What’s in a name?
Would a committee by any other name smell as sweet? Would it smell like a board? Would it have as many rose-like thorns as a commission?
In the touching belief that names ought to matter, the Payson Town Council has renamed a slew of boards and committees and appealed for more citizen volunteers.
The council last week approved a plan to get rid of the word “committee” for standing advisory groups, in favor of calling them all commissions or boards.
In the meantime, the council also appealed for people to serve on various groups.
The traffic advisory board has a vacancy, following the resignation of a board member. In addition, the town needs two people to serve on a newly revived historic preservation board, charged with helping revive Main Street.
The council also tried to be more consistent in what it called these groups of volunteers charged with providing the town advice on an array of issues.
And it all sort of made sense. Except the part that didn’t quite.
The issue arose with the arrival of a new council, which raised questions about the system for naming various boards, commissions and committees that report to the council.
So, the council decided to make words mean precisely what they’re supposed to mean, rather than reflecting some “Alice in Wonderland” whimsy.
So, now, pay attention.
A board meets as needed with its functions determined by the town council.
A commission meets regularly, with functions determined either by the council or state law.
A committee meets as needed to take on a particular task assigned by the town council, according to the new ordinance.
All right. So obviously the Parks and Recreation Board shall henceforth be called the Parks and Recreation Commission. It meets regularly to perform functions assigned by the council.
Likewise, the Green Valley Redevelopment Area Committee shall henceforth be promoted to commission status. It meets regularly to carry out assigned functions.
Finally, the Surface Transportation Advisory Committee (STAC) shall become a board. It does, after all, meet regularly to perform functions assigned by the council.
Wait a minute. How is that different from the newly renamed Parks and Recreation Commission?
Payson Mayor Kenny Evans said, “STAC may have been created originally as a single issue group, but either because of the nature of what we’re doing in town or the cycle we find themselves in, there are many other things that a board could do — as opposed to a committee.”
Right. OK. So it’s not a committee. But why a board and not a commission?
“While we’re looking at the Surface Transportation Advisory Board as tackling some pretty specific issues, maybe those issues will come in spurts — won’t come as a regular course of business, but will come pursuant to some other factor that’s beyond the control of the town,” said Evans.
OK. So it’s like, a board. That meets regularly. In spurts.
But it still reports to the council. So, really, it’s just like a commission. Except it’s, well, irregular. Except maybe in its meeting schedule.
So, the town now has three fewer committees, two new commissions and one new board.
Oh, yeah. And the Surface Transportation Advisory Board has a nice new acronym: STAB.