The Chestertown Mayor and Council could revamp requirements for committees and commissions that serve the town if recommendations by Ward 1 Councilman Sam Shoge go into effect.
At Monday’s council meeting Shoge specifically focused on the recreation commission being categorized as a “commission” when it has no regulatory oversight in town government. He advised the recreation commission should be officially referred to as a “committee.”
He said commissions that serve the town, like the planning and the historic commissions, “actually have regulatory authority.”
The recreation commission, like the committees, is “advisory only.” He said a “common standard” should be established so that the committees and commissions are “distinctly separate.”
Shoge also suggested reforms that would require council members to have committee assignments.
He said the council isn’t represented enough on the committees when compared to other legislative bodies at the state and federal level.
“If you look at our state government and our federal government all of our elected officials have committee assignments,” he said. “I think it would be worth considering at the town council level that we have these committee assignments.”
Shoge further recommended that committee chairs reside in Chestertown.
“We allow non-town residents to serve on our committees and that’s fine, but…in particular for our chairs I think introducing a requirement that they do live in Chestertown be considered.”
Shoge also suggested training and information resources for committee members through the Maryland Municipal League.
“I would like….some of our chairs to have some type of MML access,” he said.
With in-person public meetings resumed, Shoge further suggested that the committees should conduct business at Town Hall.
“We entrust them with so much and they provide excellent advice,” he said. “Communicating where those meetings are will be very easy. All of our meetings take place right here in Town Hall.”
Mayor David Foster agreed and said council members should serve as liaisons to the committees.