The village of McFarland is seeking residents to help shape the community.

The board of zoning appeals and the volunteer committee are both seeking community volunteers to join the committees.

“What we look for are people who are willing to serve and excited to be the voices that help shape village government,” said Village Clerk and Treasurer Cassandra Suettinger.

Committees review weekly agenda materials and show up prepared to discuss the agenda items.

The board of zoning appeals is seeking one or two residents to hear and make decisions on requests for variances to building, zoning and sign code ordinances. They also interpret and apply building codes to determine appeals of administrative decisions. The board meets when needed.

The volunteer committee has two vacancies. The committee oversees the administration, operation and programming of the village’s volunteer program and advises the village board to encourage volunteerism. They meet at 6 p.m. the first Thursday of each month.

“We have a lot of citizen members that help shape the community and that’s what good government should do,” Suettinger said.

Ella Tschopik has been a member of the communications and technology committee for more than two years.

“It’s been really interesting to see how local government works,” Tschopik said. “I’ve gotten kind of a view of both employees of the village and elected officials.”

She said most of the work the committee oversees regards communication, but she has found her background working in information technology has helped her as a member.

“On the tech side, I’ll be able to ask directed questions,” Tschopik said.

She has a knowledge of internet speeds, back-up data and technology updates she can apply to her role. She can also help those on the board who do not have a background in communications or technology.

The village does not have a set of criteria for any committee member, but a person’s work history may guide which committee they join. For example, individuals with backgrounds in engineering, realty and planning would be a good fit for the zoning board of appeals.

“I think the challenge for a lot of people in today’s day and age is finding the time,” Suettinger said.

Volunteers have the opportunity to advocate for the community, but they can also face personal dilemmas.

“Certain committees sometimes have to make challenging decisions and put aside personal relationships to make a decision based on ordinances and the rules they have before them,” Suettinger said. “But I think most people feel well supported by staff and other committee members.”

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