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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, January 14, 2010

LC Comm'r Boss Dean Browning Gets Major Award

I was on hand last night, along with about thirty other people, to watch Dean Browning perform in his first meeting as chair of Lehigh County's Board of Commissioners. His predecessor, a smiling and very relieved-looking Percy Dougherty, sat at the far left of the dais. He chaired the most collegial legislative body I've ever seen, and that even includes Bethlehem's distinguished City Council.

My flipcam and I had a front row seat, waiting for Dean to screw up. Maybe his fly would be open. Maybe he'd forget all about citizens' input, or to get the minutes approved, like his counterpart Ron Angle in Northampton County. Unfortunately, the meeting went off without a hitch, although some bastard broke Browning's microphone before the meeting. Probably Dougherty.

Dean made a point of recognizing Percy's leadership. "The way we conduct business is in no small measure due to the leadership of Chairman Dougherty, when he was chairman of this Board. It's not only my opinion. If a curmudgeon like Bill White, of The Morning Call, can recognize that, it has to be true."

Everyone then gave a beet-red Dougherty a nice round of applause.

But Browning was himself recognized last night, and was given a major award by the Cunningham Administration. Director of Administration Tom Muller told Commissioners that the Cunningham Administration wanted to give Dean something that would capture the essence of what he faces this year. "Bearing in mind that you are very sensitive to someone trying to purchase a vote on the Commission, we have spared every single expense," said Muller, as he formally presented Browning with a gigantic poster of Pip the Mouse.

For those of you unfamiliar with Lehigh County, Browning has fought tooth and nail over the past two years to cut the $5,000 in annual funding for the Pip the Mouse program. He hates that little rat. Last year, Pip was forced to leave his little condo at Liberty Bell Museum to make a rare personal appearance before the Commissioners to justify that grant. That night, someone set a little mouse bomb under the hood of Browning's car.

A week later, while performing at the Museum, Pip was mauled by a cat that someone mysteriously threw at him from the audience.

There's no love lost between those two.


ironpigpen said...


Great word, O'Hare.

I forgot that one and had to look it up!

Joe Hilliard said...

Dean ran as a fiscal conservative. Dean has been coopeted by the local GOP advisors that declare "you have to appease Dems to win future offices."

I don't mind bipartisanship and compromise if politicians make that clear in the beginning. But, their record will be well publicized next time they run.

Will it matter? Maybe not. Maybe so? Who knows?

Marc Grammes said...

I think Dean is becoming an effective commissioner who knows what it takes to get the job done, and gives credit where credit is due. The implication that he has abandoned his principles couldn't be farther from the truth. I believe Dean works hard at his job, and has the interest of his constituents at heart. Do I always agree with his positions? No. Do I agree that he made the right choice in voting for Dan McCarthy for vice chair? Absolutely. Just my humble opinion.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Marc, As a former Comm'r yourself, you know how much sense it makes to work with people on both sides. Historically, that is what the LC Comm'rs have done.

I've looked into this. LC has traditionally divided the chair and vice chair between the two parties. It's a magnanimous gesture in which the two parties, despite their differences, tacitly agree that each has worth and each is worth a listen. It demonstrates good faith, and that could end up meaning something in close votes.

The vice chair elected, Dan McCarthy, is a decent and honorable man and is one of the commission's workhorses. Aside from Percy Dougherty, who wants to step down from the demands of leadership for a year, Dan was actually the logical choice from either party. No one, other than Dean or Percy, has Dan's attendance record.

Since being on the comm'n, Dean as looked for ways to cut costs. That is next to impossible in county government, where 66 cents of every tax dollar pays for the back end of crime. Browning has attempted to reduce payraises for nonunion workers. He has had his head handed to him on several occasions by several profits or trying to curtail some of the quality of life grants handed out each year. I did not see Joe rise to Deans defense when he was being compared to a barbarian.

In the last election cycle, Dean worked very hard so that another fiscal conservative, Glenn Eckhart, could keep his seat against a well-financed onslaught. He worked just as hard for Tom Creighton. He raised money for both and helped devise a campaign strategy. The Board is still Republican, thanks in no small measure to Dean's efforts.

I didn't see Joe's name associated with these candidates. I see no contributions and not a word of encouragement here or anywhere else.

In this context, I think Dean would be entirely justified in telling Joe to go to hell. Dean won't do that. Too much class.

But Joe, your attempt to dictate anything to Dean or any of the people who got elected, is laughable. I realize you think you're the grand wizard of the tea party, but you're not. You had nothing to do with getting Republicans elected. In fact, more often than not, you just try to hurt them. You provided no help to Dean or R members who were trying to pursue a conservative agenda. So you pretty much have forfeited the right to tell them what they should be doing.

If they did listen to you and acted like you, they'd all be at home now, and there'd be 9 Democratic Comm'rs.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...
Don "the Con" Cunningham is buying two County Commissioners for $34,861.23.
This proves he knows how to waste money by overpaying for things.

Dean Browning does not care about any of his fellow Commissioners, so why spend $6,801 for them?

That's the price you pay to get the votes for the Chairmanship on the Board of Commissioners.

1:47 AM
Bernie O'Hare said...
If you want to post anonymously, you should at least try to be honest. I have an email from Browning to fellow comm'rs stating he has no interest in being chair.

1:57 AM

Bernie O'hare looks like I was right about Dean Browning

Bernie O'Hare said...

No, you weren't.

At the time in question, Dean really had no interest in the job and had penned a letter to fellow comm'rs, making that clear. I published a separate blog about that.

Why didn't you link to that?

Then Percy Dougherty, the logical choice, decided he needed to take it a little more easy after six years. I posted a blog about that, too.

Why didn't you link to that?

Although Dean would prefer to avois the extra work involved, he is a workhorse. They say that if you want something done, giove it to the busiest person you know. That's what comm'rs did.

Why didn't you link to the article about attendance?

Circumstances changed.

It's a Republican Board so I doubt any of the qualified Dems could be appointed chair. Of all the Rs, D was the logical choice from both parties. Althogh fiscally conservative, He listens to both sides. He works hard, and most important, tries to be fair.

The only other nominee, Andy Roman, has a style that lends itself more to investigation than the duties of a chair. He explained that himself, in a post concerning meetings.

So I could uinderstand what happened.

Had Percy wanted to remain in his former role, which he performed so well, he would certainly still be there. Dean made that clear himself in his first meeting as chair.

Anonymous said...

B.S. in was in the making since the Primary and everyone on the inside knows it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's interesting. After the primary, the commonly held view was that LC Comm'rs would go 5-4 and possibly 6-3 Democratic and that we would be dealing with Chairman Bill Leiner.

Once the election was over and Rs remained in charge, it was by no means known that Dean Browning would be the next chair, even after Percy decided against it. That's what Don Cunningham, among others, came to the reorganization. We were all curious about what would happen.

Circumstances change.

Anonymous said...

Dean Browning, Bill Platt and Percy Dougherty FAILED to imbrace diversity within their ranks, they conspired to keep an aspiring Korean from succeding. For someone who seemingly had no chance against Dougherty there sure were alot of shenannegans against a primary opponent including threats to personal safety. Isn't it amazing that Norco can ELECT it's first Republican African American on the County Council but Lehigh County's Good Ole Boys network can't elect diversity in Lehigh County, i.e. Philips or Prinzinger.
Getting some rich Jew to run for the top GOP job does not solve the problem either when the party does not stand behind it's minority hopefuls who are of modest resources and in fact does everything its power, quietly, to throw them under the bus.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Northampton AND Lehigh County both elected their FIRST African American county legislators. You're forgetting about David Jones. Do you discount him bc he's Democrat?

You speak of diversity yet condemn a "some rich Jew." Who do you think you're kidding?

Anonymous said...

No, Jones was first appointed, he never ran, then he was a shoe-in.

I'm all for some poor Jew to run for the job. The condemnation was on the money which seems to be driving all these bad decisions within Lehigh County. I want to see leaders get elected because of character, not wallet size.

Bernie O'Hare said...

David Jones was ELECTED this past November. Bob Smith worked hard as his opponent, and lost fair and square. So BOTH LV & NC ELECTED their first African American legislator simultaneously.

You are also confusing party chair w/ elected officials. I would think you would want to elect someone who can raise money for the candidates who have none.

Why is this person's religion in any way relevant? You kmentioned "some rich Jew." If your focus were really his wallet size, why the need to mention his religion?

Your remark was anti-Semitic and now you are trying to backtrack.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, your a fucking idiot, Jewish is an ethnicity not a religion.

Anonymous said...

Stop kissing MM's ass!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Gee, tell that to Dean Berg, whose ethnicity is Pennsylvania Dutch, converted to Judaism and considers himself Jewish.

Your focus on this reveals what you are - an anti-Semite.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The two anonymous comments above were posted by someone using AOL and the IPs shown are and .

Anonymous said...

Feeling a little paranoid Bernie?
I don't if you log my IP address, but you are still wrong so I urge you to stop labeling things the wrong way, because you do not understand. Playing the PC card is a violation of free speech. An frankly PC is a low as it gets, if people have opinions they should express them openly and we can know how people really feel about each other. But you only respond to fear because you are afraid of truth. But if you would like to make all this public I have no problem with this and I can defend myself because you don't have all the facts.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I understand completely. You are anti-Semitic and I will track your IP.

Anonymous said...

And your are an anti-Christian as was exemplified by your attacks on Scott Ott, I noticed the double standard, do you?

Historically, speaking Catholics like you were this biggest antisemites ever. Both my parents lived under nasty Catholic antisemitism so don't go there buddy. Bernie O'hare you are the one that takes innocent comments and turns them into 'antisemitism'. Stop labeling you Irish Nazi!

Anonymous said...

And your are an anti-Christian as was exemplified by your attacks on Scott Ott, I noticed the double standard, do you?

Historically, speaking Catholics like you were this biggest antisemites ever. Both my parents lived under nasty Catholic antisemitism so don't go there buddy. Bernie O'hare you are the one that takes innocent comments and turns them into 'antisemitism'. Stop labeling you Irish Nazi!

Bernie O'Hare said...

"And your are an anti-Christian as was exemplified by your attacks on Scott Ott,"

Didn't know Scott Ott was Jesus Christ.

Both my parents lived under nasty Catholic antisemitism so don't go there buddy.

must be where you got yours.