Volunteer Opportunities

COMMISSION ON DISABILITIES

The Needham Commission on Disabilities consists of nine volunteer members appointed by the Select Board to address the needs and concerns of residents with disabilities. Monthly meetings are held the third Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. (excluding July, August and December) at the Needham Public Library Community Room.  The general purpose of the Commission is to:  (a) advise municipal officials, public and private agencies, and other individuals in order to ensure compliance with Federal, State, and Local disability laws, particularly the Americans with Disabilities Act (A.D.A.); (b) promote full integration of persons with disabilities into the community; (c) provide information, referrals, and technical assistance to individuals, businesses, and organizations in all matters pertaining to disability issues; and (d) participate in a variety of forums and media events to develop public awareness of persons with disabilities and encourage compliance with the A.D.A.  The Commission on Disabilities also provides grants to community based organizations to make it possible for persons with disabilities to participate more fully in programs and activities within Needham.

The majority of members for this Commission should be filled by people with disabilities.  The successful candidate may want to participate in a one day training offered by the MA Office on Disabilities to learn how to evaluate accessibility in buildings and parking lots for ADA compliance.

COUNCIL ON AGING 

The Council on Aging is the Town’s general advisory board for matters affecting elders, and works directly with department staff and other town agencies on a wide range of programs and issues.   The responsibilities of this Board include (1) To assist in identifying the needs and concerns and strengths of Needham’s elderly and retired persons and those approaching retirement age; (2) To assist in designing, promoting, coordinating or implementing services and programs to meet those needs and concerns; (3) To assist in informing the community and enlisting the support and participation of all citizens in this effort; and (4) To work in coordination with programs of the Executive Office of Elder Affairs of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Ideally candidates would have a connection to the Veteran community.  Committee meetings are at least monthly from September through June, and more often as necessary.  Membership terms are for three years.

CULTURAL COUNCIL (multiple vacancies)

The Needham Cultural Council (NCC) is a group of Needham residents whose purpose is to support community-based projects and activities in the performing and visual arts, humanities and interpretive sciences to benefit the residents of Needham. The Council is appointed by the Select Board to dispense public funding allocated by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), a state agency, and are responsible for informing the public about the availability of public funding (grants) for cultural projects and for reviewing and approving applications. The budget of the MCC is determined annually by the state legislature.

Residents who would like to get involved in the community by supporting the visual and performing arts and would like to work with others to bring such cultural events to the town of Needham are encouraged to apply these vacancies. Event planning and fund raising experience is helpful but not required. Meetings are generally held once a month in the evening. Members are appointed for a three-year term.

MBTA ADVISORY BOARD
The MBTA Advisory Board is comprised of members (either chief elected officials or their designee) of each of the 175 cities and towns in the district.  This representative of the Select Board will serve as Needham’s voting member to the MBTA Advisory Board.  The Advisory Board mandate includes, but is not limited to, the following:  provide public oversight of MBTA expenditure through a rigorous, MassDOT Board policy-mandated review of MBTA annual operating budget, review, advise, and confer with local leaders on the MBTA multi-year capital budget, consult with the Authority to create mechanisms for ensuring reliable, high-quality and cost-effective operations and implementing service quality standards (Chapter 161A, Section 5p) and consult with the Authority to maximize revenues, ridership growth and transit oriented development.  This is a three-year appointment.  Candidates for this appointment must be able to attend monthly meetings.  Meetings are held once a month, in Boston, usually around 10:00 a.m.  

PROPERTY TAX ASSISTANCE COMMITTEE (two vacancies)

The Select Board is looking for two citizens to serve on this committee of which the Town Treasurer/Tax Collector is also a member.   This Committee reviews the suggested eligibility criteria for the Property Tax Assistance Committee and make recommendations for any changes to the Select Board for its review and approval.  The funds are distributed on the basis of need, as determined by the Committee’s interpretation of the eligibility guidelines.  

TAXATION AID COMMITTEE (two vacancies)

The Taxation Aid Program is overseen by a five member board consisting of the chair of the Board of Assessors or designee, the town treasurer or designee, and three citizens appointed by the Select Board.  The Taxation Aid Committee meets twice a year.

Chapter 166 of the Acts of 1998 authorizes cities and towns to establish a fund for the purpose of accepting donations for property tax relief for certain seniors and disabled taxpayers. The acceptance of this statute allows the tax collector to include with the tax bill an enclosure explaining how donations could be made to the fund. The committee is charged with the review of applications and distribution of funds.

TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE

The role of the Traffic Management Advisory Committee (TMAC) is to evaluate and make recommendations to the Select Board about public education, enforcement, and improvement of the safety of  the public ways in  Needham for vehicle, pedestrian, and bicycling traffic.  The goal is to provide for the safety of pedestrians, motorists and bicyclists.  

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to the review of existing policies and procedures to ensure effective communication, coordination, and continuation of sound traffic and transportation programs; the recommendation of new approaches that will correct or ameliorate existing problems; the monitoring of the effectiveness of changes or modifications, and share evaluations with the Select Board; to provide a forum for citizen groups and individuals to seek input on pedestrian, motoring, or bicycling traffic issues; and the recommendation to the Select Board proposals for implementing significant changes to existing programs needing policy, procedural, and/or budgetary action.

The Traffic Management Advisory Committee is comprised of the Town Manager or designee; Police Chief or designee; Town Engineer; and six (6) residents, with at least one possessing familiarity with traffic engineering whenever practical or feasible.  

This committee meets monthly to hear from town staff and residents, and reviews and makes recommendations regarding both neighborhood and townwide traffic issues.

WATER AND SEWER RATE STRUCTURE COMMITTEE

This Committee annually reviews the block rate structure and makes a recommendation to the Select Board. Qualified candidates would have previous experience or interest in public utilities and how rate structures work. This Committee meets several times each year. Membership terms are for three years.

With respect to all of the above vacancies, interested residents are requested to submit a brief letter of interest, summary of relevant experience, and contact information. Applications may be submitted in writing or by email, or may be completed online at: www.needhamma.gov/committeeform.   Vacancies may remain open until a suitable candidate has been appointed.


Applications, or any questions or requests for information, may be submitted to:

Needham Select Board, Attn: Ms. Sandy Cincotta, Needham Town Hall, 1471 Highland Avenue, Needham, MA 02492 Tel: 781-455-7500 Email: scincotta@needhamma.gov