Hoping to entice more residents to donate their time, the Board of Supervisors has decided to hire a coordinator to oversee all volunteer activities and internships in county government.
Supervisor Jim Silva, who proposed the new position, said the coordinator will help match volunteers to county departments in need as well as establish contact with schools, senior citizen groups and other organizations whose members might want to offer their time.
"It will help those who want to volunteer find their way through the maze of county government," Silva said. "I think we have only begun to tap the potential benefits of volunteerism in the county."
Dozens of volunteers already provide assistance in many parts of county government, from the public library system to the Harbors, Beaches and Parks division. The district attorney's office and public defender's office use law school students to help out with court cases.
After the county plunged into bankruptcy in December 1994, Chapman University began a student internship program that has placed volunteers in the offices of county supervisors and other top officials.
Silva said the volunteer coordinator would be responsible for overseeing these efforts as well as creating new programs. "One person will be able to provide information on all volunteer opportunities to those interested," he said.
The board approved the new position earlier this month. Officials haven't decided exactly how much the coordinator will be paid.