One of Del Mar’s most valuable assets is the involvement of so many talented citizens on boards and committees. These volunteers bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the Council decision process. Hiring staff or consultants with that much talent would be way beyond our financial wherewithal. Those in our community who have these talents/expertise are very busy professionals. It is amazing that they value community so much that they are willing to carve out volunteer time. Citizen involvement is unique and many communities find positions open for a long time because folks don’t care about their towns/cities.
Council Members Haydu and Sinnott, recognizing that value, are recommending a revitalization of our citizen committee process as well as other citizen involvement strategies. We applaud that recommendation. An effort should be made to clarify the role and expectations of each committee. Council Members who are assigned as liaisons to each committee should be diligent in communicating Council needs and priorities. Council Members should be conversant with the efforts of each committee to assure that their efforts bring relevant input to Council decision processes.
These groups should be respected as valuable members of our governmental machinery. Of course, final decision making lies in the hands of our elected officials, but often the best ideas, information, and analysis comes from citizen committees who have taken the time and care to do their homework.
Not all Councils have valued this kind of informed input. It is quite common for elected official egos to get impatient with the time and complexity needed to factor in citizen input, the “we were elected so we know it all” syndrome.
Del Mar has a long and enviable record of accomplishment, most of which has been guided by vigorous citizen involvement. Let’s not lose that tradition. Let’s not squander the willingness of intelligent, articulate citizens to serve on such committees. We urge this Council to implement the Haydu/Sinnott proposals.