After 12 years as Bermuda District Supervisor, Jaeckle to retire
Next month will be the first time in 12 years that the Honorable Dorothy Jaeckle will not take a seat at the dais in the public meeting room. Earlier this year, Mrs. Jaeckle decided not to run for reelection for Bermuda District Supervisor.
Jaeckle believed it was time to move on but will miss the work.
“You are thrown into a world of people from all walks of life that you would most likely never cross paths with in your regular life,” said Jaeckle. “I enjoyed working with the county staff. They really put their heart and soul into serving the citizens of Chesterfield. I loved being able to help citizens solved problems.”
Jaeckle began her advocacy at her children’s school by being very involved. Her advocacy became political when the county considered taking schools year-round because they couldn’t keep up with the increased enrollment spurn by rapid development. From there, Jaeckle took her advocacy to the state level to ensure that the standards of education remained high.
In early 2007 Dickie King announced that he would not seek reelection, leaving an open seat on the Board of Supervisors.
“I never thought about running for any kind of office,” said Jaeckle. “I was approached in January of 2007 by some citizens asking me to run for the Board of Supervisors.”
Later that year, Jaeckle won 50 percent of the vote over two opponents, a slight majority.
For the next 12 years, Jaeckle’s efforts turned from activism to policy and much of her efforts focused on Chester’s aging community.
“For so many years, Chesterfield was growing at such a rapid rate the focus had to be on keeping up with the new growth,” said Jaeckle. “I am thrilled with the creation of our Community Development Department with its focus on redevelopment and new infrastructure in older areas. Our work with the School Board on renovating and rebuilding older schools has also been a great accomplishment.”
But with any success comes obstacles. The Bermuda District faced several changes during Jaeckle’s 12 years. From a recession that crippled local governments around the state to countless heated deliberations over development, Jaeckle sought to create a balanced tax base to keep rates low and ensure sustained growth. But at the end of the day, Jaeckle prioritized keeping an open line of communication with the citizens of the district.
“There are 60,000 citizens in each district with many differing opinions,” said Jaeckle. “We listen to all the citizens, those desiring services, those desiring a low tax rate, those opposed to development, those supportive of development and do our best to arrive at decisions that work the best overall for the benefit of all citizens.”
Jaeckle doesn’t know what’s next for her but she is confident she leaves the county in a strong position with sound leadership to see it forward. But it’s no question that her leadership on the board and in the community will be missed.
“Her maternal nature of seeing small things that mean a lot to some people is a rare gift,” said Joe Casey, county administrator. “From listening and learning, I became not only better at my job, but also became a better person – father, spouse and friend. For that I’m forever thankful to her.”
In her final days in office, Jaeckle had one piece of advice for the community: Get involved.
“Take the government citizens academy and find out how the government operates and help shape the future rather than reacting,” she said. “Help structure what development should look like.”