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Bull City Politics: Here’s who will lead Durham County, and what the sheriff will make

Durham County Commissioners Chair Wendy Jacobs, left, and Vice Chair James Hill, right, were re-elected to their chair positions by fellow commissioners on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018.
Durham County Commissioners Chair Wendy Jacobs, left, and Vice Chair James Hill, right, were re-elected to their chair positions by fellow commissioners on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. dvaughan@newsobserver.com

The Durham County Board of Commissioners voted Monday to keep their leadership, re-electing Wendy Jacobs as chair and James Hill as vice chair.

Jacobs said her goals for 2019 include Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit as “our first step toward creating a regional transit system,” pre-K education, affordable housing and criminal-justice reform.

Her other priorities include supporting a cradle-to-career pipeline for Durham County children, becoming a racial equity and trauma-informed community, sustainability, equitable development and child welfare reform.

“I love serving in this capacity and I will continue to work hard and do my very best every day on behalf of the board and the people of Durham,” Jacobs said. “We will have a busy and exciting year ahead of us as we work together to move toward important goals for our community.”

Commissioner Heidi Carter nominated both Jacobs and Hill.

Hill said with 20 or so people moving to Durham every day, “we want all of our citizens to be able to enjoy in the prosperity that is here in Durham County, and we know that is not always the case — and that is why we are going to work hard over the next year, so that all Durham citizens can live a life of dignity and to their full potential.”

Hill said his goals include making sure Durham children have a good childhood and are “part of a beloved community here in Durham.”

The commissioners decided Clarence Birkhead will make the same salary as outgoing Sheriff Mike Andrews. Birkhead defeated Andrews in the Democratic primary and faced only write-in challengers in the November general election.

Birkhead will earn $150,099 a year.

He will be sworn into office at Grey Stone Church on Monday afternoon.

Also during the commissioners meeting Monday morning, two newly elected Durham County Soil and Water Conservation District supervisors were sworn in: Natalie Murdock and David Harris.

NatalieMurdock.jpg
Natalie Murdock, in red, was sworn in as a Durham County Soil and Water Conservation Distrist supervisor on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. David Harris was also sworn in as a supervisor. They were elected in November. Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan dvaughan@newsobserver.com

Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan covers Durham government and live tweets meetings on Twitter at @dawnbvaughan and #BullCitypol. Bull City Politics is an occasional Durham politics column that takes you inside City Hall and the County Administration Building.



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