By Brad Stager
Hillsborough County has been attracting people from all over the world ever since Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León paid a visit to the Tampa Bay area in 1513.
The global appeal of the region has resulted in one of the most diverse populations in the United States and the Hillsborough County Diversity Advisory Council (DAC) was created as a way of recognizing that and ensuring different perspectives are part of the county’s governmental operations.
The Hillsborough County Commission is seeking volunteers to serve on the DAC.
Members are appointed by the board of county commissioners (BOCC), and there are currently 13 openings on the 22-member council. Members serve two-year terms and represent one of 11 diverse communities the commission has identified as residing in the county.
The openings are as follows: African American (2); Far East Asian (1); Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (1); Hispanic/Latino (1); Indian Asian (2); Middle Eastern (1); Native American (2); Northern and Southern European (1); People with Disabilities (1); and At-Large (1)—whereby identification with a specific category is not required.
In addition to the above categories, there are two positions not needing applications at this time for representation from Caribbean residents.
The volunteer positions are unpaid.
According to Hillsborough County’s website, requirements include residency and voter registration in Hillsborough County. An essay of 200-500 words “highlighting what your goals would be as a member of the Diversity Advisory Council, and state why you are most suited to carry forth those goals,” is also required, as are completed Questionnaire for Diversity Advisory Council and Standards of Conduct forms, which are available on the county’s website. The forms must be filled out completely and signed. They can be emailed, faxed or mailed to the county.
Applications are due by close of business on Thursday, December 16. They can be mailed to: P. O. Box 1110, Tampa, FL, 33601; faxed to 239-3916; emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org; or delivered to county offices on the second floor of 601 E. Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa.
Luann Finley is the county’s director of board services and records, and she encourages residents to consider applying to the DAC.
“One of the most valuable resources of any government is the citizen who gets involved and works to help solve problems.”
To access forms or learn more about the DAC and other volunteer opportunities, visit hcflgov.net online.