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July 5, 2011 > Volunteer to make a difference

Volunteer to make a difference

By Simon Wong

The City of Hayward's Volunteer Open House on June 30, 2011, was attended by many residents and business people interested in learning more about, or applying for vacancies on, the city's 17 boards, commissions, committees and task force.

'What makes the perfect volunteer?' has no definitive answer. Each body consists of people with different backgrounds, occupations, experiences and knowledge. This diverse range of perspectives and ideas, hopefully, represents the community and is essential for devising sensible and equitable solutions to complex problems that affect Hayward's citizens. Seriousness and the willingness to devote time are desirable.

"I work as the IT Director for the Peninsula Library System and also sit on the California Library Board, so I felt I might be able to bring some relevant experience to the City of Hayward's Library Commission," said Monica Schultz who has served three years of her four-year term as a Library Commissioner. "I live in Hayward and wanted to do something."

Schultz finds her service rewarding. Apart from her regular day job, much of her spare time is spent on unremunerated, volunteer activities which are often more fulfilling than receipt of a pay check.

"Serving on the Library Commission entails a monthly meeting, lasting between two and three hours, and advocacy for library services before Council when such matters appear on Council's agenda. Any additional time and involvement within the community is up to the individual," she added.

"Since becoming involved with the city, I find the public tends to hold you to higher standards. Eyes are on you. You can find yourself reported by the media at any time and you're also representing the Commission to which you've been appointed.

"I strongly encourage people to consider becoming a Hayward commissioner, board, committee or task force member. One feels like an integral part of the city, making a difference. If somebody dislikes something, rather than complain and rely on others to remedy the issue, that person can effect change for the entire community through service," Schultz concluded.

Each board, commission, committee and task force has its own workloads and some meet more frequently than others but, ultimately, each exists for the good of the City of Hayward and its residents. Appointees serve in an advisory capacity to City Council and must reside within the city limits and be registered voters.

The City of Hayward invites applications from individuals for the following boards, commissions, committees and task force:

Citizens Advisory Commission (1 vacancy); Downtown Business Improvement Area Advisory Board (2 vacancies); Human Services Commission (2 vacancies); Keep Hayward Clean and Green Task Force (KHCG) (4 vacancies); Library Commission (1 vacancy); Personnel & Affirmative Action Commission (1 vacancy).

Currently, there are no openings for the Planning Commission and Council Economic Development Committee.

Applicants for the Downtown Business Improvement Area Advisory Board need not live in Hayward; however, they must own a business in the Downtown Business Improvement Area of Hayward and pay assessments.

Should vacancies arise on the Council Economic Development Committee, applicants must reside in Hayward, own/operate a business in Hayward, be senior management at a corporate business in Hayward or be formally affiliated with and represent another entity or agency concerned with economic development in the city.

Some of the commissions/committees/task force members may need to file a disclosure Statement of Economic Interests, Form 700.

Interviews with the City Council are scheduled for Tuesday, July 19, 2011. Applicants will be notified when interview times are confirmed.

Applications are available from the Office of the City Clerk, 777 B Street, Hayward, CA 94541, by calling (510) 583-4400 or by visiting www.hayward-ca.gov. The deadline for submitting applications is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, July 8, 2011.

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