, a City staff liaison will be assigned to work with a board.
The second form of boards or commissions employed by the City are temporary or advisory. These boards will often serve similar advisory or information-gathering roles as the standing boards, but on issues or areas less permanent in nature. While these boards and commissions have authorizing legislation to guide their purpose, they may not have formal bylaws.
It really depends on your specific interests. Boards and commissions need a wide range of skills from their members, so begin by asking yourself if your education, interests, and skills fit their needs. To learn as much as you can about the board that interests you, view an online list here. Click on the link of each group to find the roster of members, bylaws, seat requirements, meeting times and locations. Where possible, make plans to attend a board or commission meeting, contact the chair and ask questions about service and ask what criteria the board and organization seek in a board member. Volunteer to serve at the organization to learn more about the entity’s mission, goals and objectives.
Email a cover letter and resume expressing your interest and qualifications for a particular board to the City at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (coming soon!) submit an online Interest Form to be considered for the position.
If the Mayor or Council Member believes you would be a good fit for a board, he or she will nominate you to fill the vacant position during a regular Council meeting. Council appointments must be voted on and approved by a majority of Council, while mayoral appointments do not. The City’s police chief also has appointing authority to some boards.
Many boards have residency requirements as laid out in their respective bylaws. For more on residency requirements, visit the board information page prior to expressing interest in a particular board.
These are voluntary positions.
Many boards and commissions have attendance requirements built into their bylaws. Meetings generally last 1-2 hours, though some can take longer, depending on the agenda. Of course, it is also advised members take additional time to study issues of concern prior to scheduled meetings. That may also include meeting with members of the community to learn more about an issue. Boards may require sub-committee work, research, and attendance at special events.
Meeting days and times vary by board, but that information can be found on the Boards & Commissions web page.
If you want to be a member of a board, ensuring you have the time to spend is critical. For many boards, more than three unexcused absences within a six-month period from a board that meets monthly or two unexcused absences from a board that meets less than monthly will be treated as a resignation from the board. We encourage you to read the attendance requirements for your board of interest before submitting an Interest Form.
Yes, each new member will be required to complete training. Topics will range from how boards function within City government to basic ethics.
Each board is different, though most appointments range from two to six years. Please review the bylaws prior to expressing interest in a board or commission.
Yes, though at least one (Huntsville Planning Commission) prohibits members from holding any other municipal office. If you’re interested in joining multiple boards, familiarize yourself with the bylaws or enacting documents to ensure there are no conflicts of interest.