|Abstract or Summary
- Despite their widespread use and presence at all levels of government, public commissions and boards are rarely given much attention, by the general public, academia, or surprisingly by public policy and agency experts. As a state infrastructure governing entity transportation commissions often deal with controversy, but do we really understand the roles and responsibilities of these important oversight mechanisms of typically massive state transportation agencies? And more importantly, do the usually volunteer members of these important policymaking and activity monitoring boards know what they are supposed to be doing? How would a transportation commission chair know her commission is carrying out their statutorily mandated duties in an efficient and effective way? To answer these questions, and to collect basic data about the current state of our transportation commissions nationally, this essay analyzes the time management practices of one state transportation commission, reviews existing literature on public and corporate governance, and considers the results of a nation-wide survey of state transportation commission administrative assistants. The results support the prevailing conclusion that there is a lack of literature on public commission government and that because of their often un-distinguished role in relation to the agency, a profound lack of independence and identity exists which ought to be corrected if the intent of these boards is to provide policy leadership and accountability to the citizens they represent and serve. By reconsidering how they run their regular meetings, focusing on the key agency-commission relationships, and devoting time to consider their own performance and expectations, transportation commissions can better assert themselves in their necessary public duty of ensuring efficient and effective government. This essay sheds light on the present condition of our transportation commissions and considers how transportation commissions ought to manage their time for effective public policy creation and oversight.