Council members are regularly appointed to advisory committees which council or the mayor has established to provide recommendations on a specific topic or area. When council members are appointed to a committee, and this isn’t always the case, they are appointed either as voting or non-voting members. In some cases the make-up of a committee is predetermined by legislation, but most times it’s the Clerk, City Manager or other staff who recommend the make-up of the committee and its terms of reference. When running smoothly, an advisory committee can be a shining example of democracy and public participation at its finest. But when things go wrong they can be a public relations nightmare and undermine the public’s trust in a local government and it’s elected officials.