The City of Santa Monica has no shortage of community members willing to volunteer their time to serve on various municipal boards and commissions, from recreation and parks to public safety and much more.
During a special city council meeting last week, council members combed through a long list of candidates for various positions, filling out the roster of volunteer positions through summer 2023.
Appointments were not without some confusion, notably when it came to appointing inaugural members of the Human Services Commission, which is a new commission resulting from the consolidation the Social Services Commission, Commission on the Status of Women and Commission on the Senior Community.
Council members determined one applicant, Marie Manvel (who is also a candidate for the California Board of Equalization and will appear on the November ballot), should be removed from consideration for the role of Human Services commissioner because, in the words of Mayor Sue Himmelrich, “we have one applicant who has applied to every single commission”: Manvel. Himmelrich said she was concerned that Manvel did not have any special interest in serving on that commission in particular.
Councilmember Phil Brock agreed with the Mayor.
“My view is like yours. If you have a solid interest in one thing, then I’m good,” Brock said.
The problem with that consentient decision was that Manvel had not applied to serve on the Human Services Commission. According to information posted on the City of Santa Monica website, Manvel had applied to six of the 13 non-elected bodies with open seats (and five more boards/commissions that did not have open seats as of last Thursday’s meeting), but Human Services was not among them.
During the hearing on Thursday, no one on council or staff seemed to have noticed the error and, after a six-minute discussion over how to handle Manvel’s application, council elected to approve “seven of the eight candidates” for the Board and reach out to Manvel to see whether her interest in serving was genuine.
The following Tuesday, Santa Monica city staff confirmed that Manvel had not applied for the Human Services Commission and that all eight of the applicants who did apply were given seats — not quite the decision made at the council meeting last Thursday.
The final list of new appointments:
Architectural Review Board
Commission on Sustainability, Environmental Justice and the Environment
Robert J Lempert*
Roger A Genser*
Janine T Bush
Public Safety Reform and Oversight Commission
Craig R Miller*
Recreation and Parks Commission
Andrew M Gomez*
John Cyrus Smith*
Steven W Johnson
Santa Monica Library Board
Judith R Meister*
Santa Monica Travel and Tourism
Human Services Commission
Marielle A. Kriesel
Alexis M Hemphill-Elsea
Tamara S Kagel
Bruce J Leddy