Over the last 14 months, the Turlock City Arts Commission has only held 6 meetings due to their inability to achieve a quorum. The commission is down to 6 members out of a possible 25, with many of the vacancies open due to past members resigning to volunteer for the Carnegie Arts Center.
Due to the lack of meetings, the Commission has struggled greatly in fulfilling its charge of encouraging and promoting cultural enrichment for the City of Turlock.
At Tuesday’s City Council Meeting, the Council was presented with the possible disbandment of the Arts Commission altogether, due to the lack of achieving a quorum.
The Council rejected the staff suggestion to disband the commission and work solely with the nonprofit Carnegie Arts Center Foundation as a source to bring arts to the city.
Although the commission currently has 19 vacancies, and 6 active members, the commission needs only 4 participating members in order to achieve a quorum.
"We base our quorum on the number of active members," said Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Manager Allison Van Guilder. "So we need four."
Councilman Forrest White asked Van Guilder if the commission had been able to achieve the minimum of 4 regular participating members, in which Van Guilder replied “no.”
“Our concern when we talked privately was that they weren’t having a quorum, and my thought at the time was ‘Why don’t we lower the number of the quorum?” stated Councilman White. “A reasonable number of people that could participate, and if that group decides that they can’t do anything, then at least it’s an official motion.”
Lynn Sarielle, a teacher in the Turlock Unified School District and former commissioner, submitted an application to rejoin the commission. Sarielle spoke in favor of the commission to the Council.
“We need to revitalize the commission, but that can’t happen if the City does not support it,” explained Sarielle. “We do need your support.”
Councilwoman Amy Bublak, who brought up the issue originally in a previous meeting, apologized that an impression was given to terminate the commission.
“I’m extremely embarrassed that I put a fear factor out there,” stated Councilwoman Bublak. “My sole purpose in asking for this to be on the agenda was to get a standardized, small, achievable number of people and get things done and not have to postpone the meetings.”
“I think disbanding would be a terrible thing,” explained Councilwoman Bublak. “I was on the commission, and I would hate to see that part of history gone.”
Councilwoman Bublak then suggested lowering the number of seats to seven, with two alternates, similar to the makeup of the Planning Commission.
The council unanimously supported and approved Councilwoman Bublak’s suggestion.
“The commission needs more community involvement,” stated Councilman Forrest White. “If you know someone who wants to get involved, then it needs to get out there.”
To learn more about the Arts Commission, or to get involved, please visit http://www.ci.turlock.ca.us/citydepartments/parksrecreationfacilities/artscommission/
or call the Parks, Recreation and Facilities Office at (209) 668-5594, or send an email to Arts@turlock.ca.us