Introduction to the Observer Corps
One of the most valuable services a local League can offer its members and often the community, is to observe municipal boards and committees. By participating in the Observer Corps, members can learn about local issues and share information with League members through our local newsletter and at League meetings.
Members may choose to observe a board or commission in which they have an interest, the League has a particular interest, or where the league may have an impact. The Observer notifies the league of the board or meeting they wish to follow and a letter is sent to the chair of that board from the League President. The purpose of the letter is to introduce the Observer to the board and explain that they are there to listen but not to participate and to help keep the League informed on community issues and trends. It also gives the board chair an opportunity to send copies of minutes and agendas to the Observer prior to the meeting.
After the Observer attends the meeting, either physically or via broadcast or web-streaming, a report is filled out and submitted to the League for publication in the League newsletter or linked to a blog. This sharing of information is the most important part of the process. The report is designed to be factual and non-judgmental, and to comment on the process and the content of the meeting. The League is interest in the transparency of the process; is the agenda posted prior to the meeting, was the agenda followed, were decisions made before the meeting was held? The League is also interested in the content of the meeting, issues that the League is following or studying, and voting and election information. The Observer form can be filled out as a hard copy and submitted or filled out on-line. The information will be part of the League newsletter or blog or, if urgent, an email sent from the President.
An active Observer Corps can be of great value to a League. Observers can be helpful in recruiting new members; by taking flyers to the meetings attended, or by sending a copy of our newsletter to the meeting chair. Observers can also make contacts with local officials and the press, publicizing the work of the League and offering its' resources as needed. Most important the Observers provide a valuable service by helping the League identify community needs, issues and trends.
For further information and if you are interested in participating, contact president [at] lwvshr.org.