I think my predilection for joining committees has really gone too far this time. Although I recently gave up my position as Secretary of Chesterton Rowing Club, as I am no longer a member, the most recent position I've taken on is the biggest and most responsible yet.
Our little backwater of a river (congested as it is) is run by a separate navigation authority, the Conservators of the River Cam. There are a number of staff (a River Manager, her Assistant, Foreman, several workmen, Bailiff and Seasonal Bailiff) but the decisions about how the river is actually run are made by a board of Conservators, who give instructions to these staff.
The Conservators are appointed by several different bodies: two are appointed by the Environment Agency, three by the University of Cambridge,and the rest are appointed by the City Council. Three of the City Council Conservators are Councillors, and the other four are members of the public.
In June, it was announced that the City Council was requesting applications from members of the public to fill those four positions. For a while, one of the boaters, LP, has been on the Conservancy, but he planned to resign at the end of 2012. Thus, a vacancy arose. The Camboaters committee felt that it was important to have a Conservator who was a boater. It soon became clear that I was the most likely candidate for this - as a graduate student my hours are flexible so could make the daytime meetings and I have a good knowledge of river-based goings on. I duly submitted my application in the Summer. Twenty-four others also applied for the four positions. A week or so ago I found that mine was one of the four chosen by the Council's Environment Scrutiny Committee for approval by the full Council later in the week. This was just a formality, and the full Council passed all four without discussion.
So, in January, I will take my seat at the Conservancy meeting not as a mere Observer, but as a Conservator of the River Cam. I'll be the only female Conservator and also the youngest by some way. Gulp.
I should probably add that all opinions posted here in my personal blog are my own, and not those of the Conservancy!
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