Article Features Kyra Ross

Join a League Policy Committee and Make Your Voice Heard

Kyra Ross is a legislative representative for the League and can be reached at

The strength of the League’s lobbying efforts lies in the participation of our members, who help shape our policy and advocate with us at the state and federal levels to protect city interests. The League could not be as effective without the voices of city officials throughout California. These members strive to make their cities stronger by working in concert with their colleagues on issues that impact local communities.

The League’s policy committees play an integral role in the League’s decision-making process and influence on statewide policy affecting cities. The committees meet up to four times per year. The eight policy committees comprise a total of more than 400 elected and appointed city officials who lend their expertise and their city’s perspective in addressing the substantive issues confronting cities. This work culminates each year at the League’s Annual Conference, where the committees examine resolutions submitted for consideration by the League’s General Assembly and make recommendations.

Joining a policy committee is one of the easiest and most effective ways to get involved in the League. If you are considering joining a policy committee, early fall is the time to seek an appointment as committee membership for the upcoming year is typically finalized by late fall. Elected officials must constitute the majority of each committee, but the committees also include representatives from city staff, League Partners and affiliates.

Division and Department Appointments

Each committee includes one representative appointed by each professional department (such as city attorneys, city managers and so on) and two representatives appointed by each regional division. These appointees represent their department or division on the committee and keep officers and members of their department or division informed of committee work programs and policy considerations. Contact your division president if you are interested in representing your division. For consideration to represent your department, contact your department president.

Presidential Appointments

The League president may make up to 16 appointments to each committee to ensure that each committee is balanced in its composition, representing member cities geographically and by size, as well as to ensure that mayors and council members constitute a majority of each committee. City officials interested in a presidential appointment should submit a written request for a specific policy committee and a brief, personal background statement. Requests must be submitted by Nov. 9 to Meg Desmond, legislative and policy development secretary; email: Appointments are made in late November.

League Partner Appointments

The League Partners’ Executive Committee appoints two nonvoting representatives to each committee.

Affiliate Appointments

Several statewide associations have been granted affiliate status with the League, including the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers, the California Association of Public Information Officials and others. Some affiliate organizations may designate one representative to each of the eight policy committees; other affiliate organizations designate a representative only to those committees pertinent to their organization. Certain affiliates may designate a representative but have nonvoting status; these include organizations such as the California Association of Councils of Government, California Building Officials, California Public Employers Labor Relations Association, California Teachers Association and others. 

The Policy Committees and Their Issue Areas

Administrative Services: election law and administration, insurance and tort reform, open meeting law (the Brown Act), the Public Records Act, the Political Reform Act and other conflict-of-interest laws, and regulation of smoking and tobacco products.

Community Services: child care, parks and recreation, libraries, cultural arts and community and human services programs.

Employee Relations: human resources management, including employee and labor relations, retirement and workers’ compensation issues.

Environmental Quality: air and water quality, integrated waste management, hazardous materials, coastal issues, noise pollution, utilities, energy and the California Environmental Quality Act.

Housing, Community and Economic Development: building regulations and code enforcement, community and economic development, urban renewal, housing, planning, zoning, incorporation, annexation and redevelopment.

Public Safety: law enforcement, fire and life safety policies including emergency communications, and emergency services including ambulance and disaster preparedness, nuisance abatement and Indian gaming.

Revenue and Taxation: finance administration, taxation reform, revenue needs and revenue sources at the federal, state and local levels.

Transportation, Communication and Public Works: transportation funding, construction, public works, telecommunications and related areas.

This article appears in the September 2012 issue of Western City
Did you like what you read here? Subscribe to Western City