OP-ED: Register of Wills Bradley Jacobs hopes to leave legacy for others to follow

Bradley C. Jacobs
Register of Wills/Clerk of Orphans’ Court
Register of Wills Bradley Jacobs hugs York County Clerk of Courts Don O'Shell during a brief encounter Tuesday, June 28, 2016, at the judicial center. O'Shell was in Afghanistan for four months as an air adviser for the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing. Amanda J. Cain photo

As the current York County Register of Wills/Clerk of Orphans’ Court, I have decided not to run for re-election in 2019 for a sixth term. 

Abraham Lincoln once said, “I like to see a man proud of the placed in which he lives, I like to see a man live so that his place is proud of him." 

It is my hope that others will be as proud of my legacy of service above self as I am. 

I made this difficult decision after “extensive deliberation” and conversation with my family. 

I am honored to have served as long as I have, now the longest-serving elected register/clerk since 1839.

After more than 40 years of public service, first as secretary of the West Manchester Township Authority for 13 years (Shiloh Water System), then as a West Manchester Township supervisor for 10 years and the past 20 years as York County Register of Wills/Clerk of Orphans’ Court, I have decided to step away. 

I was fortunate enough to be elected president of the Registers/Clerks Association during my tenure and also served as a delegate to the State Association of Elected County Officials Legislative Committee for nearly two decades. 

In addition, I was privileged to serve in the Ridge Administration as a division chief in the Department of General Services. 

It was an honor to have had such an amazing opportunity in public service locally and across the commonwealth. The enduring friendship and support from so many individuals who entrusted me to serve during these many years was overwhelming.

This has truly been a rewarding chapter in my life, one that has allowed me to meet and receive new friends and friendships, inspired me to do better by others, and challenged me to remain humble, yet passionate when it comes to serving the people. 

The more than 40-year journey is one that I will never forget. It wasn’t always easy to serve, however, it has been rewarding, knowing that I have helped so many people.  

One of my most notable accomplishments in the register’s office was implementing technology to include online access to public records, online marriage applications and online filings for professionals for Petitions for Grant of Letters, thereby improving access to constituents. This technology enabled the department staff to transition to a more efficient and user-friendly system.

I would like to thank my wife of 53 years, Sue, and my son Michael and his family.  For the past 40-plus years they all have had to put up with my schedule of meetings and political activities. I do not recall any of them ever complaining regarding an elected official’s sometime crazy schedule. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my staff for their dedication and their commitment to hard work. I greatly appreciate their friendships and I appreciate them as they stood by me through the years. Your staff is an extended family. You are no better than your staff, and my staff made me an outstanding public servant.

I feel it is time to end my career in public service and to slow down and more fully enjoy my other interests which includes being a full-time grandpa to my two grandsons.

I know it’s the right decision, but it’s not an easy one. The last day I shut the door and turn out the lights will be a sad day in closing this chapter of my life and leaving a job that I truly loved. 

I can only hope that I have left a legacy for others to follow.

— Bradley C. Jacobs has been York County Register of Wills/Clerk of Orphans’ Court since 2000.