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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Northampton County's Apolitical Election Commission?

It's difficult to find a more partisan member of Northampton County Council than Charles Dertinger. He's a local area party chair. He and his wife, Maria, are also members of the state committee. He has strong union roots as a third generation IBEW Local 3 member. He has flatly told Republicans proposed for positions in the Stoffa administration he would vote against them simply because they belong to the wrong party.

So it's hard to take Dertinger seriously when he claims the Stoffa administration is too involved in what The Express Times calls the "apolitical election commission."

But is the election commission really all that apolitical? According to the Northampton County Home Rule Charter, here's how its five members are selected.

The Election Commission shall be comprised of five (5) members. No more than three (3) members shall be registered voters of the same political party. The County Executive shall notify the two (2) political parties receiving the greatest number of votes at the most recent general election in the County of all vacancies on the Election Commission and shall request them to submit a list of five (5) nominees for appointment to the Election Commission. None of these nominees shall hold public office or be an officer in a political party. Members shall be appointed from these lists. If a list of nominees is not submitted within thirty (30) days after the date of request, appointments to the Election Commission may be made from the entire list of registered voters of the political party which did not submit the nominations. Any three (3) members shall constitute a quorum and shall have the power to perform the functions assigned to the Election Commission.
It's impossible to suggest this is some nonpartisan body when three of its five members are essentially chosen by the majority party boss.

That's a problem. One recommendation by last year's citizens' advisory panel was to enlarge the election commission to "include third-party representatives as well as independent voters." That's the last thing Dertinger wants. He wants to make sure that the election commission, run by Democrats, installs a registrar acceptable to local Dems.


Anonymous said...

A good man, thats where it belongs. The Election Commission should make the pick not another hand picked Stoffa Committee.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Democrat and the whole
circle of local control of the Democratic infrastructure has
to be replaced with new faces
and leadership.

I would never consider being a Republican; but what they are producing - them same is needed
there as well!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 7:28, What you mean to say is that Joe Long and Charles Dertinger should make the pick.

Anonymous said...

It's time to end all masonic influences in our local government.

In seven days in May an old classic movie, let the people know what there getting into. Given them the full disclosure of the program.

Democracy only works if they have knowledge of the limits of their republic.

People of wealth and industry generally don't like this concept.

So we have political machines for branding the mindset.

Anonymous said...

Beware of the influence of committee party people. They are dangerous beings.

Anonymous said...

Thank God for Charles Dertinger. Watch the HenHouse Charles, old foxy Stoffa is sniffing around.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yes, Charles will do his best to make sure the new registrar is just as partisan as the one who just quit.