McCarthy, who was a county commissioner until this year, was first brought before commissioners as Muller's appointee to become director of administration in early January. He has been employed as the county's acting director of administration, but that is a temporary position with a 90-day limit.

"I'm hoping that the fourth time is the charm," McCarthy told commissioners before the vote, indicating that's how many times his appointment previously has been before them for approval.

Some commissioners oppose McCarthy because he would get an annual pension of $28,500 if he serves four years as director of administration, because that pension also factors in his 12 years as a county commissioner.

But before the vote, McCarthy said that, if approved, on Thursday he intends asking the state's pension fund to give him a lump sum payment of $4,965 for his years as commissioner, which he plans to roll over into an IRA.

That means, after four years as director of administration, he will get a pension of about $8,500 a year --- $20,000 a year less than he could have gotten.

Ott said another reason he was voting against McCarthy is because "the job is not a good match" for him. Other commissioners who oppose McCarthy's appointment previously have expressed the same opinion.

Voting in the majority for McCarthy were Commissioners Geoff Brace, Tom Creighton, Percy Dougherty, David Jones and Brad Osborne.

After the meeting, Osborne said: "Dan is a good man caught in the web of a bad pension law. He addressed the concern professionally and will serve the residents of Lehigh County with distinction."

McCarthy was gracious after the vote, thanking the commissioners for giving him the opportunity to continue serving the people of Lehigh County.

Despite her no vote, Scheller was equally gracious. She congratulated McCarthy and said she looks forward to his service, doing good things for the county and being effective in his role as administrator.

LCA action

The move to get Allentown representatives on the LCA board is based on the fact that LCA now has a long-term lease to manage the city's water and sanitary sewer systems.

Dougherty said the request to expand that board to nine members came from the current LCA board. He added: "It would be micro-managing on our part to try to interfere with that."

The four commissioners who opposed expanding the LCA board said nothing prevents Allentown residents from being appointed to the current seven-member board, especially as an alternative to reappointing long-time LCA board members.

And they argued no other specific municipalities are represented on that board with a certain number of seats.

Some commissioners feel betrayed by current LCA board members in regard to the way that lease was reached with Allentown. Last year they unsuccessfully tried to block LCA from winning that lease.

Ott told LCA manager Aurel Arndt: "It would be a mistake to increase the size of this board to lock in the existing board members. You could lose some board members and it would help the organization.

"I'm not interested in protecting the tenure of people that have been there anywhere from 10 to 30 years and creating an even more unaccountable organization." He called LCA's board "a group of insiders who all agree with each other, with one exception."

Arndt said only one LCA board member will be up for reappointment this year but the terms of three other board members will end in December.

Approving those appointments is the only control commissioners have over the LCA board.

Two residents told commissioners the Allentown LCA board members should be private citizens, not members of the city administration or City Council.

Human services director nominee

Also Wednesday, Muller introduced commissioners to Thomas Walker, his nominee to become the county's next director of human services.

Walker is human services director at the Lehigh County Conference of Churches, where he has worked for 13 years. He told commissioners he has 15 years of experience managing non-profit organizations. He also said he is the co-chair of the local Commission to End Chronic Homelessness.

Mazziotti asked how many people Walker manages. He said his agency has 28 employees and he manages about a dozen, three of them directly.