Get to know DC government: Advisory Neighborhood Commissions
This is a part of a series of explainers about local D.C. government and politics by District Wire. To begin, DW starts from the very bottom of elected government: Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.
What is an Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC)?
ANCs are the lowest rank of elected government in D.C. The city is divided into 41 ANCs and each ANC is further divided into single-member districts. Each single-member district has one ANC commissioner that represents approximately 2,000 residents in their neighborhood. Each ANC is composed of two to 12 single-member districts.
What does an ANC do?
ANCs deal with a broad range of nitty-gritty hyperlocal issues, and commissions will hold at least one public meeting a month, usually at a community center or school in the neighborhood. Some of their responsibilities include:
- Giving opinions on street improvements, economic development, liquor licenses, bicycle lanes and other neighborhood issues, which higher-ranked city officials or agencies may give great weight when making decisions
- Acting as liaisons between a neighborhood, City Hall and city agencies
- Working with the councilmember who covers their neighborhood to address constituent concerns
Is AU in an ANC?
Yes, the land occupied by AU’s main campus is a part of ANC 3D (see map above) and Tenleytown campus is a part of neighboring ANC 3E. AU junior Regina Monge was elected last November as the commissioner for 3D07, replacing AU senior Rory Slatko.
How are Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners elected?
Non-partisan elections are held every two years for commissioners. Many candidates have the luxury of running unopposed, while some ANC races can be incredibly close (last year two races ended in ties and had to be decided in a luck of the draw).
Are commissioners paid?
No. ANCs may receive money from the government to use on area improvements or hiring staff, but commissioners do not receive a salary.
Why do people want to become commissioners?
Many potential commissioners pursue a seat to become more engaged with their neighborhood. Some also see it as a starting point in public service. A number of current and former council members and mayors began their political careers by serving on an ANC. Notable ANC alumni include current Mayor Muriel Bowser (Ward 4), D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson (Ward 3) and a number of other local government officials.
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