O’Brien steps down from county council

SOUTH BEND — County council member Jamie O’Brien announced his resignation today in a letter to his constituents, citing a wish to spend more time with his family.

“Life sometimes dictates we change course,” O’Brien wrote, “and this is now the case for me.”

A Republican representing residents of the Granger area, O’Brien first took a seat on the county council after a special caucus to replace Dale DeVon in 2012, after DeVon won a seat in the Indiana General Assembly.

O’Brien’s resignation will be effective on Monday, and he won’t seek re-election.

A Notre Dame professor, O’Brien teaches business, tax and other law courses to undergraduate and graduate students in the Mendoza College of Business. A CPA and attorney, O’Brien was a staunch advocate for solving county budgetary problems, and also took a stand on certain economic development incentives he felt were too generous.

Recently, O’Brien was outspoken in opposition to the development of a new tax increment finance district on Indiana 933 near the University of Notre Dame.

“Sometimes I was jumping up and down saying ‘we’re giving away too much,’” O’Brien said. “I thank my colleagues for putting up with me when I did that.”

O’Brien also authored the county’s Taxpayer Protection and Transparency Ordinance, which would have required more public disclosure of the details of county contracts, which led to a showdown with the county commissioners.

“I really enjoyed my service,” O’Brien said. “I tried to make sure that taxpayers were well protected and well represented.”

He also said he was pleased with the “collegial nature” of the county council, and attributed bipartisanship and respectful discourse to the leadership of council president Rafael Morton.

Morton said that O’Brien always did his “due diligence” before bringing his point of view to the council.

“He was extremely dedicated to his constituents and to all of St. Joseph county,” Morton said.

A press release from the St. Joseph County Republican Party said that O’Brien needed to reduce his role in government to help care for his parents. The party will select a replacement for the county council seat in a caucus of District C precinct chairs, to occur sometime in early May.

As far as if he would hold elected office in the future, O’Brien didn’t say no.

“Never say never,” O’Brien said.

Source: https://www.southbendtribune.com/news/local/o-brien-steps-down-from-county-council/article_cf14883c-3dbc-11e8-9f62-4763c38dd9c1.html