Monday night marked the end of an era for the Orange County Board of Commissioners as Barry Jacobs cycled off of the board on which he has served for 20 years.
Jacobs and Mia Burroughs chose not to seek re-election to the board this year, and Monday night’s meeting was the ceremonial shift from one board to the next.
Burroughs and Jacobs were both honored by the board. Burroughs was elected as a commissioner in 2014 after years serving on the Chapel Hill – Carrboro City Schools Board of Education.
“I just have endless gratitude for having had this opportunity both as school board and as a commissioner,” Burroughs said. “It’s a life-changing experience. And I am so grateful to the voters for allowing me to have had that opportunity.”
Burroughs went on to thank the county staff, who she said do the hard work of running the county on a day-to-day basis and often don’t get recognition for their work.
Jacobs read from a piece he wrote for the occasion titled “Nine Imperatives I Tried to Follow from There to Here.” He highlighted lessons learned over his years of service, including the impact of listening and reflecting “Orange County values.”
“Avoid dwelling on what went wrong or who was at fault,” Jacobs advised. “Get past north and south, rural and urban, pro and anti. Our job is to bring people together, to promote teamwork and to identify or forge common ground.”
State Senator Valerie Foushee and House Representative Graig Meyer attended the meeting to honor the outgoing commissioners. Foushee previously served with Jacobs on the Board of Commissioners.
“There is not a resident in Orange County who loves this county more than you and who has sacrificed more of him or herself to ensure that Orange County was always first,” Foushee said to her former board colleague. “And for that, I thank you.”
Meyer and Foushee then delivered a message from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. Jacobs had been awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, which is the highest award for state service that can be granted by the governor.