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September 23, 2023

Letter: Consolidating Gilroy city commissions

At the Jan. 10 city council meeting, the council voted 5-2 to consolidate our 13 city commissions into nine commissions. For perspective with our nearest neighbors, Morgan Hill has four commissions and Hollister has six. 

The decision to consolidate down to nine places the function of more narrowly focused commissions within the purview of the Planning Commission and the Parks and Recreation Commission, two commissions that are required by our Gilroy City Charter, and giving commissioners a broader purpose. Additionally, consolidation of what grew to 15 commissions over the years (consolidated down to 13 in 2019), makes it easier for the public to follow and participate in commission meetings that include greater content, and is more efficient on city resources while still retaining all of the function. No changes were made to the Youth Commission, and there was no reduction or changes to the meeting schedules of the nine remaining commissions.

The city’s commission recruitment process has been a challenge over recent years. We often start with plenty of applicants for certain commissions and none for others. We do our best to fill all of our commission seats at the initial recruitment process, but throughout the year we find ourselves replacing commissioners who can’t complete their term or fail to attend meetings. Our city commissions are a valuable asset to our community, offering not only the commissioners but, more importantly, the public an opportunity to further study issues and influence recommendations before they get to city council. 

The value of our commissions should not be underappreciated, and by having fewer commissions with broader purposes, we make public participation less cumbersome and give a greater purpose to the work of our commissioners. As we begin 2022, please consider serving on any one of our nine commissions by completing an application in the upcoming recruitment later this month. Gilroy needs you!

Marie Blankley, CPA

Mayor, City of Gilroy

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