Citizen Engagement

The City of Syracuse's centralized site for all the ways you can engage with your neighborhood, community, and local government initiatives. Below you can find information on Advisory Boards, Commissions, and Committees along with their applications. You can also search upcoming neighborhood group meetings, and find organizations to volunteer with. You can also submit an application to be considered from this page.

Volunteer

  • Flexible
  • Low Commitment
  • Great Way to Connect with Neighbors
  • No Application Process to Participate

Boards

  • Very Structured
  • Longer-Term Commitment
  • Requires a Formal Application and Appointment from Mayor
  • Terms Governed By City of Syracuse Charter; Must Be Sworn-In
  • Requires City Residency

Appointments

  • Structured
  • Medium-Long Term Commitment
  • Terms Governed By Nonprofit By-Laws
  • Requires Application and Appointment from Mayor

 

Volunteer with the City

There are several city programs that need and want volunteers. These are often event-based volunteer opportunities or regular community meetings held in publicly accessible spaces. 

Adopt-a-Block

The Adopt-a-Block program makes city beautification a yearlong, citywide community effort. Individuals, organizations, schools, and businesses can volunteer to regularly cleanup a chosen area. You can join the efforts by getting a group of friends, neighbors, or coworkers together to do a cleanup! The City provides email updates, educational workshops, and more to support your work.

Adopt-a-Block works with Onondaga County’s Save the Rain program and OCRRA to reduce litter in Onondaga County. The goal is to stop trash from entering waterways, and to make communities litter-free.
 

Go to the main Adopt-a-Block webpage here.

Neighborhood Watch

Neighborhood Watch Groups of Syracuse (NWGS) is a not for profit organization formed in 1988. NWGS is one of the oldest organizations working to help reduce crime and quality-of-life concerns. NWGS works with the Syracuse Police Department, Federal agencies, the Mayor's Office, Common Council, and Code Enforcement, as well as other City and County Departments. We use a "Small Meeting Concept" to teach residents how to be the "Eyes and Ears" for their community.

The Neighborhood Watch Groups of Syracuse's website can be found here.

Their calendar of meetings (including times and meeting locations) can be found here.

Tomorrow's Neighborhoods Today

TNT stands for Tomorrow’s Neighborhoods Today, a forward-looking collaboration that brings together many different neighborhood stakeholders to make each neighborhood in Syracuse a better place to live. 

TNT is a 501c3 Charitable organization that is directed by a 16 member Board of Directors. The Board is comprised of 2 Board members from each Neighborhood sector.  There are 8 Sectors; these include Downtown, Westside, Southside, Valley, Eastside, Eastwood, Northside and Lakefront.

TNT sector groups comprises individuals, residents, professionals and officials who recognize and understand the varied aspects of each unique neighborhood within Syracuse. Using respectful dialogue, we work together to identify key issues, and problem solve by means of our network of resources.

TNT identifies and builds upon community assets, and develops workable plans and priorities for our neighborhoods. The plans direct resources in the most important areas in the most cost-effective ways. This process strengthens the democracy that is critical for a healthy city, improves the quality of life in our city, and builds the capacity for our city to solve problems and create a desirable future.

Find out more about Tomorrow's Neighborhoods Today here.

 

 

Boards and Commissions

The city manages several governmental units that have a reporting responsibility. These boards and commissions report out their meetings, make decisions independently, and make decisions about tax payer dollars. These are considered "public meetings" because they are broadcast on YouTube and they have an elevated obligation to meet public transparency requirements.

Current Vacancies

Please find below opportunities to serve on the accompanying boards, commissions, and committees.
You can find the application for these positions here.

  • Syracuse Public Arts Commission (SPAC)

 

Board of Assessment Review (BAR)

The Board of Assessment Review (BAR) is a 4-5 member board of officers appointed by the City Council. The board has the responsibility to administratively listen to the grievances of property tax owners who feel their assessments are unequal, excessive or unlawful, or that their property is misclassified. The Board has ability to review exempt status and reduce assessments for good cause.  

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
 5

Must be a City Resident

$100/Session n/a  Frequency dependent on grievances filed - runs from February to March annually

Board of Ethics

The Board of Ethics is authorized under NY General Municipal Law and Local Law to render advisory opinions to officers and employees of the City of Syracuse with respect to the City’s code of ethics and required financial disclosure. The Board may also prescribe rules and regulations with respect to the rendering of its opinions. Currently the City’s Code of Ethics contains general prohibitions regarding self-dealing; disclosure of conflicts of interest; recusals based on conflicts; post-employment representation; gifts; management of confidential information; and compensation for outside services.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
 2 The board is compromised of five members, one of whom must be an employee of the City No n/a  

Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA)

Authority includes Use Variances, Area Variances, Interpretations, and Exceptions. See https://dos.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2021/09/zoning-board-appeals-.pdf. Also see Part A, Section II, Article 5 of the City of Syracuse Zoning Rules and Regulations, as amended.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
 3 Must be a City Resident $75 per meeting n/a Every three weeks

Joint School Construction Board (JSCB)

Syracuse's Joint School Construction Board was created by special legislation by New York State in 2006. Legislation is required due to New York State regulations pertaining to municipal financing and borrowing. Multiple phases of construction were anticipated to renovate all schools.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
 n/a Must be a City Resident No n/a  

Landmark Preservation Board (LPB)

Authorized by the City of Syracuse Zoning Ordinance (Part C Section VII) to regulate any material change in appearance to any property that is in a Local Preservation District (e.g., Sedgwick) or that has been designated a Local Protected Site (e.g., City Hall). The Board reviews demolition proposals for any property that may be eligible for historic designation. The Board also recommends to the City Planning Commission the designation of Local Protected Sites and Local Preservation Districts. The Board is composed of nine members, all of whom are appointed by the Mayor. Two members are nominated by the American Institute of Architects, one member is nominated by the Real Estate Board, one member is nominated by the Preservation Association of Central New York, one member is nominated by the Onondaga Historical Association, and one member is nominated by the Conservation Advisory Council. Three members are "at-large" appointments.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
 3 Must be a City Resident No Members shall serve for three-year terms, except that of the members first appointed under these provisions, one-third shall be appointed to a two-year term and one-third shall be appointed to a one-year term. Members may serve for more than one term and each member shall serve until the appointment of a successor. Bi-weekly 

Planning Commission

There are several local laws regarding the Planning Commission as all as several provisions within the City Charter. In general, they prepare and maintain a comprehensive development plan for the City and all land within three miles of the boundaries of the City, pursuant to the City of Syracuse Zoning Rules and Regulations, as amended they make recommendations to the Mayor and Common Council, make decisions on all applicable zoning matters new streets, proposed widening, extending or discontinuing of streets, prepare a comprehensive plan, zoning ordinance and official zoning map, make decisions on subdivisions within three miles of the City.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
 5 Must be a City Resident; no more than 3 members can be of one political party No n/a Every three weeks

Syracuse Economic Development Corporation (SEDCo)

The board of directors shall manage the business and affairs of the corporation and make the necessary rules and regulations not inconsistent with law or these by-laws for the management of the business and the guidance of officers/employees/agents of this corporation. Execute direct oversight of the executive director and other senior management in the effective/ethical management of the corporation; understand review and monitor the implementation of financial management controls and operational decisions; participate in state-approved training within one year of appointment and continue training as required; approve every financial report submitted for the corporation.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
 n/a Must be a City Resident No n/a Bi-monthly

Syracuse Public Arts Commission (SPAC)

Facilitates and encourages public art through a streamlined application and review process.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
 2 Must be a City Resident N n/a Bi-monthly

Syracuse Urban Renewal Agency (SURA)

The Syracuse Urban Renewal Agency (SURA) is a public benefit corporation formed to facilitate the sale and rehabilitation of underutilized and/or tax delinquent land and buildings in the SURA area. The SURA area includes the Syracuse neighborhoods of Washington Square, Northside, Lincoln Hill, Near Eastside, Hawley Green, Prospect Hill, Park Ave, Near Westside, Skunk City, Southwest, Southside, Brighton and part of Elmwood (see map below).

SURA’s mission is to acquire and dispose of properties in a fashion that is consistent with the identified needs of the neighborhood residents for better housing, commercial services, recreational facilities, employment opportunities, and, when appropriate, demolition of properties that in their current form discourage investment and advance the further deterioration of neighborhoods.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
 n/a Must be a City Resident No No Monthly

 

 

Mayoral Appointments

The mayor of the City of Syracuse supports the work of nonprofit organizations, city partners, and regulatory groups across the city's jurisdiction by making appointments to these various boards. These appoints are ideal for residents from various walks of life with lived experience, professional experience, and/or knowledge of the material pertinent to each board. These meetings are not publicly advertised and although are closed to the public, often these organizations report out annually on their websites or through required annual reports. 

Current Vacancies

Please find below opportunities to serve on the accompanying boards, commissions, and committees.
You can find the application for these positions here.

  • Aging Services Advisory Board (ASAB)
  • Board of Electrical Examiners
  • Board of Elevator Examiners
  • Board of Mechanical Examiners
  • Land Bank Citizens Advisory Board
  • Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency (OCRRA)
  • Syracuse/Onondaga Human Rights Commission (HRC)

 

 

Board of Electrical Examiners

Responsible for the establishment and maintenance of a City licensing system for electricians. They establish the minimum qualifications, review and approve applicants for any City Electrician's License. Responsible for conducting hearings to investigate alleged deviations from this code's requirements, and for continuous review, revision, and interpretation of the Code.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
n/a No n/a As Needed

Board of Mechanical Examiners

Responsible for the establishment and maintenance of a City licensing system for mechanical engineers. They establish the minimum qualifications, review and approve applicants for any City License. Responsible for conducting hearings to investigate alleged deviations from this code's requirements, and for continuous review, revision, and interpretation of the Code.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
 4 n/a No n/a As Needed

Board of Elevator Examiners

Responsible for the establishment and maintenance of a City licensing system for elevator examiners. They establish the minimum qualifications, review and approve applicants for any City License. Responsible for conducting hearings to investigate alleged deviations from this code's requirements, and for continuous review, revision, and interpretation of the Code.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
4 n/a No n/a As Needed

Aging Services Advisory Board (ASAB)

Planning environmental and personal services to meet the needs of the senior population through the evaluation of services and identification of major problems affecting the elderly.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
   

Citizen's Review Board (CRB)

The Citizen Review Board (CRB) was established to ensure an open citizen-controlled process for reviewing grievances involving members of the Syracuse Police Department. The CRB works to provide: 1 Public accountability over the powers exercised by members of the Syracuse Police Department 2 Preservation of the integrity of the Syracuse Police Department 3 A forum for citizen complaints regarding members of the Syracuse Police Department to be heard and reviewed fairly and impartially.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
 3 Must be a City Resident Not for sessions; pertinent educational classes are covered Staggered; may be reappointed for another three year term, after which the member shall not be reappointed for at least one year Monthly

CNY Works Board

Our dedicated Board of Directors represent diverse industries including: business, education, organized labor, government, employment & training, economic development and community-based organizations.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
 2 Must be a City Resident No No  

Crouse-Marshall Business Improvement District

The fundamental roles of the CMBID is to establish strategic direction for the CMBID district, to oversee the operations of the CMBID, to propose an annual budget to the Mayor and Common Council, and to ensure that the district is clean and safe by operating programs in environmental maintenance, security, marketing, and undertaking capital repairs and improvements.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
 3 Must be a City Resident No No Bi-Monthly

Downtown Committee

Board members manage the business and affairs of the organization, setting the strategic direction. Each January the Board also prepares and recommends a district budget to the Mayor.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
 4 Must be a Property Owner in the Downtown Special Assessment District No No Monthly

Everson Museum Board

 

 

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
 Must be a City Resident  

Justice Center Oversight Committee (JCOC)

Authorized to review serious complaints and incidents that involve the Onondaga County Jail (known as the Justice Center). The Committee was also authorized to generate related recommendations about Justice Center policy, procedure and training. The Justice Center Oversight Committee transmits its recommendations to the Sheriff, the County Executive, and to key leaders of the County Legislature, in order to assist them in preventing future incidents within the Justice Center.  These recommendations only address Justice Center policy, procedure and training; the JCOC does not make recommendations related to discipline of jail staff.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
Must be a City Resident No 2 years Monthly

Land Bank Board of Directors

Addresses the problems of vacant, abandoned, or tax delinquent property in the City of Syracuse and the County of Onondaga in a coordinated manner through the acquisition of real property pursuant to New York Not-for-Profit Corporations Law section 1608. The goal is to return that property to productive use in order to strengthen the economy, improve the quality of life, and improve the financial condition of the municipalities, through the use of the powers and tools granted to Land Banks by the Laws of the State of New York.

 

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
 2 Must be a City Resident No 2 terms Monthly

Land Bank Citizens Advisory Board

Addresses the problems of vacant, abandoned, or tax delinquent property in the City of Syracuse and the County of Onondaga in a coordinated manner through the acquisition of real property pursuant to New York Not-for-Profit Corporations Law section 1608. The goal is to return that property to productive use in order to strengthen the economy, improve the quality of life, and improve the financial condition of the municipalities, through the use of the powers and tools granted to Land Banks by the Laws of the State of New York.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
 2 Must be a City Resident  No 2 terms Monthly

Model Neighborhood Facility Inc.

 

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
  Must be a City Resident No Directors may not serve more than 2 consecutive terms 9 annual meetings, not including special meetings

Myrtle Hill Board of Trustees

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
 10 Must be a City Resident  No  

Onondaga County Executive Veterans Advisory Board (OCEVAB)

Operates as an informal advisory group to provide two-way communication between the County Executive and the local veteran community concerning policy issues impacting the rights, interests and needs of constituent veterans.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
2 Must be a City Resident No No 4 meetings a year, not including special meetings

Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency (OCRRA)

OCRRA’s Board of Directors is made up of respected community leaders who have been appointed by various elected county and city officials. Representing the entire community, they’re always advocating for the environmental interests of their neighbors.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
 3 Must be a City Resident No 2 terms, board can make exceptions Twice monthly: board meeting, plus committee meeting

Onondaga County Youth Board (OCYB)

Advises the County Executive and Director of the Division of Youth on the programs, policies and procedures of the Division. The Board also assists in the procurement of federal and state funds, or funds from private sources, implements the division’s programs, and prepares and submits to the Director an annual report.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
 3 Must be a City Resident No Dependent on various factors 6 times a year

Syracuse Housing Authority (SHA)

The Syracuse Housing Authority Board of Commissioners is comprised of a group of seven individuals. The Mayor appoints five board members, and the public housing residents elect two board members from the tenant population of all SHA developments. All members serve unpaid. Appointed members of the board serve for five years, while elected members serve for two years.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
Must be a City Resident No n/a Monthly

Syracuse Industrial Development Agency (SIDA)

It is the mission of SIDA to enhance the City of Syracuse’s economic development capabilities by promoting, attracting, encouraging and developing recreation and economically sound commerce and industry to: advance the job opportunities, health, general prosperity and economic welfare of the people of the City of Syracuse; improve their recreation opportunities, prosperity and standard of living; and, prevent unemployment and economic deterioration. SIDA will achieve this mission by providing a variety of financial incentives to projects, including exemptions from property, sales, use and mortgage recording taxes, grants, and bond financing. SIDA conveys benefits in a strategic, consistent and transparent manner based on the City of Syracuse’s collective economic development priorities.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
n/a  Must be a City Resident No Mayor's Discretion Staggered

Syracuse Regional Airport Authority (SRAA)

The Syracuse Regional Airport Authority serves Upstate New York, providing a safe, convenient, seamless passenger experience while enhancing economic opportunity, development, and growth in the region.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
 2 Must be a City Resident No n/a  

Syracuse/Onondaga Human Rights Commission (HRC)

Foster the growth and development of County in the area of human relations, and to create a climate in which citizens of all races, creeds, and political beliefs can understand and respect each other.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
Must be a City Resident No 2 Monthly

Quality of Life Commission

Address issues in communities such as beautification, ordinance enforcement, and nuisance crimes.

Term Years
Residency Requirement
Compensation
Term Limits
When They Meet
Must be a City Resident No n/a 4 times a year