Table of Contents
Boards and Commissions:
A board or commission is defined as a group of people elected or appointed to discharge collectively some public function. A commission is also referred to as a “certificate of office or a body of men to whom some public function has been entrusted.”
A board or commission is generally held desirable for the following:
(1) Those services which are of a quasi-judicial and quasi-legislative character, for example, public utility corporations which perform two principal functions, viz
- quasi-legislative formulation of rules and regulations for determining the rates and conditions of services.
- quasi-judicial decisions of judgments on issues affecting public and private rights arising under such rules and regulations.
(2) Those services whose duties call for the exercise of wide discretionary powers of general control, for example, a Public Service Commission.
(3) Organization in which different interests are to be represented, for example, a commodity promotion board or conciliation board for the settlement of labor disputes.
(4) Such institutions where attempts are made to eliminate or reduce to a minimum the factor of party politics in the conduct of its operations.”
(1) It gives an opportunity to the administration to secure the advice and services of the best lay competence in the community at almost no cost.
(2) It also tends to promote intelligent citizen cooperation and develop a sense of civil responsibility by enabling wider citizen participation in government.
(3) Boards have grown up in welfare and educational activities in response to demands that these activities be freed from the political interference of the general government.
(4) Commission gives an opportunity for representing different phases of opinion in the community.
(1) Theoretically, the board administration violates the distinction between government and politics, because through it politics is injected into the administration.
(2) It has been found that the personnel on boards or commissions have been, in many cases, rather mediocre, because while making appointments, authorities are concerned with either repaying political debts or in securing safe individuals.
(3) If anything goes wrong, it is impossible to fix responsibility. Action is slowed, down, and proper decisions are delayed or vitiated by compromise.
(4) As compared to a bureau, a board or commission type of organization is more expensive.
A board is a body of members who are required to act collectively. A commission is also a body of members, but it acts in two capacities. First, the members act collectively like those of a board; and secondly, each member also acts individually as head of a distinct branch of an organization. The common examples are those of a municipal board, and commission type organization of a local body as in the USA. According to Graves the term “commission” is to be used when the body is charged with important regulatory duties relating to public utility enterprise. Where the duties are primarily administrative or where, if regulatory in character, they relate to matters other than public utilities, the ‘board’ is in general use.
Composition of Boards and Commissions:
They may be composed of:
- Members serving full time and entitled to compensation like other similar government servants.
- Private members receive no compensation as they are required to give only a small part of their time.
- Ex-officio members, holding other offices.
- When duties are numerous part-time members should not be appointed. There are usually three to nine members. All the members may be appointed simultaneously for a fixed term normally of three to five years or, one-half, or one-third retiring, and new ones being appointed in their places every alternate year or so.