Saturday, April 20, 2024

There are at least three vacancies on the city’s GLBT Commission, and this time applicants are being asked to attend a meeting before signing up.

The reason: Too many dropouts and logistical complications among members, which co-chairman John Gintell says could result from a lax appointment process.

“In the past we just read their letters or resumes and made recommendations,” Gintell said. This time applicants for the 10- to 15-member board will be interviewed as well, he said, before names are sent on for formal appointment by City Manager Robert W. Healy Jr.

To serve on the commission, which advocates for equal rights for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and members of the trans community, applicants must either live or work in Cambridge. Like all city commissions, members are given staggered three-year terms (replacements may get a shorter term) and can ask to be reappointed to full three-year terms.

“We have one slot for a commissioner who resigned in February because he had a conflict of interest. Two commissioners who were appointed this year have had more than three unexcused absences — I don’t know why, since they didn’t respond to the e-mail when I asked them — and thus their positions are to be considered vacant,” Gintell said, citing city ordinance.

That’s what’s behind Healy’s request that before submitting an application by the Nov. 11 deadline, applicants attend either the Oct. 28 or Nov. 18 meetings.

“One of the reasons we are suggesting that prospective commissioners attend a meeting to see what it is really like is to hopefully avoid cases where people get appointed and then drop out quickly,” Gintell said.

A strong response would be helpful; several commissioners’ terms will be up at the end of the year, he said, and there is already one longtime commissioner whose term doesn’t expire this year but is considering resigning because of time conflicts.

“Therefore there might be more slots,” Gintell said.

Members are expected to attend monthly meetings and able to do some work outside of them, according to a press release from Healy’s office. The GLBT Commission is unique among the city’s many citizen boards, Gintell noted, in that it has no budget or staff, “so that anything done is done by us.”

A look at the commission’s work is here. For information from its city Web page, click here.

To apply to the commission, a letter of interest and brief resume should be sent mail to Robert W. Healy, city manager of Cambridge, 795 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139; via e-mail to [email protected]; and by fax to (617) 349-4307.