Getting Involved in Decision Making
Are you interested in getting involved but don't know where to start? Learn about Boards and Commissions and the Five Steps to Success!
The Vacancy List to see what boards are currently seeking members. If the board you are interested in is not currently seeking vacancies, you can still complete and submit an application. The Clerk's Office will keep you application on file in case of a resignation or unexpected vacancy.
Download the PDF application for Grand Rapids Boards and Commissions. Don't forget to sign and Date!
Grand Rapids Citizen Boards and Commissions Pages
The Grand Rapids City Commission appoints approximately 260 citizens to 40 Boards and Commissions designed to give citizen input, to review City programs and make recommendations to the City Commission.
Boards and Commissions
The issues considered by various committees cover a wide range of topics including preservation of historic structures, residential and commercial development, our cultural environment and the protection and improvement of neighborhoods. Current Citizen Board or Commission Member Handbook and Statement of Privileges & Duties goes in depth on the various functions Boards and Commissions serve.
The City Commission makes every effort to have representation from the three (3) wards, as well as the racial, ethnic, and gender composition of the community on each of the Boards and Commissions. As part of our participation in the Racial Equity Here Cohort, we are working to implement racial equity in all the City does, including efforts from the boards and commissions. A sample Racial Equity Toolkit can be found on the Government Alliance on Race & Equity website.
Application and Appointment Process
Intake - Once an application is received, the candidate is reviewed for eligibility to a particular board or seat. Some boards and commissions have certain requirements, like the Urban Forestry Committee which has a seat designated for a certified arborist. Applicants are encouraged to review the board pages for specific requirements.
Vetting - Applicants will be reviewed by the City Treasurer's Office, Income Tax Department, and the Department of Law to verify there are no outstanding dues to the City. As many of the boards and commissions have either direct or indirect influence on how tax dollars are spent, it's important for board and commission candidates to be compliant with City Code. The vetting offices and departments will work with individuals to help them meet the compliance requirements in a private and courteous manner.
Appointing Authority - Some positions are directly appointed by an appointing authority, such as the Mayor, a local organization, the City Manager, or a City Commissioner. All eligible applications are sent to the appointing authority for their direction.
Committee on Appointments Discussion and Recommendation - When an appointing authority gives direction to appoint an applicant, the Committee on Appointments will still receive the applications of all eligible candidates. This body considers and makes recommendations on appointments to Boards and Commissions.
City Commission Resolution - When the Committee on Appointments recommends a resolution to appoint, the City Commission will take their vote on the resolution.
Oath of Office Packet - When the resolution has been confirmed during a City Commission night meeting, appointees will receive a welcome packet with letter from the Mayor, an incomplete Oath of Office with a return envelope, and the Current Citizen Board or Commission Member Handbook and Statement of Privileges & Duties. The Oath of Office must be completed, notarized, and returned to the Clerk's Office in order for appointees to participate as voting members.
Board or Committee Liaison - The Board or Committee Liaison will reach out to the appointed member to provide an introduction to his/her specific board or commission.