COWmittees COWnt

May 17, 2011

In addition to the Planning Commission and the Architectural and Site Review Board (ASRB), the Town has 8 other citizen COWmittees: Audit Committee; Bicycle Committee; Conservation and Environmental Health Committee; History Committee; Livestock and Animal Control Committee; Public Safety Committee; Recreation Committee; Trails Committee; and the Open Space Committee.

There are always vacancies and we encourage all COWs to participate. Right now there are vacancies on the Bicycle Committee; Conservation and Environmental Health Committee; History Committee; and Recreation Committee. Applications are accepted until the positions are filled. If you are interested more information and applications can be found on the Town website here. We applaud all those COWs who volunteer their time, expertise and energy to the various COWmittees. Volunteers help create a real sense of cowmunity.

HOWEVER, it seems to us that there just may be too many COWmittees. If you want to say tear down a dilapidated old structure, and put in perhaps a couple of barns, it’s possible you may need to appear before the Planning Commission, ASRB, the Open Space Committee, the Livestock Committee and the History Committee. Some of the COWmittees expect applicants to make several appearances.

Some of these COWmittees seem to have overly narrow jurisdictions. For example, perhaps Bicycles should be merged with Public Safety. Or perhaps these two could also be merged with Trails, Recreation or Open Space. Maybe Livestock and Animal Control belongs with Conservation and Environmental Health. These COWmittees could be mixed and matched in various ways. Maybe, the COWncil should rely more heavily on ad hoc or temporary COWmittees when real issues arise, rather than standing COWmittees which take too much staff time, are often unable to meet for lack of a quorum or which make applicants have multiple appearances in order to feel that they are making a real contribution. The Town might then have a larger pool of volunteers for the Planning Commission, ASRB and Town Council!

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