Monday, January 29, 2007

A Brief Note on Bucks County Commissioners

It has been twenty years since Bucks County elected a new county commissioner. While it’s true that the three county commissioners face re-election every four years, all of the men and women who have taken office since 1987 were initially appointed, not elected. They have been re-elected every time they ran, but all were initially appointed. Current commissioner Charley Martin was appointed in 1995 to fill out Andy Warren’s term when Warren resigned to take a position at PennDOT. Warren was initially elected in 1979. Current commissioner Jim Cawley was appointed in 2004 to fill out Mike Fitzpatrick’s term when Fitzpatrick resigned after being elected to Congress. Fitzpatrick was appointed in 1994 to fill out Mark Schweiker’s term when Schweiker was elected lieutenant governor. Schweiker had been initially elected in 1987. Current commissioner Sandy Miller was appointed in 1991 to fill out Lucille Trench’s term when Trench resigned to join the Crime Victims Compensation Board. Miller and Trench are the only Democrats mentioned here. Miller is the niece of former county commissioner Adolph A. Andrews who was in office in the later 1960’s and early 1970’s, and she is now the longest serving commissioner in Bucks County history.

If you look at the numbers, though, you will see that all of the commissioners who initially took office since 1987 were appointed. The last commissioner who joined the board by election was Mark Schweiker, in 1987. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything; I just noticed it and thought it was interesting. The Bucks County commissioners race doesn’t show much sign of liveliness at the moment but I’ve heard rumblings that things might heat up. We’ll have to see.


“Best in Bucks: Fitzpatrick and Miller offer ideas and leadership,” Philadelphia Inquirer 11/03/1995

Callaway, Brian, “Democrats hopeful of ’07 victory in Bucks,” Morning Call 12/08/2006

Mark Schweiker,” Pennsylvania Governors Past to Present, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

Scheid, Brian, “Count commissioner sets a record,” Bucks County Courier Times, 7/12/2006

Stark, Karl, “New commissioner draws on experience,” Philadelphia Inquirer 3/28/1991


Anonymous said...

The Bucks Commissioners' Primary race heated-up briefly for teh Dems since your post, but is now widely considered a foregone conclusion. Relic Sandy Miller, who only ever worked to keep the minority seat, especially when she could destroy her running mates, is nearly completely devoid of support. Sensing a dumping, she handcuffed herself to Andy Warren overnight, and they just look pathetic.
The new team that will go to November are Township Supervisors Diane Marseglia (Middletown) and Steve Santarsiero (Lower Makefield); they are expected to take the county endorsement 70-30.

AboveAvgJane said...

Thanks for the info!

Anonymous said...

I don't konw who posted the above comment, but they have it mixed completely around. The Sandy&Andy Ticket have it locked up with support all around the county--and support from incumbent Congressman Patrick Murphy.