The city of Aurora has again been forced to fill a vacancy by creating a new one. Last month, City Councilor Brian Asher was the only applicant to take the position of mayor vacated by the resignation of Kris Taylor Sallee, which of course, created an opening on the City Council.
This week, that opening was filled by current Planning Commissioner John Berard, meaning the council is now at full strength, but the planning commission is a man down.
The decision to appoint Berard to Asher’s unexpired term was unanimous Tuesday night. Berard has been a resident of Aurora since 2014 and had served on the planning commission since January 2017. He has also served on the city’s historic review board.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Berard has done public relations work in New York, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco throughout his career. He currently consults business executives throughout the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean.
“My approach to communications is rooted in the idea that products, services, ideas, companies, institutions and individuals earn endorsements on the strength of who they are, what they deliver and how they affect the way people work and live,” Berard said.
Berard was a communications adviser to the San Francisco Food Bank and also served as a board member for that organization, as well as the Market Street Railway. That is a private support organization for the historic street cars in San Francisco.
While he was living in Washington D.C., Berard advised a crisis counseling service hotline in that city.
“One essential aspect of my approach is this: It is important to be a participant in the communities of which you are a part,” Berard said.
Since moving to Aurora, Berard has been a volunteer and contributor to the Colony Museum and managed the Colony Days parade for three years.
“These and other local experiences have given me a sharp sense of the views held by my fellow Aurorans and an appreciation of the challenges and opportunities the city faces,” Berard said. “I have a grasp of how the city’s resources can be deployed against its many tasks and of the continued need for volunteers to help complete the rest.”
Applicants are being sought to fill out the remainder of Berard’s term on the planning commission, which expires in January 2021.
Qualified candidates must be registered voters who have resided within city limits for at least six months. Responsibilities of the position include a willingness to serve on any committee that the commissioner is appointed to by the chair, having a vote on all questions before the commission, carrying out the body’s rules as they are outlined in the Aurora Municipal Code and a commitment to attending at least one meeting per month, which usually lasts about two and a half hours.
Interested applicants must submit a letter of interest along with a resume to City Hall no later than 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16, and should attend the Planning Commission meeting that is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 7, at 7 p.m. at City Hall. The commission will make its recommendation to the City Council, which will appoint a new commissioner at its Jan. 14 meeting.
Letters of interest and resumes can also be emailed to City Recorder W. Scott Jorgensen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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