scenic picture from Washington state
SubjectsGovernance › Boards and Commissions
Updated 08/2012

Boards and Commissions



Cities and counties appoint citizen boards, commissions, task forces, and committees to advise their legislative bodies on a wide range of policy issues. Some of these boards are designated by statute for a specific purpose, such as a building code board of appeals. Other boards and commissions may be authorized by statute, but it is left up to the discretion of the local governing body whether to create an advisory board or commission. The membership of the board may, or may not, be designated by statute. Cities and counties have also created permanent or "standing" advisory committees by ordinance. One example is a design review board. Other boards created may be of a more temporary nature or "ad hoc" to focus on a specific issue facing the city or county.

The use of boards and commissions may provide advantages such as providing an in-depth examination of issues or a communication channel between elected officials and the community, bringing a broad range of ideas and expertise to public decision making, assisting in the resolution of conflicts, and providing training for new leaders. For additional discussion providing an overview, see:

Statutes Related to Boards and Commissions

Roles and Expectations of Boards and Commissions

  • Building Successful Advisory Boards Three articles reprinted from Quality Cities, Florida League of Cities, March/April 2004
    • Cooperative Achievement Elected Officials and Advisory Boards Work Together to Strengthen Their Cities, by Marilyn Crotty
    • Facilitation: A Key for Successful Advisory Boards and Committees, by Tom Taylor
    • How To Succeed with Advisory Boards, by Mandy Rogers
  • Olympia Advisory Committees Roles and Expectations

General Policies and Code Provisions

Procedures - Orientation Manuals

Review and Evaluation of Boards and Commissions

Links to Boards and Commissions Webpages

Need more information?

Feel free to Ask MRSC. Washington cities, counties, and our contract partners can call or email MRSC for more information and advice - free of charge.