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Search our advisory boards appointee database

Monday, September 15, 2014 by Beth Cortez-Neavel

The City of Austin has a plethora of advisory groups that each inform some aspect of how city government operates and regulates the services it provides for the community.

There are more than 60 advisory boards, committees and commissions, including some that regulate water and wastewater, determine historical landmarks, monitor and support equality and quality of life initiatives for different demographic groups, recommend land use and steer food sustainability.

These groups are made up of citizen board members who apply to fill vacant board positions and are appointed by City Council.

As our first foray into the data journalism world, the Austin Monitor has put together a database  of appointees and who appointed them to their specific board, committee or commission. The City of Austin provides this information on its website, but not all in one convenient place. We wanted to make it easier for our readers to participate in city government and get a better understanding of who is helping to make the important decisions that shape our city.

There are more than 400 appointees at any time, and the list changes throughout the year as members leave and empty positions get filled. Not only does the City of Austin appoint members to the commissions, but some councils are intergovernmental, with appointees representing Travis County, the Austin Independent School District or other outside governmental entities that work with the city to provide community resources.

Deena Estrada-Salinas, the city’s Boards and Commissions coordinator, says boards and commissions are important because “they enable citizens to participate in Austin’s government processes. Their activities help shape and influence public policy, because they lend a more diverse viewpoint for the City Council to consider.”

Here’s how to navigate the database:
Use the search form to look for appointees by board or commission, by first or last names, or by who appointed them.

If you would like to see the entire list of appointees, leave all fields as they are.

Click on each group’s name to see related Monitor stories. You will find a brief description of each group and a link to the group’s city webpage so you can check out meeting agendas, documents, schedules and bylaws for yourself.

We have included only members who were appointed by Council members, not outside appointees. We’ll keep you updated on the database as information changes.

In the meantime, have fun exploring our new tool here.

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