Last week’s meeting of Brookfield’s Playgrounds and Recreation Commission had to be canceled for lack of a quorum. That has been an all-too-frequent occurrence in recent months.

The recreation board, which is supposed to have five members, is now down to only three members. If one of the three can’t, for whatever reason, make it to a meeting, the meeting cannot be held because three members must be present for a quorum.

So Brookfield Village President Michael Garvey is on the lookout for some civic-minded members of the community who might want to serve on recreation board or on the village’s Special Events Committee, which is also short two members.

“We’re looking for people to serve on these commissions,” said Garvey, who has the power to appoint members to village commissions. “I hope to have one or two in the next week.”

Garvey said that residents who wish to be considered for appointment to the recreation board or the Special Events Committee should contact him.

However, judging from the discussion at a special joint meeting of the village board, the recreation board and the Special Events Committee held June 22, it appears that some members of those two bodies have felt ignored at times and frustrated over the last year.

At the meeting, Garvey admitted that the village board has not done a good job of communicating with those two bodies.

“This board has been guilty of not giving you specific instructions as to what is required to be done,” said Garvey. “Communication can get better and will get better.”

Some members of the recreation board and Special Events Committee expressed frustration that they couldn’t get budget information from the village and that their recommendations were not listened to. They wondered what their role was.

“I think that the frustration was that they weren’t necessarily getting issues from us to discuss, and they were kind of looking for things on their own because they’re ambitious and energetic people who want to do something for the village,” Garvey said.

Garvey said that it is important to for commission members to remember that they are serving on advisory bodies, and that the village board has the responsibility to make policy decisions.

“They’re an advisory commission to the village board, and we need to give them issues and feedback on the issues they’re discussing, because ultimately we make the call on practically every issue they talk about,” Garvey said.

William Heider, the village’s director of public works and recreation, said that the recreation board and Special Events Committee members need to understand their role in village government.

“They need to understand their role a little bit more,” Heider said. “They’re a recommending body, and they recommend things to the board of trustees and they’ll have the final say.”

Heider doubted that the village board has been ignoring the desires of the commission members.

“To my knowledge there hasn’t been a lot coming forward to the board for them to decide one way or the other,” Heider said.

Assistant Village Manager Keith Sbiral said that the joint meeting showed that communication must be improved.

“I think we saw from that meeting that having good open lines of communication is crucial to making sure that those committees and boards function efficiently and effectively to do what they need to do,” Sbiral said.

One member of the Special Events Committee said that she doubted that her committee was even needed, because Recreation Department staffer Arlene Rovner does a good job putting on special events.

“I think Arlene is more than capable of handling it all,” said Deborah Kenning.

Linda Hyerdall, who chairs the recreation board and also serves on the Special Events Committee, said she is confident that any problems can be ironed out.

“I feel very confident in the government of Brookfield that things will be resolved,” Hyerdall said.

Garvey said that the village board and village staff have been preoccupied with pressing budgetary matters this year and have not been able to devote time to recreation issues.

“Quite honestly, budget and union negotiations and layoffs have monopolized staff and board time,” Garvey said.

But Garvey said that he values the service of those who serve on advisory commissions.

“They provide an invaluable service to the village and a lot of times it’s unnoticed,” Garvey said.