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Lehigh County GIS room named in honor of Percy Dougherty

According to information provided by the Dougherty family, the GIS Room in the Lehigh County Government Center was named in honor of recently retired Lehigh County Commissioner Dr. Percy H. Dougherty.

GIS is the Geographical Information Systems which has saved the county millions of dollars.

In the last tax assessment, GIS saved the county more than $5 million.

Dougherty served as county commissioner for 28 years representing District 2.

He said it is an extreme honor to have the GIS Conference Room named after him.

Dougherty is considered the leading advocate of getting GIS adopted in the county.

He was instrumental in having it adopted in the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, also.

At the ceremony, Dougherty said the 28 years had gone by quickly.

He recounted how he decided to run for county commissioner on a volcano in Guatemala. His friend, Matt Green, was there to attest to the story.

Lehigh County Commissioner Geoffrey Brace commented on Dougherty’s honor.

“A central point to Percy’s work as county commissioner was a dedication to making the Lehigh Valley a great place to be, whether as a resident, a visitor or a business owner,” Brace said. “He wove that thread through all of his work: farmland preservation, the environment and making tools like GIS available so county government could do its work most effectively.

“Given the incredible quality of life we enjoy in Lehigh County, the best words I can offer are simple: well done, Sir! And thank you!”

Lehigh County Executive Phil Armstrong also commented.

“I enjoyed working with Percy. He always had the constituents in mind. He was definitely bipartisan when it came to politics,” Armstrong said.

Rick Molchany, director of General Services, discussed Dougherty’s achievements.

“I have worked with Percy for 15 years, and for most of those years, he served as my committee chair,’ Molchany said. “Percy has been instrumental in leading Lehigh County’s Farmland Preservation, parks and recreation, and comprehensive land use planning, all while promoting economic prosperity.

“His leadership to create a county GIS program has benefited the county by improving property assessment reviews.

“The significance of the GIS Planning Room being named in his honor is that, we have never named a specific area in the Government Center for anyone. Percy is deservingly the first.”

Lehigh County Commissioner Dan Hartzell expressed his thoughts.

“Despite his impressive educational achievements, his professional status and his many accomplishments for the community, there’s not the slightest sign of pretentiousness about Percy Dougherty.

“Percy looks down on no one. He’s always the same nice guy whenever you see him. And to me, that says everything you need to know.”

Retired Lehigh County Commissioner Dr. Percy H. Dougherty stands next to a plaque naming the GIS conference room in his honor. PRESS PHOTO COURTESY ANNE DOUGHERTY