Our advisory boards have a missing ingredient. It’s you! And you’re baking soda. This cake isn’t the same without you. This metaphor may have fallen apart a bit (like a cake without baking soda), but the idea remains the same: there’s a spot for you on one of the County’s 45(ish) advisory boards and commissions. Our County Clerk will show you the way.

What are Advisory Boards?

Good question! First, advisory boards and commissions are essentially the same thing. So rather than use them interchangeably, we’ll just stick with advisory boards. As our website explains, they provide “an opportunity for public input in the decision-making process.” Simply, advisory boards are one way you can share your opinions and expertise with the Board of County Commissioners.

The County has about 45 advisory boards. I know what you’re thinking. Why “about” 45? Some go inactive until the year before they’re needed, like the Zoning Board of Adjustments. Some advisory boards are required by state law.

What’s the Process?

People come to serve on an advisory board in a variety of ways. Your first step is making sure you’re eligible. You must be a resident of Mecklenburg County to serve. Generally, you can only serve on one board at a time. If eligible, the Clerk’s Office checks your availability and vacancies. Then they gather all information and bring it before the Board. Members must be nominated or appointed by the Board. Some boards require you to have special skills. Enter the vacancies.

Why are There Advisory Board Vacancies?

Air Quality Commission standing in front of the air quality learning station with members of the Board of County Commissioners and County staff
Air Quality Commission with members of the Board of County Commissioners and County staff in April 2022

Some advisory boards are difficult to fill like the Nursing Home Care and Adult Care Home advisory boards. Kristine M. Smith, Clerk to the County Board of Commissioners says, “That’s where we need people the most. Both boards are by statute so we are required to have them.”

Another challenge: Some advisory boards, like Air Quality and Groundwater, require skills that fewer people have. If you’ve got a particular set of skills, we need your expertise!

Why Should I Serve on an Advisory Board?

Advisory boards report their activities to the Board of County Commissioners at least once a year. You can watch those presentations during Board meetings. Smith says this resident input “gives a different lens to certain issues in our community because they are boots on the ground and laser focused. Being able to have someone take a deeper dive and bring that forward to the Board is very important.” Advisory boards may also have needs and requests of the Board of County Commissioners along with their input and recommendations about County issues.

Members are required to attend at least 65% of all regularly scheduled committee meetings. The Clerk’s Office keeps in contact with advisory board liaisons about attendance, vacancies and any other changes. The Clerk’s Office also administers oaths and, for certain boards, stipends. That’s right! Some advisory board positions are paid.

How Do I Get Started?

If this all sounds amazing to you, you can look online to see how your interests intersect with an advisory board. You’ll find descriptions of each board, requirements, members, and bylaws. You can also see where there are vacancies. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, contact the Clerk’s Office for help.

Another way to help: let people know the County has advisory board vacancies that they can fill. We look forward to hearing about your service!