Hutchinson City Council Changes Board Appointment Policies


Hutchinson City Council on Tuesday changed the city’s longstanding policies and procedures for appointing people to citizens’ advisory boards and commissions.

The overhaul came after Mayor Jade Piros de Carvalho refused in early May to fill two vacant Hutchinson Planning Commission seats until the nomination process changes.

It also follows revisions made by the Reno County Commission to its nominating policy in February, which was also amended last month.

Uniform expiration date

The town policy, written by Hutchinson human relations manager David Sotelo and based on suggestions from council members and with the help of other town staff, moved the appointment of members from all city ​​councils, excluding VisitHutch, on January 1 each year.

Currently, boards have expiration dates for members’ terms that are “all over the map,” Sotelo said.

“It’s hard for city staff to constantly have recruitment drives,” he said.

The new policy states that three months before these appointments, the city will post a notice of seats that should be open and launch a social media campaign seeking volunteers to fill them.

Another amendment to the policy to make appointments more uniform is that board members can only serve a partial term and two consecutive full terms, with no term exceeding three years.

A mandate is considered as partial if the appointment takes place six months or more in the year.

Other changes: application duration maintained, sitting one at a time

Other changes include that candidate lists will all be discarded after one year rather than being held in a candidate pool for three years, and no one can sit on more than one board at a time.

Those currently serving on more than one board of directors who may be in violation of this latter policy will be permitted to continue serving until their term expires.

Sotelo suggested the one-year limit on retention of nominations after reviewing the 20 nominations on file when seeking a seat on the Human Relations Commission. None of the candidates were yet interested.

Councilwoman Sara Bagwell asked if it was possible to extend the retention period for nominations to two years, but no one expressed support for the change.

The policy allows up to 20% of the members of any council or committee to live outside the city limits, unless prohibited by law, although they must be in Reno County.

It also states that members are required to attend at least 75% of regular meetings.

Mayor Jade Piros de Carvalho, center, speaks with speaker Justin Combs, director of city parks and facilities, during the town council meeting for the town of Hutchinson on Tuesday morning, Jan. 4, 2022, at the 'city Hall.

Demographics are tracked, but not part of the selection process

The Planning Commission candidates who were on the May 3 nomination agenda that the mayor rejected were two white men recruited by other Planning Commission members to serve. No female or minority applications were received.

The mayor argued that the appointments did not follow the procedure in effect at the time, which stipulates that the mayor will give his consent before an appointment.

She hadn’t been invited, Piros de Carvalho said, learning of the proposed appointments when they showed up on the meeting agenda.

After:Hutchinson mayor delays planning board appointments pending policy overhaul

While one of the goals of the mayor’s request to change the policy is to increase the representation of these historically underrepresented groups on city boards and commissions, the policy does not directly address this beyond state it as a goal.

Instead, it requires staff to collect demographic data about board members each year and publish it in a report for the board. The data that members are asked to provide is collected anonymously and is only sought after they have been appointed.

Demographic questions will include age, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, nationality, home language, military service, disability, and employment status.

Many openings

In addition to “multi-channel outreach” in seeking new appointments, city staff will notify community organizations, the chamber of commerce, clubs and religious organizations of upcoming council openings to recruit candidates, the policy says.

Sotelo said they expect 20 board positions to be open by the end of the year. He said they are also actively recruiting to “fill” currently open positions.

City Attorney Paul Brown noted that some boards to which the city appoints members, including Community Corrections, Hutchinson Recreation Commission, Juvenile Corrections, and Hospital and Library Boards, are being created. by state law and the city cannot change them.

The City adopted its Appointments Policy in February 1993 and revised it in January 2013.

The policy can be found on the City’s website at

The Reno County Commission also changed its policies this year to sit on county councils.

Reno County Commission sets similar ‘recruitment’ period

The Reno County Commission approved its new pro bono council policy in February. Like the city’s, it created a 90-day recruiting period, with vacancies posted on the county’s website at

An amendment made last month was that after the 90 days, the chairman of the board, who reviews nominations, could determine whether to extend the nomination deadline or put the nomination on a future agenda meeting.

“All nominations must be made available to the Board of Commissioners for review before an appointment is made,” the policy states.

Vacancies on county councils can be found at


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