Following its approval in 2023, the city of Lacey has initiated the implementation of its stipend program for community members volunteering on the city’s advisory boards.
Lacey Assistant City Manager Shannon Kelley-Fong provided updates on the rollout during the Commission on Equity’s meeting on Tuesday, January 29.
“As part of this program, all advisory board members will remain volunteers and will not be considered employees of the city,” said Kelley-Fong.
The new program, under Resolution 1138, aims to offset the financial expenses of those participating in the city's advisory bodies, including costs for childcare, transportation, internet access, and other direct financial impacts.
“This is something that we've had multiple discussions on, as to how this could create barriers for community members to participate,” she detailed about the costs that keep people from participating.
The program applies to all the city's non-regional advisory boards.
Kelley-Fong stated that the program is designed to be an opt-in program. Survey forms will be sent to city-issued email addresses. The monetary incentive is capped at $500 per calendar year, with payments distributed on a per-meeting basis.
In October last year, Kelley-Fong mentioned that the fiscal impact of the new program is approximately $20,000 to $45,000, depending on the opt-in rate of advisory board members.
Alongside the stipend program, a “demographics survey” is also sent to members of advisory boards. The survey includes questions on racial identity, ethnic identity, disability, homeownership, and sexual orientation, among others.
Special Projects Administrator Kelly Adams explained that the purpose of the survey is to understand the people representing the community.
“We are collecting this information to identify missing perspectives in the community,” said Adams. “We are storing these responses separately from any personally identifiable data. This survey is anonymous, but highly encouraged.”
Once data is collected, Adams stated that it will be compared to national, state, and county data.
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