Boca Raton forms new Community Advisory Panel
by Casey Westfall
During a meeting on Tuesday, February 9, the Boca Raton City Council appointed the first set of members to the city’s new Community Advisory Panel.
The council created the panel as a means for citizens of Boca Raton to address issues relating to quality of life in the city, and consists of 11 council-appointed members who will meet at least four times a year, including one town hall style meeting where citizens may attend and address the panel directly.
City rules state that the panel’s duty is to provide citizens of Boca a public forum in which city residents may state their views, and express their needs in regards to quality-of-life issues. It will also act as a clearinghouse for information pertinent to resident’s needs and interests, and encouraging mutual respect and understanding amongst residents regardless of age or background.
In addition, the panel will appoint volunteers to serve on temporary subcommittees with the objective of completing specific tasks or concerns, and will present the City Council with recommendations for quality-of-life related policies and programs.
Each January, the panel will be required to present City Council with an annual report of their recommendations and observations.
The panel is the successor to four advisory boards, which were dissolved in an attempt to use assets and funds from taxpayers in more a practical manner.
The boards that the Community Advisory Panel replaces are the Community Relations Board, the Education Advisory Board, Elder Affairs Advisory Board, and the Advisory Board for People with Disabilities.
Members of the board will serve staggered terms, and must be citizens of the City of Boca Raton.
The members appointed by the City Council are Linda Weiss Rose, Jay Van Vechten, Ashton Parfitt, Jon Carter, Lawrence Katz, Evelyn Panagakos Lamia, Charles Farthing, Eric Gooden, Deborah Carmen, and Terry Randolph.
All of the members of the panel formerly served on one of the boards that the Community Advisory Panel replaces, for the exception of Jon Carter, who is the student body president of Palm Beach State College’s Boca Raton campus.
The first meeting of the panel will take place in April.