Mayor John Cooper has announced a new initiative to make it easier for Nashvillians to express interest to serve on Metro boards and commissions, and for the first time ever, will compile and reuse demographic data from those groups online.
Metro has launched an online portal that creates a streamlined and centrally located questionnaire process for Davidson County residents. The portal is part of a new internal data system designed to allow the Metro Government to better manage the 70+ active boards and commissions on which more than 680 residents actively serve the community. The new portal will be housed on the current Metro Nashville website at <Nashville.gov>.
The launch of the portal follows a recent report published by the Metro Clerk’s Office detailing selected demographics of those serving on the city’s boards and commissions as of October 1.
Key takeaways from this report reveal a tripling of Hispanic representation (to nearly five percent) and an increase of African American representation by 16% (to more than 28%) in one year from 2021– 22, the only period for which this information is available.
“Nashville owes much of our strength and success to the diversity of our residents, and it’s essential that members of Metro’s Boards and Commissions reflect the rich diversity of our neighborhoods,” said Mayor John Cooper. “By making it easier to fill out the questionnaire and adding this new layer of transparency, we will hold ourselves accountable and ensure the folks serving in these key roles are broadly representative of our community. A new, streamlined process will expand the pool of those interested in serving their community and making a difference for Nashville.”
“The implementation of this platform will not only make the Board and Commission appointment process more efficient for the Mayor’s Office and Metropolitan Clerk’s office. It will also offer a more comprehensive picture of the composition of each board through its reporting capabilities,” said Metro Clerk Austin Kyle. “Overall, this software will allow us to be more efficient and transparent.”
With the launch of the portal, comprehensive data collection (including member demographics) will be centrally collected, allowing real-time monitoring of board and commission diversity for the first time in Nashville history.
“Technology is an important tool to provide for transparency and thus facilitate accountability and diversity in Metro Government, and our IT vendor Granicus has been an important partner with Metro in these efforts for many years,” said Keith Durbin, director of Information Technology Services. “Granicus technology handles several of Metro’s platforms including Metro’s communication cloud, web-streaming services and short-term rental monitoring.”
In addition to easing the questionnaire process and improving management of interested residents, the overall appointment process will be modernized by automating processes like notifying Metro Government of upcoming seat vacancies in advance so that appointments can coincide with terms ending and gathering demographic information to allow for real-time monitoring of the diversity levels of each board and commission.
Mayor Cooper’s continuing efforts to increase diversity across government to reflect changes in the city begins in the Mayor’s Office, where people of color make up nearly 46% of his staff—making it the most diverse Mayor’s Office on record.