Now Browning is a Commissioner, too, having won a county-wide race in 2007. On Monday, when the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners reorganize, I am informed Browning will likely be elected Chair of the Lehigh Valley's most collegial legislative body.
Percy Dougherty, who led Lehigh County's Commissioners for an unprecedented six years, is unfortunately passing on the baton to someone else. Dr. Dougherty set a bipartisan tone that, more often than not, resulted in good government.
So who will be Vice Chair? It is rumored that this Republican-controlled Board is seriously considering Democrat Dan McCarthy, who qualifies as one of three workhorses in my most recent rating of Lehigh County Comm'r attendance.
As word of this has leaked out, Allentown Republican Joe Hilliard has fired off a snotty email to GOP Commissioners. "I hope no Republican would sell out the party and the base with yet another 'bipartisan' 'compromise' by voting for a Democrat for Vice-Chair." He then goes on to insist that McCarthy be forced to publicly disavow President Obama, all support for the Health Care bill, Cap & Trade, the stimulus and card check. He ends with the threat that his "limited government" groups will be tracking all votes, and this is a "critical" one.
How Dan McCarthy feels about Obama or Cap & Trade really has no bearing on most county issues. What does matter is his willingness to work. He attended 119 of 135 committee meetings last year. Conservatives Glenn Eckhart and Andy Roman attended just 81 and 76, respectively.
County Comm'rs are elected to do what is in the best interests of Lehigh County, not the GOP. There is little question that, after Dean Browning and Percy Dougherty, the most capable member of Lehigh County's board is Dan McCarthy.
That's good government.