Carol O’Brien: Reflecting on new additions


Carol O’Brien - Contributing columnist

There’s nothing quite like a new baby. I’m overjoyed to welcome Charlotte Nicole O’Brien, granddaughter number four, to the family! With impeccable timing, Charlotte arrived on Father’s Day.

Charlotte, big sister Jaden, Mom and Dad are all doing fine. Over the last four days, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with my son and his family. It’s truly amazing how our little family has grown over the years.

As time passes, there are so many new things to celebrate. Perhaps when Charlotte is a bit older, she can accompany me to some of Delaware County’s newest additions.

Almost every community within Delaware County, be it a village, city or township, has seen an increase in population and business. In the last few weeks, Graeter’s Ice Cream opened a new store in Orange Township and the long-awaited Tanger outlet mall opened in Sunbury. IKEA is set to join the parade of new stores in the summer of 2017 when it opens at the site of the former Germain Amphitheater. These are just the big-name businesses grabbing headlines. There are many other merchants taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the population boom as well.

Delaware County is once again one of the fastest growing counties in the country. Our population is growing at an amazing pace. We are seeing a tremendous boom in housing starts and, of course, new businesses.

Why, you ask, does the county prosecutor care about population growth and business development? My office is the largest “law firm’’ in Delaware County. There is a criminal division and a civil division. Almost everyone knows what the criminal attorneys do – prosecute persons charged with crimes – but not everyone realizes what the civil attorneys do.

The prosecutor is required by law to represent county officials, county boards and township officials. The civil division represents more than 75 civil clients. On any given day, the attorneys in my civil division are answering questions, responding to lawsuits, and advising our clients concerning their duties and responsibilities.

What does that mean? It means that before our nationally award-winning engineer, Chris Bauserman, could start construction on the Sawmill Parkway extension project, he worked with my attorneys to obtain the property from the homeowners who had land in the project’s projected path. It means that when the board of county commissioners have legal questions, they can utilize the assistant prosecuting attorney assigned to represent them. It means that when township trustees, fiscal officers or administrators have legal questions or concerns (or need a contract reviewed), they call my office.

As the county grows, so grows the need for our general health district – can you say Zika? — and for the Board of Developmental Disabilities; for DATA bus routes; and any number of local county agencies. I am honored and proud to represent them all, and that is why it’s so important to me, not only as a member of the community, but as your county prosecutor, to appreciate and understand all of Delaware County’s newest additions.

On a totally different topic – I wish everyone a Happy Fourth of July! I hope you are able to enjoy the weekend, celebrating with family and friends. I am thrilled that Jaden, Makaela and Sophie are joining me in the Sunbury and Delaware parades this holiday weekend. We left little Charlotte in Washington to celebrate with her Air Force Dad and Ashley, her very tired mom.

I am looking forward to celebrating our great nation’s birth and sharing in the spirit and camaraderie our community has to offer. Who knows? I may even meet someone new who’s just moved into our community. What an exciting time for Delaware County! See you all soon!

Carol O’Brien

Contributing columnist

Carol O’Brien is the Delaware County prosecutor.

Carol O’Brien is the Delaware County prosecutor.