“The moment we’ve dreaded for years has arrived. This time, we’re going to have to solve a case . . . ourselves.”
That’s “Commissioner Gordon,” played by actor Neil Hamilton, on the 1960s TV series Batman.
After 24 years of Batman jokes, the real Commissioner Gordon, Alice Gordon, is retiring Monday from the Orange County Board of Commissioners.
“I feel like the goals that I set my sights on when I first started as a commissioner have largely come to fruition,” said Gordon.
In her 24 years on the board, Gordon made education and environmental preservation her priorities.
Gordon helped start a program that protects wildlife habitat, farmland, watershed riparian buffers, and historic sites through purchases and conservation easements. The Lands Legacy Program has preserved more than 3,000 acres since it launched fifteen years ago.
She also helped to create a new department, the Department of Environment, Agriculture, Parks and Recreation, which focuses on conserving and managing the natural and cultural resources in Orange County.
Gordon holds a PhD in Psychology from Stanford University with a concentration in children’s language development. She said this background helps her understand what is important in public education.
“Education takes almost half of our budget,” said Gordon. “So it’s really important to get that right.”
She pushed renovation of older public schools and construction of new facilities.
“Just recently we had a project I promoted, the science wing at Culbreth Middle School. That was a long-term goal of mine,” said Gordon. “Actually there’s going to be a ribbon cutting coming up on December 11.”
Gordon also played a leadership role in region-wide transportation planning. The 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan won a national award.
She received other awards and honors, including recognition as a “town treasure” from the Chapel Hill Historical Society.
Gordon said she will stay actively involved in local government as a citizen.
Gordon will step down and Mia Burroughs will fill her seat Monday. The commissioners’ public meeting is at the Whitted Meeting Facility in Hillsborough at 7 pm with a reception at 6 pm.