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The Daily Tar Heel

Orange County Commissioner Mark Dorosin to step down; Penny Rich considering role

Orange County Commissioner Mark Dorosin pictured in his office on Tuesday.

Mark Dorosin announced he will step down from the Orange County Board of County Commissioners after serving for more than eight years.

Penny Rich, who lost her District 1 seat in 2020, said she is considering putting her name forward to reassume the role.

Renee Price, the chairperson of the Orange County Board of Commissioners, said it is ultimately up to the BOCC to make the appointment for the next commissioner. 

From Dorosin’s resignation on July 31, the board has until September 29 to make the decision, Price said.

“How we move into the recovery from the COVID pandemic will be the most pressing issue, and the pandemic exacerbated some of the disparities we already knew existed,” Price said. “I think that’s going to be big and how we’re able to manage the funding that we have, while also moving forward with the new normal.”

Dorosin will pursue an associate professorship at Florida A&M University College of Law and will become the director for the university’s clinical program, he said.

He will step down from his current position and start his new job in August, he said.

Dorosin was first elected to the BOCC in 2012 and reelected in 2016. He won again in 2020 after beating Rich in the primary by a seven-vote margin — newcomer Jean Hamilton received more votes than both to take the other District 1 seat.

Dorosin said during his years in office, he helped push the BOCC to include $5 million in a bond for affordable housing, and he focused on adopting and administering equitable county policies for residents of color.

"I’ve worked hard to bring issues of racial justice and economics justice to the forefront of county decision-making," he said.

Rich previously served on the Chapel Hill Town Council and then as a county commissioner for a total of eight years.

Rich said she is considering putting her name forward particularly because of her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which she and three mayors worked with all Orange County departments to help ensure the health and safety of residents.

“I’ll certainly put my name in because there were 12,400 people that voted for me, and I think it would be a letdown to those people who supported me to not put my name forward,” Rich said.

She also received the Old North State Award in recognition of her efforts in local government.

“I hope the Orange County commissioners continue to support policy that protects women and the LGBTQ community,” Rich said, referring to some resolutions she proposed before leaving office.

@DTHCityState |

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