Breckenridge passes resolution to create Social Equity Advisory Commission, seeks community participation
BRECKENRIDGE — Breckenridge Town Council unanimously passed a resolution creating a Social Equity Advisory Commission at Tuesday’s meeting.
Town Manager Rick Holman brought up the idea, saying staff members believe it’s important for there to be “a committee of committed individuals that bring a diverse background and thinking to the table to work with us.” He added that town governance staff is open to looking for opportunities for change.
Two council members will be assigned to the commission at the next council meeting June 23, according to Mayor Eric Mamula. The commission could include as many as seven additional members.
The commission is set up as a temporary board, Mamula explained, allowing the town to sidestep charter rules for permanent boards, which would allow only one council member and residents of the town of Breckenridge to participate.
“We know that there are people that live in the community that don’t necessarily live in the town of Breckenridge boundaries,” Mamula said about the reasoning behind the temporary designation, which would allow those community members to participate. “… The board would not go away unless another town council at some later date would formally adopt a resolution to dissolve that board. So, for all intents and purposes, this board is pretty permanent even though it says ‘temporary.’”
To gather advice and ideas for forming the commission, council member Dick Carleton said he spoke to the mayor of Park City, Utah, about a similar program in place there. Carleton said he is imagining a program that is broad in scope, embracing diversity and inclusion.
“There’s so many groups in our community that are somewhat marginalized, and we’re all of like people; we’re all caucasian,” Carleton said about the current council makeup. “We’re sitting up here, and we’re running the town, and many of the boards are of like people.”
Carleton said he hoped the commission would bring together a group of people from varied backgrounds outside of local government and politics.
Mamula, who recommended Carleton sit on the commission, noted that Breckenridge has a “very silent Hispanic community” that the council would like to see represented in the commission.
Council member Erin Gigliello said the commission should meet outside of typical working hours to make it easier for people to participate.
In addition to the commission, Mamula said he would like to write a letter to the community explaining the council’s views. To address nationwide concerns about policing, he also said it would be important to acknowledge what the town’s police department has done over the years to get it to “where it is now” and to include some things Chief Jim Baird wants to implement in the future.
Holman said the commission likely would gear up in the second half of July.
Breckenridge spokesperson Haley Littleton said the town will be posting information about how to apply to join the board on the town’s website and social media channels as well as in an advertisement in the Summit Daily News and through other partner organizations.
After the details are posted, the application will be available for two weeks, Littleton said. Applicants will be required to write a letter of interest and have an interview with Town Council.
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