Housing Complex

Council Could Slim Down All Those Useless Boards and Commissions

This isn't specifically Housing Complex territory, but it's an issue close to my heart, having followed the Historic Preservation Review Board's struggle to maintain a quorum, and pored over the list of Boards and Commissions to find 855 vacancies on the District's 160-odd entities. The Post followed up in October, finding that high-profile vetting failures have gummed up the process of appointing people to all those empty seats.

But the real problem, I suspect, is that there are simply too many of them—establishing a commission on this or that is a way for politicians to look like they're addressing a problem at a particular moment, and then they stay on the books forever. “Some of these boards just aren’t relevant,” Councilmember Muriel Bowser told the Post.

Finally, Bowser's doing something about it. Next month, the council will consider a bill that would require the mayor's office to do a comprehensive review of the list of boards and commissions every two years, and decide whether the each of them is doing its job, or if it should be abolished. Like President Barack Obama's bid to save $3 billion by consolidating several small business-related agencies, it's not a huge dent in the budget, but it's still just a good government thing to do. Do we really need a Homeland Security Commission, a Cable Television Advisory Committee, a Commission on Fashion Arts and Events, and a Vehicle Theft Prevention Council anyway?

  • http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com Richard Layman

    while there could be a slimming down, sure, there is a need for at least two more... Planning and Parks Commission and a Transportation Commission

    ... they are good for democracy, civic engagement, etc.

    ... and a substantive issue is how to improve their functioning, not get rid of them.