The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

December 25, 2012

Top 10 stories of 2012: No. 6 - GOP gains control of commissioners’ board

Dave Sutor

JOHNSTOWN — The Tribune-Democrat is counting down the top stories of 2012, as determined by voting by newsroom employees. One story will appear each day in print and e-editions between now and the end of the year. Readers can vote for their choice for the top story at

The Republican Party regained a majority on the Cambria County Board of Commissioners for the first time in eight years when Mark Wissinger and Douglas Lengenfelder took office in January.

They were the top two vote-getters in the 2011 general election. Democrat Thomas Chernisky joined them on the board after finishing third in the race. Former Commissioner Milan Gjurich lost his seat by coming in fourth. Gjurich and P.J. Stevens, who did not seek re-election, formed a Democratic majority for the previous two terms.

Wissinger led all candidates with 28 percent of the vote.

Lengenfelder garnered 27 percent.

“This was a team event,” said Lengenfelder at the time. “Mark and I have been together from Day 1. We’re excited about the future. We think Cambria County has a great future, and we’re honored to be a part of it.” Wissinger emphasized the benefit of the GOP candidates campaigning together, saying, “We had a consistent message. Taxes was the big issue, and we also stressed economic development and transportation.”

Wissinger, a Ferndale resident and retired schoolteacher, served as a commissioner in the early 1990s.

Lengenfelder, who lives in Richland Township, is a retired Air Force colonel.

Chernisky received 24 percent.

The Geistown resident was a part-time jury commissioner before gaining a spot on the board.

When discussing his minority role, Chernisky said, “I can work with anybody. It’s about getting things done and moving Cambria County forward.”

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