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Winchester is looking for a few good volunteers

The town of Winchester is looking for residents who would like to volunteer to sit on a board or committee. FILE PHOTO

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When Town Manager Beth Rudolph announced last week that two open positions on the Conservation Commission had been filled, she thanked William Band and Tracy Olson for stepping up. But it turns out Winchester needs more residents to follow suit.

Town Hall Administrative Assistant Patty Mihelich said she has a number of positions on a variety of boards that need filling. She needs new people for the Affordable Housing Trust, the Cable Advisory Board, Cultural Council and the Personnel Board.

“The Personnel Board is not a real heavy commitment,” she said. “It’s a little more involved when getting ready for Town Meeting, but it’s not a lot of work.”

According to the “Boards, Commissions, Committee and Councils” booklet, the task set for the Personnel Board includes acting as a “central authority for personnel conditions, wage and salary adjustments, and job classification. It assists in the coordination of collective bargaining activities with all organized groups, except the school staff. It reports on warrant articles involving personnel matters.”

Each term is three years and it meets as needed.

In case you’re interested

Here is a brief description of what is required of the other boards with openings:

Cultural Council: The Cultural Council’s purpose is to establish guidelines for local use of arts lottery funds, determine if applications comply with the guidelines and award funds. It also has a three-year term and no specific meeting times.

Affordable Housing Trust: The Trust provides “for the preservation and creation of affordable housing in the Town of Winchester for the benefit of low and moderate income households.”

Cable Advisory Board: Fairly self explanatory, this committee advises the Select Board regarding cable television and contract issues.

But that’s not all

The boards, councils and trusts listed above have current openings, but they aren’t the only volunteering game in town. There are nearly three dozen boards/committees/trusts/councils that work to keep the town running smoothly.

And you never know when the Permanent Tree Committee, the Finance Committee, Committee on Rules, Committee on Names or the Historical Commission, just to name a few, might have an opening.

To check out all of the towns appointed and elected boards and committees go to Boards, Commissions, Committees and Councils (winchester.us), located on the town’s website, www.winchester.us. From there it’s an easy click on Winchester-Committee-Volunteer-Application found on the Jobs • VOLUNTEER (winchester.us) site also on the town website.

Why volunteer?

As the “Boards, Commissions, Committee and Councils” booklet reads, volunteering to serve gives residents “an opportunity to participate in maintaining Winchester’s quality of life and services.”

And it’s a good way to give back.

Despite the vacancies, Mihelich said she’s not sure that volunteerism is actually down, but said it does come in waves.

She worked to court residents during last fall’s Town Meeting, showing up with handouts that included a list of openings along with a QR code that took users right to a fillable application.

“We try to make it as easy as possible,” she said.

Yet, despite her technical savvy to reach people where they usually are, on their phones, she only received a couple of replies.

But she doesn’t think it’s because people don’t care.

“I think it’s hard to get people because everyone is spread so much thinner these days,” Mihelich said. “It comes and goes as to how many people are willing to step up.”

Residents that might not have access or ability to apply online can always express their wishes the old fashioned way.

“They can send a letter of interest to me,” Mihelich said.

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