The City Council appoints more than 90 community members to the various committees, commissions, boards and task forces. Currently, Arcata has two commissions, the Planning Commission and the Historic & Design Review Commission, that have decision-making authority and provide advice and/or recommendations to the Council. The Commissions’ decisions can be appealed to the City Council.

A staff liaison is appointed by the City Manager to assist each of the advisory bodies in carrying out their roles and to ensure compliance with protocol as defined by the following:

Relationship to the City Council

The City Council provides the commissions with general policy direction while allowing them the freedom to fully investigate issues.

The City Council schedules study sessions with each commission annually, when needed, or as requested in writing to the Mayor by the Chair. In addition, each commission is responsible for making an annual report to the City Council on its work activity.

Terms of Office

The term of office for Planning and Historic & Design Review Commissioners is four years.

Removal from Office

The City Council may remove commission members by a majority vote. In addition, Section 2204(C) of the Arcata Municipal Code requires automatic removal of a commissioner upon notification to the Council of four absences from regular meetings within a calendar year.

Chair and Vice-Chair

The Chair and Vice-chair of each commission are determined annually at the first regularly scheduled meeting of the fiscal year which begins July 1. 

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Training

There are numerous potential conflicts of interest that may require a commissioner to disqualify him or herself from participating in decision making. The Political Reform Act (P.R.A.) controls financial conflicts of interest of public officials and advisory bodies.

Commission members are required to obtain ethics training as outlined in California Government Code Section 53234, et seq. In addition, the City’s Municipal Code requires each member of a commission to submit a California Fair Political Practices Commission (F.P.P.C.)  Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700) when assuming office, when leaving office, and each year during their term of service. For more information and copies of F.P.P.C. forms, refer to the Conflict of Interest Provisions section of this website.