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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 see and learn more, click your commission of interest below:

Central Park Meeting Triton HorseWomen's Club Adobe Houses ParksPlanning Ice Cream Social Skate Park

Interested in serving and networking with other engaged citizens? Below is the guide, the online application and a PDF version of the application.

The following resources are also available online for your convenience:

If you'd like to serve in other ways, think about becoming a volunteer.

Want to be notified about future opportunities to serve? Sign up for eNotify and select Board & Commissions to receive email about future openings.


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Last updated: 3/6/2015 2:28:52 PM