LETTER: Why reopen commission applications in Roseville?

To the Editor:

 

On March 18, the Roseville City Council unexpectedly delayed filling two seats on the nine-member Human Rights Inclusion and Engagement Commission. Six citizens applied for the two HRIEC appointments, but four withdrew their candidacy prior to the council meeting, several citing the excellent qualifications of the other applicants.  

The two remaining applicants were Dannah Thompson, a woman of Native American heritage, and Grace Lee, of Asian ethnicity. Interviewed by the city council, both appeared well qualified to serve on this commission dedicated to advancing community understanding and equal opportunity; a seemingly ideal match, given the city’s participation in the GARE program, intended to promote diversity on the city council and commissions.  

For reasons unknown, however, the council declined to move ahead with seating either woman. They voted instead to reopen the application process, invoking an obscure 2010 resolution that allows the city the option of reopening an application process if they fail to receive twice as many applicants as the number of seats open. The rarely cited resolution is permissive, not mandatory, and moreover, refers to the number of applicants who had applied for the position, not the number of candidates interviewed.  

Since six applications had been received for the two seats, before four voluntarily withdrew, the rationale for this council action is unclear, but a cynical observer might conclude that it was politically, rather than civically, motivated.

 

Tara Guy

Roseville

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