Community Advisory Councils - Community Engagement - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Community Advisory Councils

Example: Former Minneapolis Gas Works Site

Roles and Responsibilities


  • To ensure that the community's views and concerns about the former Minneapolis Gas works site cleanup are known to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and Minnegasco.
  • To enhance communication and involvement among Minnegasco, state and local officials, and the community.

Roles and Responsibilities

Council Member

  • Act as spokesperson for the Council to their community group/agency/company. For community representatives, this includes relating information from the Council meetings to your group and asking for their input and concerns. For the MPCA, MDH and Minnegasco representatives, this includes relaying information from the Council to agency/company management, as necessary.
  • Act as spokesperson for their group/agency/company to the Council. For community representatives, this includes expressing the concerns of their group in Council discussions and recommendations. MPCA, MDH and Minnegasco representatives will express the views of their agencies/company, but will not participate in the Council's recommendations.
  • The Minnegasco and MPCA Council members will alternate responsibility for taking notes and preparing draft summaries of Council meetings. Minnegasco and the MPCA will also alternate responsibility for preparing agendas for the meetings. Upcoming decisions will be listed in the meeting summaries and on the agendas. Within two weeks of the meeting, the draft summary will be mailed to Council representatives. Council representatives will bring their corrections of the summary to the following Council meeting. After correction, final copies of the meeting summary will be mailed to all Council members and other interested parties.
  • If a member cannot attend a Council meeting s/he will arrange to have the alternate attend and act as spokesperson for their group. If neither the representative or the alternate can attend a meeting, a substitute can be designated. However, for the substitute to be able to participate in the discussion and any Council recommendations, the community group's representative or alternate must notify Patty Pederson of Minnegasco or Emmy Reppe of the MPCA that a substitute will be attending in the representative's place.
  • If a community member resigns, the community group represented by that member will either appoint the alternate as the official member or select a new representative.
  • If a group currently not represented on the Council asks to be included, the Council representatives present at the time of the request will determine if the new group will be allowed to have representation at Council meetings.

Resource Members

Resource members are technical people who may have information of interest to the Council. They will make presentations at the request of the Council. They may attend the meetings and respond to requests for information; however, they will not participate in Council decisions or recommendations.

Other Interested Persons

Other people interested in the activities of the Council or site cleanup may attend Council meetings, but will not participate in Council discussions or recommendations. Anyone interested will receive copies of final meeting summaries.

Decision-Making Process

Upcoming decisions will be listed in the meeting summaries and on the agendas. If 50 percent of the Council representatives are in consensus on a recommendation, the Council's recommendation stands. If there is consensus, but less than 50 percent of the members present, the recommendation is binding unless it is reopened at the next meeting. The recommendation can be reopened by consensus.

From: Lessons from the Field: Real Strategies for Engaging and Informing the Public (8/2/2000).