Petersburg Pilot -


Two advisory boards to dissolve after first round of assembly review


The borough assembly is planning to let the utility and motor pool advisory boards dissolve after no member made a motion to keep either one at its September 3 meeting.

This after several assembly members questioned the efficiency and viability of advisory boards and committees in August. The borough sent out an evaluation form to be filled out by advisory boards department wide as it considers whether or not to keep them. Questions on the form includes how many times it has met in the past year, what issues had been addressed and why and what the board believes it has accomplished during the past several years.

In the Utility Advisory Board questionnaire, under the comments sections, it states, “Since August 2011, the Utility Board meetings have been canceled due to lack of quorum 9 times.”

Karl Hagerman, Public Works Director and Motor Pool Advisory Board Director, said he didn’t see an issue with getting rid of either board.

“It was a little eye opening, having been to a lot of these meetings or seeing them canceled….the need for the board doesn’t seem to be very pressing,” Hagerman said.

Both boards were dissolved without controversy but that might not be the case with future reviews, particularly the Public Safety Committee.

Assembly member John Hoag toured many of the departments and discussed whether or not the department heads felt their corresponding committees or boards were important.

“Only one or two said yes when asked candidly,” Hoag said. “I reviewed, for instance, six months of minutes on the Public Safety Advisory Committee and it didn’t strike me as that committee was important.”

Sally Dwyer is on the Public Safety Advisory Board and said she and her fellow members want to remain. Dwyer said the board is useful as it works out the bugs of an issue before it reaches the assembly level and the assembly might not be prepared for that loss.

“They’re going to get all this stuff on their plate,” Dwyer said. “It won’t be vetted and it won’t come to them in a package wrapped in a bow.”

Steve Giesbrecht, Borough Manager, said many board members remain in place for several years and if and when they do leave it’s sometimes difficult to find replacements.

“Good government involves a lot of input from its citizens,” Giesbrecht said. “If you have a board that is the same people all the time that echoes the same ideas all the time, is that in the best interest of the community?”

If the assembly wants to keep the boards or committees it will need to create an ordinance within the first year of borough formation to do so. If it does nothing, the board will dissolve. Mayor Mark Jensen said the public is invited to comment on the boards and committees in the meantime.

Additional advisory boards to be considered are Transient Room Tax, Public Safety, Parks and Recreation and Public Library.

Giesbrecht said several will likely remain such as the Harbor Advisory Board and the Library Board.


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