A citizen committee will benefit from having access to the city’s professional staff who can help arrange and coordinate committee meetings, perform research and provide reports for the committee’s study, and handle media inquiries.
Often, it is helpful to appoint a staff member (city manager, city recorder, city attorney, department head, etc.) to serve as an official advisor to the committee.
Although it is important to make staff available to assist the committee, it also is important that staff members do not dominate the committee’s work. A staff member’s knowledge and expertise may be used to help inform the committee, but the purpose of a citizen committee is, after all, to provide a perspective that might not otherwise be available within the usual machinery of government. Staff should assist the committee but not run it.