ARE YOU CONSIDERING RUNNING FOR OFFICE?
This article provides general information about life as an elected official in the Town of Paonia. It is based in part on legal requirements outlining the duties and responsibilities of the Town’s elected officials, but is more heavily based on the real-life experiences of elected officials that have lived the role. It provides food for thought as you decide whether to travel down the path toward election. Other materials you will receive in your petition packet contain the hard facts about how to run, what your candidacy obligations are, and how the election will unfold. This article, on the other hand, addresses the initial questions you may have before deciding whether to take the next step.
The Town of Paonia is a Statutory Town and therefore complies with State Statues’ and the Town of Paonia Municipal Code.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The Town of Paonia’s governing body consists of six elected Trustees and an elected Mayor, collectively the Board of Trustees. The Mayor has the same obligations as each of the Trustees, plus some additional duties as the ceremonial head of the Town and others required by the Town of Paonia’s Municipal Code. At the second meeting, following biennial election, the Board shall appoint one of the Trustees as Mayor Pro Tem who, in the absence of the Mayor (or the Mayor’s inability to act) shall perform the duties of Mayor. The Board of Trustee offices are non-partisan. Town elections are designed so that the terms of office are staggered. Therefore, in 2018, four Trustee positions are open for election. Three terms are 4 years, and one term is 2 years.
People choose to serve their cities and towns as elected officials for various reasons.
Regardless of the motive, if you’re contemplating serving your community as a member of the Board of Trustees, you should be prepared for the demands, expectations and rewards that come with the role. Although the legal requirements for serving require only that you reside in the Town of Paonia, attend the scheduled meetings of the Board and participate in policy making, the Town of Paonia has a proud tradition of active and involved elected officials who largely exceed the minimum requirements.
As an elected official in Paonia, you will have a say in important matters such as how the Town grows, what the street system will be like in the future, where and how development takes place, what Town services will be provided, and how the Town’s annual budget will be allocated. It is a responsibility best met with energy, enthusiasm, and conscientiousness.
The Board of Trustees sets public policy, and sound policy decisions are the result of hard work. For this reason, elected officials are encouraged, but not legally required, to do outside-the-meeting work. Our dedicated Board of Trustees volunteer their time reviewing meeting materials, educating themselves about the public policy issues, interacting with constituents and other elected officials, educating and informing constituents, attending meetings with other agencies and governments, serving on appointed committees, and acting as liaisons with staff and other agencies.
YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND
Recalling the old adage that no good deed goes unpunished, it can sometimes seem like all you ever hear from are aggrieved citizens. Happily (and hopefully just when you need it), you will see the benefits of a Board decision play out for the good of the community or you will occasionally get a much needed thank-you. You will share the dais with others with a deep concern for the Town and its citizens. Sometimes you won’t agree with all of them, but you will be expected to disagree with professionalism and respect. They will be from different backgrounds and have strengths different from yours, but you will have a bond with them because you share a common goal.
Your experience as an elected official will be what you make of it. Attendance at Regular and Special meetings is required, with the exception of excused absences and those that arise due to unforeseen reasons. The rest of the commitments listed are obligations that Board members in the Town have traditionally taken on, and historically with zeal.
Regular and Special meetings:
The Board of Trustees regularly meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. Meetings begin at 6:30 pm and conclude when the agenda items have been discussed. Additional meetings are scheduled when the urgency of business requires.
In advance of Board meetings, packets of meeting materials are available to board members. Review of the packet can take several hours and board members are requested to send any questions raised by such materials to appropriate Town staff by Monday morning to allow time for questions to be addressed before or at the Tuesday evening meeting. Agendas can also be found on the Town of Paonia website at www.townofPaonia.com
Newly elected officials are required to attend training sessions with town staff and the town attorney to become familiar with a variety of important subjects related to their service. These trainings can last several days, and are often scheduled in the evenings or on the weekends following the election.
The Town has internal advisory committees to research and provide guidance to the board on setting public policy. In addition, there are special districts and other governmental and quasi-governmental authorities that provide important public services to the Town’s citizens. Board members volunteer for these committees or organizations to act as liaisons for the town. Time commitment will vary and meetings could be day or evenings.
Individual Constituent Interaction:
Constituents expect board members to be available to communicate via e-mail and phone calls about their concerns and to be diligent and consistent in following up and communicating such follow up.
Miscellaneous Time Commitments:
Beyond the duties listed above, board members are often asked to be present at ribbon cuttings, local ceremonies and community events, and important town traditions.
CAN YOU MAKE IT WORK?
Knowing now what the legal and traditional time commitments are, prospective candidates should evaluate their professional and personal situation and ask:
- Will your job/schedule allow the flexibility to be at Town Hall by 6:30pm the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month and when special meetings are called?
- Will your professional and personal life allow for attending occasional weekend or evening workshops?
- Will you be able to commit to the occasional working group or focus group meetings, which are sometimes held during afternoon or evening hours?
- Are you organized in a manner which will allow you to interact with your constituents while still allowing you uninterrupted personal and/or professional time? (These constituent interactions can include emails, phone calls, meeting residents for coffee, attending occasional HOA meetings or special meetings called by residents.)
- Are you willing and able to occasionally serve on Town-formed ad hoc committees?
- Do you have an interest in attending various community events?
- Do you have time to review the packets?
MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION
If you decide to run for office, you will learn more about the town, its issues, your neighbors, effective political exchange of ideas, time management, and being a public figure than you can imagine. The town’s elected officials feel it is a rewarding and important role that they fulfill, and like most important and enriching roles that people take on, it has its ups and downs. Make the decision to run with your eyes wide open, but remember that most of the town’s elected officials choose to run for a second term and that fact alone speaks volumes.
Packets MUST be picked up at Town Hall – 214 Grand Avenue
Four (4) open trustee seats – Three 93) four year terms and one (1) two year term
Packet available now
Packet Deadline is January 22, 2018
Election is April 3, 2018
New officials sworn in April 24, 2018 at Regular Meeting