New county commisioners sworn in
Friends, family and a general sense of euphoria filled the hearing room; the atmosphere promised a bright future. The Democrats took official control of the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners on Jan 6 in a swearing-in ceremony officiated by The Honorable Edward D. Reibman, the President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County.
“It’s a wonderful occasion tonight,” said Reibman. “I’d like to call up Bob Elbich,” said Judge Reibman as he designated the first commissioner, he would induct that evening. “Just so you know, Bob came up with a book, and the book is the Constitution of the United States.”
After taking the oath of office Elbich addressed the crowd. “I will do every thing in my power to do the best for every citizen of the County of Lehigh.”
The judge then called up David Harrington. “I learned tonight, and I’m not surprised, that Dave is an Eagle Scout,” said Reibman before commencing the brief ceremony to confirm Harrington’s new office.
“I think the Lehigh County that we will build will be better than what was given us,” said Harrington after thanking his family and friends for their support. “I stand for our county — every corner of it,” said Harrington.
Judge Reibman then called Zakiya Smalls to the diaz. After a brief recitation of the oath of office with her hand on a Bible, Smalls addressed the crowd. “I stand here representing those who have not been heard, but will be heard,” said Smalls.
The fact that Zakiya Smalls is the first Black woman to be elected as Lehigh County Commissioner added a sense of history to the proceedings.
Reibman then swore in Dan Hartzell who, like the others, was accompanied by his family. “People have called me naïve Dan. I believe it’s better to be naïve Dan than cynical Dan. I refuse to be caught up in the easy cynicism that our country has gotten into at all levels. When we disagree, we are going to disagree agreeably, and that’s the way it’s going to be with me.”
Also marking a milestone is the fact the LQBTQ County Commissioner, Amy Zanelli, was elected a President of the Board of Commissioners.
After electing Zanelli as president, the board deviated from recent practice and elected a Republican member, Marc Grammes as Vice President. This, according one member of the Board, was part of the leadership’s desire to be seek bi-partisan cooperation.