Out of the original dirty dozen who applied, Glenn Eckhart's Appointments Committee whittled the number down to five. It did so after a lengthy interview in which all eight commissioners, excepting David Jones, participated. Those who survived the first cut are Marc Basist, Geoff Brace, Robert George, William Hansell and John Hofmann.
Any one of these people would make excellent commissioners, but there are differences. Marc Basist is the only applicant who ran for the job in the most recent election. Geoff Brace brings a wealth of knowledge concerning downtown revitalization, and thinks commissioners should take a more active role in union negotiations. Robert George, a common sense businessman, is clearly the most conservative. William Hansell is the most knowledgable, but spends a lot of time in Florida. Hofmann is the best listener. All of them expressed reservations over the bi-county health department, but only Hofmann is flatly opposed to the concept because of its inevitable cost.
If Commissioners deadlock, and we see black smoke curling through the streets of Allentown, or if they refuse to accept the Appointments Committee's recommendations, the nomination process will be wide open.
As I've noted before, Commissioner David Jones has been MIA throughout the appointments process. He snubbed prospective applicants on the night of their interview, ignored my telephone call and has yet to respond to most applicants or even other commissioners. Anyone who is that unwilling to talk, return phone calls, emails or do his homework, doesn't deserve to vote on the matter. Sure, Jones is busy, but so is everybody else on that board, and they answer calls and email.
Instead of making one appointment, Commissioners should be naming Jones' replacement as well. Hopefully, he'll quit.