Alachua County and Gainesville have open positions for citizens wanting to get involved in their communities through dozens of citizen advisory boards.
Alachua County has 35 committees with 289 total positions, and Gainesville has 19 boards with only city members. Both have vacancies that require applicants to simply live within the city or county.
Some positions require expertise, reserved for lawyers, doctors, or realtors. The time commitment also varies per board with most meeting monthly.
Assistant County Manager Gina Peebles said the workload changes. During Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meetings, the commission regularly refers items to a board for consideration and input.
Peebles said that might require more hours than when the board has only its standard slate of items.
“The Board of County Commissioners really relies on our citizen’s oversight and advisory boards on their input and expertise on just a variety of issues,” Peebles said. “And so, it’s critical.”
Right now, Alachua County has 98 vacancies. But the number changes almost every two weeks as the BOCC appoints new members. Those vacancies also include the 8-member Equity Advisory Council which hasn’t yet opened to applicants.
Since August 2021, when Mainstreet last ran the vacancy numbers, the county has added new boards, including the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee approved in 2022.
“It really is based on your passion, your interest,” Peebles said. “We have advisory boards for financially related type of topics to our recently implemented Animal Welfare Advisory Board. So, there really is something for everybody.”
Citizens interested in joining a board can browse the options online and find descriptions of the boards, lists of board members and schedules.
Peebles said the county webpage would soon switch software to make the information easier to access.
The city of Gainesville follows the same overall structure and has 11 vacancies across 19 boards that only conduct city business. The city also elects citizens for joint board with other entities like the county.
Kristen Bryant, executive assistant at the city, said the number fluctuates. The city reserves seats for university students, and when semesters end and begin, Bryant said student turnover jumps.
You can find a full list of positions and vacancies here on the city of Gainesville’s website.