Dell campaign aide to join planning panel


In a 2-1 vote, the Carroll County Commission has appointed Commissioner Donald I. Dell's campaign treasurer to the county Planning Commission.

The move gives Mr. Dell control over the influential board, the other two county commissioners said yesterday.

The commissioners voted Tuesday to name Republican Robin B. Frazier, 34, of Manchester to the commission charged with considering zoning changes and reviewing new developments.

"The Planning Commission is stacked," said Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy, a Democrat who voted for Mrs. Frazier's appointment.

The six-member planning board is "sympathetic to Donald's goals and issues. It means they will no doubt vote as Donald sees fit," said Mr. Lippy, who, like Mr. Dell, is running for re-election.

"Let's face it. Most of the appointments [to the Planning Commission] have been with Donald's acquiescence, and there's precious little I can do to stop it," Mr. Lippy said.

Mrs. Frazier will begin her five-year term next month. She will replace Louis J. Pecoraro of Taylorsville, a Democrat who chaired the board for the past year and whose term expires this month.

In addition to his five-year term, he served two three-year terms as an alternate member. One Democrat remains on the board -- Zeno M. Fisher Jr. of Deer Park.

Commissioner Julia W. Gouge, a Republican who isn't seeking re-election, said she wanted to appoint her cousin, David M. Walsh of Hampstead. She voted against appointing Mrs. Frazier.

Mr. Walsh was chairman of Mrs. Gouge's campaign for a District 5 House of Delegates seat. She dropped that campaign in June to become gubernatorial candidate William S. Shepard's running mate.

Mrs. Gouge said Mr. Dell now is in a position to "push something through" the Planning Commission. "Of course, he would have to be re-elected." The election is Nov. 8.

Other Planning Commission members are Dennis P. Bowman, a Union Bridge dairy farmer; Robert H. Lennon, a Westminster attorney; and David T. Duree, a self-employed businessman from New Windsor, who is the alternate member.

Mr. Bowman and Mr. Fisher were appointed before Mr. Dell took office in December 1990.

Mr. Dell said others approached him about appointing Mrs. Frazier, a former bank loan officer and former member of the Carroll County Republican Central Committee, although he would not say who.

"It was not my original thought," he said. Bankers and business people in the community know and respect her, Mr. Dell said.

He disagreed that the Planning Commission is stacked with his supporters and said he does not influence members' stands on the issues. Mr. Dell represents the county commissioners on the Planning Commission and is a voting member.

"I have never suggested how any of them should vote," he said.

Mrs. Frazier said she wanted to be appointed to a county committee, but did not specify the Planning Commission. She said she never has attended a Planning Commission meeting.

"I've offered my name for vacancies on committees for years," she said. "I just think it's a good way to serve the community."

Mr. Fisher said he would miss Mr. Pecoraro's input on the Planning Commission.

"Being a more mature individual, he had more insight. He had a settling effect," Mr. Fisher said.

Mr. Pecoraro, 70, is a retired public school administrator.

Mr. Fisher said he and Mr. Pecoraro tended to hold more liberal views than other commission members. But the longer the group worked together, the more members listened and learned from each other, he said.

"We're tending to move toward the center as a group," he said.

Mr. Fisher described the commission as "moderate," but said he expects it to change when Mrs. Frazier joins.

"You'll see some dramatic shifts and changes. Mr. Dell seems to have a great deal of influence," he said.

He said he had hoped the commissioners would appoint another Democrat.

"I would've hoped they would've tried to maintain a balance. It stimulates discussion, and discussion is very important," said Mr. Fisher, who works for Bell Atlantic.

In the past, the commissioners have taken turns appointing members to county boards. Mr. Dell chose the last new member -- Mr. Lennon, who was appointed last November.

At the time, Mr. Dell said he had known Mr. Lennon for 15 years and that the attorney had handled a legal matter for him.

Mr. Lippy said he wanted to re-appoint Mr. Pecoraro, but knew he would not get a second commissioner to vote with him. Mr. Lippy said he supported Mrs. Frazier because his campaign manager, Damian L. Halstad, said she would do a good job.

Mr. Lippy said of the decision, "I brought down a lot of grief on myself."

"Donald should have to face the flak. I shouldn't be the one. I did it on the recommendation of my campaign manager," Mr. Lippy said.

Mr. Halstad, a Westminster attorney and member of the City Council, said Mr. Lippy realized he "is only one vote" and would not be able to get Mr. Pecoraro re-appointed.

Mr. Pecoraro said he "wouldn't have minded" being appointed to another term, but said it was the commissioners' decision.

"I'd never get into the politics of it. It makes me sound like I have an agenda," he said.

Mrs. Frazier said she will bring her banking experience and her knowledge of the county to the commission. She has lived in HTC Carroll since she was a child.

"I can see that it's important to have managed growth. Growth is inevitable," she said.

In May, she quit her job as a mortgage loan officer for Mercantile Mortgage Co. in Westminster to stay home with her daughters -- Joanna, 6, and Rebekah, 4. She said she has 15 years of experience in banking and has worked at Union National Bank. Her husband is Donald C. Frazier.

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