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Reality Check: Asheville has 32 boards and commissions and 25 openings

Asheville is looking for volunteers to help with some very important work. They're needed to fill vacancies on one quarter of the city's boards and commissions, which are all volunteer driven except for the council member assigned to each one. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Asheville is looking for volunteers to help with some very important work. They're needed to fill vacancies on one quarter of the city's boards and commissions, which are all volunteer driven except for the council member assigned to each one.

One city council member said anything significant starts or goes through one of the boards or commissions.

During a recent Multimodal Transportation Commission meeting, it lost another member.

"This is going to be my last Multimodal Commission meeting," said commission member Till Dohse, who has spent four years offering his opinion.

"The small changes I was able to cause make me feel good about myself as a citizen," he said.

The commission discusses every way people get around: driving, walking, cycling, public transportation and greenways. It is one of the city's 32 boards and commissions. In total, they touch every aspect of living in Asheville.

Serving on a commission gives volunteer members a chance to have their voices not just heard, but also heeded.

"Any significant policy that is discussed by city council is absolutely talked about either originally or run through boards and commissions," Vice-Mayor Gwen Wisler said.

Wisler, who chairs the Boards and Commissions Committee, said the council relies on input from these groups.

"If people want to be involved in the city of Asheville and really understand governing and help the city council and the city staff make decisions, it's a great opportunity," Wisler said.

Wisler said the city used to have a harder time finding people to volunteer. Lately, she said, it has had better luck. Still, there 25 openings, which include six openings on the Public Art and Cultural Commission.

"I just thought this was a good opportunity to use my experience and expertise to help my community," said Bruce Emory, who chairs the Multimodal Transportation Commission.

He retired from a career in transit and enjoys the chance to have a say.

"It is important for the city to hear from citizens, and that's really our role," Emory said.

The deadline to apply for one of the vacancies is June 7.



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