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How long is a Commissioner's term?
Commissioners generally are appointed for a four-year term. A Commissioner’s term expires on June 30th and usually overlaps so the term of at least one member of each Commission may expire every year. New terms start on July 1st. The City Council may reappoint an existing member or fill the vacancy with a new applicant. The maximum time a Commissioner may serve is two consecutive terms for all Commissions except the Youth Commission who serve for a one-year term with a maximum of 4 years (4 terms). If an individual is appointed to fill a partial term (if someone resigns mid-term), he or she may still serve two additional terms of office. After a lapse of at least two years, an individual is eligible to reapply to serve on the same Commission and the same application process would apply as for individuals who have never served. Individuals may apply to serve on a different Commission once their term of office expires for their current commitment.
What is the purpose of Boards and Commissions?
The purpose of City Commissions is to hold public meetings about issues related to their respective fields. They also recommend policies and procedures related to their respective fields to the City Council. Commissioners serve as an intermediary between the public, City staff, and the City Council by providing information, explanation, and support for different points of view. Commissioners exemplify the City of Santa Clara’s mission statement, which is “to promote a living and working environment that allows for the best quality of life by serving the community with resourceful, efficient, progressive and professional leadership.”
What are Boards and Commissions?
Boards and Commissions (referred to collectively as “City Commissions”) play a critical role in the City of Santa Clara. They serve as a conduit for citizen input – a way of gathering, analyzing, and recommending options to the City Council, which has the final responsibility for making policy decisions. City staff can provide professional and technical expertise and, of course, any citizen can come before the City Council to offer an opinion or make a suggestion. Santa Clara’s City Commissions provide another important avenue for determining the community’s feeling about an issue. The individuals who serve on the City’s Commissions are among the most well respected and appreciated volunteers in the community.
How many Commissions are there?
There are 9 different boards and commissions:
Board of Library Trustees: Advises the City Council on issues related to the operation of the Santa Clara Public Library. (5 members)
Civil Service Commission: Advises the City Council on matters pertaining to Civil Service rules and regulations and serves as a Board of Review to hear petitions by Civil Service employees and applicants.
(5 members)
Cultural Advisory Commission: Advises the City Council on cultural enrichment and beautification.
(7 members)
Historical and Landmarks Commission: Advises the City Council on historical landmarks, names and renaming of streets, and the marking and preservation of historical landmarks. (7 members)
Housing Rehabilitation Loan Committee: Reviews projects and issues related to the Community Services Division Neighborhood Conservation and Improvement Program (NCIP) which utilizes federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnership Act Program monies to rehabilitate homes of low to moderate income homeowners who reside within the City limits. (4 members)
Parks and Recreation Commission: Advises the City Council on parks, recreation, playgrounds and entertainment. (7 members)
Planning Commission: Makes recommendations to the City Council on land subdivisions, zoning as prescribed by ordinance, and other land use matters related to the physical development of the City.
(7 members)
Senior Advisory Commission: Advises the City Council on issues affecting people age 50 and older in Santa Clara. (7 members)
Youth Commission: Advises the City Council on community programs for youth and teens and encourages youth involvement in local government. (15 members)
Can anyone apply to be on a Board or Commission?
The City Charter requires that all members of City commissions be residents and qualified electors in the City of Santa Clara (Section 1004). While membership on a Commission requires no definite qualifications, there are desirable characteristics which the City Council looks for as they review applications. These characteristics include: being familiar with the community, being familiar with the major issues of the commission, having knowledge of the commission, and having a commitment to serve.
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Board & Commissions

The City's commissions act in an advisory capacity to the City Council, providing a conduit for citizen input on numerous issues pertaining to Santa Clara. From planning the City's festivities or its physical environment; to preserving its history and maintaining its parks or libraries, these positions are vital to a well-run and receptive city government. All offer an opportunity
for citizens to truly be involved with their community.

To learn more, click on the commission of your interest below:

To view the current roster of all commissions, click on the link below:

Serve on a Commission

Serving on a commission is an excellent way to give back to the community. Members have the opportunity to serve their fellow citizens and provide guidance and recommendations on specific issues for Council consideration. They contribute to the public process and help make a positive impact in the community. In addition, commissioners have opportunities to socialize, network, build their professional skillset and resume. They also have the opportunity to attend, participate, or organize special events and in some instances attend state or national conferences.

2015 2016 2017
Board of Library Trustees - 2 -
Civil Service - - -
Cultural   - - 2
Historical & Landmarks   - - -
Housing Rehabilitation Loan   - - -
Parks & Recreation   - - -
Planning   - - 1
Senior Advisory  - 2 -
Youth   15 15 15
Santa Clara residents who are registered voters or are eligible to register to vote may apply to be a commissioner. The Youth Commission is open to Santa Clara residents or Santa Clara Unified School District students between the ages of 12-19 years old.

If you are interested in becoming a commissioner, we recommend reading the Guide for Board, Commissions and Committee Applicants (PDF), looking at upcoming openings, attending meetings, and then submitting an Application during a promotion of vacancy.

Interest Form and e-Notify 
If you would like to added to the Board & Commissions contact distribution list, please submit an Interest Form or sign up for e-Notify and select the Board or Commission of your interest to receive emails about future openings and other news. 

If you would like to serve the City in another capacity there are opportunities to become a City volunteer or volunteer at a local community organization

Contact Us
City Clerk’s Office
1500 Warburton Avenue
Santa Clara, CA 95050
(408) 615-2220

The following links provide the roster history of the Board & Commissions; including the names of current and past appointees as well as term dates.

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Last updated: 7/15/2015 9:46:40 AM