The City of East Lansing has 23 boards and commissions, with topics ranging from Building to Human Rights and Transportation to Economic Development, so there are ample opportunities for civic engagement for residents.
Boards and commissions allow residents to advise the City and its Council on policies and practices. These commissions and boards serve two capacities for East Lansing’s public policy: advisory and administrative.
Advisory commissions will often undertake projects, deliberate on issues with said project and host special events for their commission. City Council will look to these commissions for advice, especially on background information and analysis, while ultimately deliberating on projects.
For example, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission discusses upcoming projects, such as trail extensions and facility renovations, and provides feedback to City staff liaisons on those projects. Advice from the Commission may inform policy, but the commissioners themselves do not make administrative decisions.
Administrative boards and commissions, by contrast, conduct formal reviews of and issue administrative decisions on projects or policies. Their decisions are informed by applicable law and facts or testimony presented to the board or commission. For example, the Planning Commission reviews new ordinances and makes recommendations to Council’s approval on various ordinances and permits.
What is the application process?
All volunteers must be 18 years or older. Most commissions and boards also require that volunteers be residents of East Lansing. Experience in line with each board or commission is preferred but not required.
Volunteers then go through an application process to fill vacancies on a given board or commission.
This process includes an application filed via the City website and may also require a resume. Applicants will need to provide pertinent personal information as well as employment, education, and relevant experience.
Each board or commission has a staff liaison that reviews applicants, selecting them as volunteer members of a given board or commission. At times there is an interview process conducted by this same staff liaison or the chair of the board or commission.
Once brought on, volunteers will meet at the scheduled time each month. Most commissions and boards have scheduled monthly meetings (i.e., the third Monday every month). These can be found at an individual commission’s webpage on the City of East Lansing’s website.
There are currently several opportunities to fill vacancies in the City.
At the time of publication, the City has multiple vacancies in boards and commissions that include the Arts Commission, Commission on the Environment, Housing Commission, Transportation Commission, and the Library Board of Trustees.
Potential volunteers can click on the Commission they are interested in and start the application process.
For more information please consult the City’s Handbook on Boards and Commissions. Boards and commissions are a great way to get involved in the policy considerations and actions of the City.