Voice of County Leadership – Doug Corcoran, Ross County Commissioner

Doug Corcoran, CCAO president and Ross County commissioner, has always had a focus on community and mentoring. One of 16 children, the commissioner, who was born and raised in Chillicothe, was involved in his hometown at a young age, beginning with the 4-H program and his local church.

That sense of service continued to his work with the public sector when, while working as economic development director for the City of Chillicothe, he decided to run for office. As economic development director, Corcoran had the opportunity to observe Ross County Commissioners James Caldwell and the now-retired Frank Hirsch, a major influence on his decision to run.

“I got to know two men who were in the county commissioners’ office for several years and respected them, saw how they handled themselves and how they promoted the community,” Corcoran said. “I wanted to get in to elected office and I knew that county commissioner was the right office because of the opportunity to have a positive impact on my community.”

Corcoran was appointed to fill an unexpired term in May 2005. His first election was in November 2006, and he has been elected to three full terms.

“It was a great opportunity for me…because of the people I know and the impact on the community. I was born and raised there [Chillicothe], and I knew I wanted my kids to be born and raised there,” he said. “I thought it was the best opportunity to keep our community going in a positive direction and give my children a good place to raise their families.”

Corcoran, who has served on the CCAO board since 2008, became president in 2016 and set his main objective as fighting the opiate epidemic that has been plaguing counties throughout Ohio.

“[The epidemic] is affecting law enforcement, our court system and child placement in jobs and family services. It’s continuing to suck dollars out of the general fund. If we don’t find a way to solve this problem, the dollar figures will continue to explode and eat up our local budgets,” he said.

He also said the number of prosecutor’s office caseloads, thefts, overdose calls, deaths and violent crimes has spiked, as has the stress level on officers.

“It’s harder on the individual officers dealing those issues. They’re dealing with mental health issues and family issues,” he said. “We’ve see an increased turnover in the sheriff’s office. These folks get into a law profession for a reason, and they get overwhelmed with what they are dealing with.”

To help add to the county arsenal in the fight against the epidemic, Corcoran applied for and was elected to the National Association of Counties’ National City-County Task Force on the Opioid Epidemic. The task force seeks to discover what is working nationally and to explore ways cities and counties can work together to stem the tide of the opiate epidemic.

Corcoran is also focusing on continuing the CCAO legacy of leadership as he reaches the midway point of his term.

“I also want to continue CCAO’s strong advocacy efforts for the counties and the educational opportunities they provide for new and veteran commissioners. CCAO is a strong organization that always has had strong leadership at the board level and president’s position. I want to ensure that continues,” he said.

Strong leadership is also a main focus in Ross County and is something he attributes to the success of local officials. Their ability to work together, support each other and communicate has led to achievements in the area.

“We set the tone for how things are perceived. How we work with individuals and community members sets the tone for what people expect for their government. It’s why my predecessors were able to stay in office for so long – they had that respect from not just fellow elected officials but from the general public,” he said.

That respect is reciprocated by his peers.

“Commissioner Corcoran was born a true leader. Doug leads by example. He works hard, works with great passion for what he believes in and never stops until he reaches the goals he has set,” Ross County Commissioner Steve Neal said. “Doug Corcoran can get along with anyone. His charismatic personality makes him an outstanding leader.”