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Barry Jacobs To Retire As Orange County Comissioner

Orange County is losing an outstanding public servant.

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Elon v Duke
DBR contributor Barry Jacobs is second from the right, next to another DBR contributor, Jim Sumner.
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Most of you know Barry Jacobs as a long-time freelance sportswriter, author of (the lamentably no longer published) Barry Jacobs’ Fan’s Guide to the ACC and a DBR contributor.

He has had a day job too though: Barry has been an Orange County Commissioner for years - in fact for decades (two of them) and served Orange County on the Board of Directors of the Orange Water and Sewer Authority before that.

What we’d like to do here is to comment on not just his public service, which is often a thankless task. Somebody has to turn the gears. Someone has to slog through the boring sewage plans. Someone has to get in there and just get.things.done.

The thing is a lot of people enter public service for private gain. They find ways to take from the public or accept things that are given to them or just simply allow power to corrupt them.

This happens in every level of government as we saw this week in Missouri and Nashville. (Washington is too easy a target).

None of us are exempt from human nature and we can all be tempted and nothing is more tempting than power.

As Barry begins to step aside though, we can say this: there has never been the slightest controversy attached to him. No one has questioned his integrity or his willingness to listen to any constituent who wanted to speak to him, regardless of party or conviction. He’s been a model small d democrat, a citizen who did his best to help the people rule themselves and he’s done it with kindness, humor and wisdom.

A lot of politicians leave office with their corruption undetected and therefore retain a patina of respectability. Not many leave with their personal integrity intact.

We firmly believe that Barry has and that Orange County has benefitted greatly from his service.

We should all be so lucky.

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