Orange County Government, Florida
13 August 2014
Advisory Boards Play Vital Role in
Orange County Government
[Left to right] New Advisory Board members Bonnie Morales, Elizabeth Badillo, Jeffrey Plaugher,
Meredith Sasso, Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Genean McKinnon, Wilhemina Ford, Carmen Torres
and Marissa Salas gathered for an informal meet-and-greet.

Mayor Teresa Jacobs and members of her administration recently welcomed Orange County's newest Advisory Board members at an informal meet-and-greet and shared information on how local boards operate within the County.

“Volunteering on one of Orange County’s Advisory Boards provides a wonderful way for citizens to offer guidance and expertise on issues that directly impact their community, and to become engaged in our local government,” Mayor Jacobs said during the meeting. “Serving on one of our boards is an opportunity to do something for others, and allows our citizen leaders to give back to the community that they call home.”

Orange County boasts 55 different Advisory Boards with more than 400 local citizens serving as volunteers. The Orange County Board of County Commissioners appoints eligible local citizens to advisory boards, which are an essential part of the governmental process in Orange County and Central Florida.

Orange County citizen Bonnie Morales, who moved to the Lake Nona area last year from New York City, said her interest in homelessness issues and sustainable housing prompted her to apply for a volunteer position with Orange County’s Affordable Housing Advisory Board.

“I wanted to become more familiar with my community and I thought joining the board would help me assimilate better,” Morales said. “As a beneficiary of affordable housing in New York, I know that these programs work and can really help families.”

Orlando attorney Meredith Sasso said learning about and becoming more engaged in local government is the key to making a community your home.

“Supporting your community and giving back is very important,” said Sasso, who recently joined the Orange Blossom Trail Advisory Board. “I’ve always had an interest in the economy, economic development and creating a safe community to live. I think we have such a great future in Orange County and joining an advisory board can really make a positive difference.”

Citizens are encouraged to take an active role in their community. A current list of Advisory Board vacancies is available on Orange County’s website.

A collection of photos from the informal Advisory Board Orientation Meeting are available on Flickr for use by the media.