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Work hours vary for volunteer councilors, planners

How many hours does a volunteer who serves on the Planning Commission or City Council spend each month on city issues?

—Craig H., Medford

I'm sure we could talk to every Medford councilor and planning commissioner and get varying estimates as to how many hours they spend on the job, Craig.

Over the years, we've heard that a councilor should expect to put in about 20 hours a week, which works out to 80 hours a month.

Councilor Michael Zarosinski,  said he probably averaged about six to eight hours a week when he was on the Planning Commission.

Now that he's on the council, Zarosinski said he probably puts in about 12-15 hours but sometimes puts in up to 20 some weeks. "You can put in a lot more depending on how engaged you wanted to be," he said. "You could even do this as a full-time job."

Zarosinski said there are other civic functions that a councilor could go to that might take up more time as well.

Bill Mansfield, a planning commissioner who was previously on the council, said he thinks 20 hours a week is more than what most councilors need to spend doing that job.

He said he probably spends up to 10 hours a month on the planning commission, which includes two two-hour meetings, sometimes a study session and then poring over a bunch of materials.

Mansfield said he's been reviewing city materials for a long time, so he's more familiar with them and can get through them faster.

"Some of my colleagues may say they spend more time," Mansfield said.

—Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.