The Covington City Council agreed to set up a special work session to discuss the city’s various committees and meet with prospective volunteers for each board.
Mayor Ronnie Johnston said he has struggled with how to go about assigning and recruiting volunteers for the various committees within the city. He said he wants to make sure the entire city is represented fairly on each of the appointed committees.
“I actually thought that would make some sense that if we’re going to have a historical committee or a planning and zoning committee, we ought to have them as balanced as we possibly can,” he said. “It was just a thought.”
Currently, according to the Covington City Council meeting packet for Monday night, the city has seven boards, including the tree preservation, historic preservation, Covington Redevelopment Authority, planning commission, parking authority, downtown development authority, housing authority and board of health with positions in need of reappointment or volunteers to fill vacancies.
The work session will be scheduled to not only help the council fill positions on the committees, but to also help the council better understand what each of the volunteers are tasked with doing.
“We need to validate that they’re valuable,” Johnston said. “And then we need to validate that they properly represent as much of the whole city as possible.”
After recent headlines about the Housing Authority of the City of Covington, Johnston said he plans on attending the Housing Authority Board of Governors meeting, along with other committee meetings, to guarantee the board has what it needs to succeed.
Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams said it has been a challenge to recruit volunteers to the various committees over the years.
“The people who volunteer are the people who volunteer for so many other things,” she said. “Some of them burnt out and some of them are over extended.”
Williams said she would like to meet the candidates for the appointments and feels that a work session would be the best avenue to do that.
“I do have people that come up to me and say ‘Hey, if you ever need anything I volunteer,’ but by the time I need them, I forget who they are,” Johnston said. “I have a hard time keeping up.”
Williams encouraged the city to continue to show gratitude towards its volunteers. Previously the city has hosted appreciation events for the committee members.
“If we were to do something of this nature to say thank you in a meaningful way to our volunteers, word would get around and I think that would help get more traction to those who would want to help,” she said.
Residents interested in volunteering for a committe should reach out to members of the Covington City Council for more information.