Council delays decision on disbanding 2 committees

Youth board, disability committee to get further review

A proposal to disband the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Board and People with a Disability Committee was pulled from the Shawano Common Council’s agenda Tuesday at its re-organizational meeting.

Alderwoman Sandy Steinke made a motion at the outset of the meeting to pull those items off the agenda for further review.

The motion passed unanimously and without any discussion.

Mayor Ed Whealon said in an interview last week he was recommending disbanding those entities after consulting with city staff.

He said there has been a lack of interest among people who have been sought to serve on the youth board and the disability committee.

It has also been some time since either have been active.

According to records available on the city’s website, the People with a Disability Committee’s last meeting was June 5 of last year.

The agenda shows that the only action taken was the election of officers.

The website has no record of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Board, which, Whealon said, has not met in a couple of years.

Both the youth board and the disability committee were established during the tenure of former mayor Lorna Marquardt, who left office in April 2016.

“I thought they were two sectors of the community that weren’t as well-represented as I thought they should be,” Marquardt said in an interview prior to her departure in 2016.

According to Whealon, activity by the board and the committee have since languished and finding people willing to serve on them has been a problem.

“There’s just no interest,” Whealon said.

He said he reached out to Shawano Community High School and spoke to a couple of the teachers about filling the youth board seats.

“The kids just don’t want to do it,” Whealon said. “When Lorna was mayor, she had quite a few kids that would apply for it. Now, it’s hard to drum up any interest with the kids.”

Whealon said the disability committee had been involved in such things as making city street crossings more handicapped-accessible.

However, he said, “a lot of the stuff we were already doing.”

Whealon also said that as disability issues come up, they can be addressed by other standing committees, such as the field committee or park and recreation commission.

Whealon said he is not opposed to keeping the youth board and disability committee.

“If council feels we should keep them, then we’ll keep them,” he said.