Danedri Thompson
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City council members recently adopted a resolution creating five advisory committees. The committees will meet monthly offering recommendations to the Gardner City Council. The committees include a streets, sidewalks and stormwater advisory committee,  citizens police advisory committee, an Americans with Disabilities Act advisory committee, a parks and recreation advisory committee and an economic development advisory committee.
Individual council members will recommend people for appointment to the committees. Eventually, five members will serve three-year terms, though initial members will be appointment to one, two and three year terms to establish rolling, annual appointments. All members must be Gardner residents.
The committee resolutions, adopted by council in mid-July, specifically listed attributes and qualifications for potential committee members.
For example, the economic development advisory committee would consist of building contractors, developers, members of financial and educational institutions, and business or industrial representatives.
Adam Cox, Gardner resident, had concerns about the advisory committees. The economic development advisory committee should include some regular citizens, Cox told council members.
“I’m a little confused as to why an educational institution representative would bring more than just a regular person,” Cox said. “As one of the people who has kind of said maybe it would be nice to interact, committees to me are just more layers of things that you send off to committee to die.”
Committees, Cox said, might not provide the back-and-forth discussion where new ideas are thrown out.
Council member Todd Winters said it may be a challenge to find 25 citizens with very specific skills to fill each of the committees.
For example, the resolution creating the streets, sidewalks and stormwater advisory committee suggested that committee members should have experience in civil, structural or stormwater engineering, in contract administration, in architecture or in general contracting.
On the ADA, citizens police and parks and recreation advisory committees, members must only be Gardner residents.
Each council member will also serve as an ex-officio member of the advisory committees. During the July 20 council meeting, Mayor Chris Morrow appointed council member Lee Moore as to the streets, sidewalks and stormwater advisory committee; council member Rich Melton to the citizens police advisory committee, council member Steve Shute to the ADA advisory committee and council member Todd Winters to the parks and recreation advisory committee.