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City accepting applications for board vacancies

By Staff
Kim West
The Russellville city council has taken a business-like approach to filling more than a dozen vacancies on the municipal boards.
There are 15 municipal boards, and seven of them currently have a total of 17 positions available to the public.
The boards with public vacancies include planning and zoning, zoning adjustment, water and sewer, parks and recreation, industrial development, medical clinic and civil service. The planning and zoning board and compatibility review committee each have one position that must be filled by a council member.
Each board has specific requirements, but all applicants must live within the Russellville city limits and file an application at city hall.
"We have some board openings now, and we wanted people to be aware of that," said Councilman Jeff Masterson, who represents District I. "The board vacancies have always been posted on the bulletin board at city hall, but we wanted to make sure people will know to apply if it's something they're interested in.
"There are people in Russellville that can help the city, but for some reason they weren't asked to help before."
The new administration has also requested that all applicants include a resume with their application.
"In the past administration, board members from each district served on each board since each board normally has at least five members," said Councilman David Grissom, who represents District 5. "The past council tried to set it up where a member was picked from each district, and we would like that to continue, but we need to get the word out so people from each district would know to apply.
"The mayor has asked for people to submit resumes, and there is a listing at city hall of the all the board positions available.
"I encourage every citizen in District 5 and throughout the city to apply and also the people who are currently serving on boards to do the same (with expired terms) because we want to get as many qualified people as possible and run the application process like a business would."
Both Masterson and Grissom said they would favor compensating every person who serves on a board. Only five of the city's 15 municipal boards – water and sewer, board of education, electric, gas and civil service – currently offer compensation varying from $200 per month to $450 monthly to its board members and board chairs.
"Not all boards pay a salary, but something the council has discussed is paying a little salary (to every board member)," Masterson said.
"I would certainly be in favor of some type of pay scale for each board," said Grissom, who formerly served on the city's electric board before taking office last month. "If you take a job and do the job the way it should be done, then you deserve the compensation."
A majority of the public vacancies are available due to board members' expired terms. Those members were not re-appointed or replaced by the previous administration by request of the incoming mayor and new council members.
"Some of the board members' terms have been expired for years, but they have never been acted on so they can continue to serve on their boards," Masterson said.
There is not a specific deadline for applications, but Masterson said he would like to see the vacancies filled by the end of January.
"We want to make an informed decision on these vacancies," he said. "I can't speak for the council as a whole, but it would be my wish to give everyone the rest of (December) to apply and give people time to look at what's posted.
"But hopefully during January we can fill these vacancies."