"Hi, Dad," he'd start, always very cheerful. Then he'd work his way into his problem. "I did not have a very good day today, Dad," he'd confess.
I admit I always liked that. He was telling me that he was basically a good person and trying, but goofed. It was impossible for me to get angry, even when he once cut off his sister's eyebrows and all of her hair.
"But I did a really good job!" was his defense.
Yesterday, Northampton County Bulldog Ron Angle cut off his sister's eyebrows and all of her hair. He had a bad day. Up until now, he's been terrific as Council President. But he stumbled badly last night, and over what really amounts to a minor matter.
First, he tried tabling a new union contract with corrections officers because County Council's Solicitor had no time to review it. Never mind that it had already been reviewed by a battery of lawyers. Eventually, the County Council and County Solicitors met in some back room to discuss the pertinent provisions while the rest of the meeting continued. When they both returned, Council quickly approved this contract.
Had Council actually tabled this contract, corrections officers and their union could have demanded binding arbitration or might have even claimed this was an unfair labor practice. Angle was treading on very thin ice last night.
But the real problem arose with a request from District Attorney John Morganelli. He has a staffer he'd like to upgrade a notch. Human Resources agrees. This worker will get a $900 raise, and the DA has the money in his own budget to pay her.
This seems noncontroversial, but at Wednesday's Personnel Committee, Angle questioned the entire process. The County Exec proposes all raises at one time when he presents his budget. Why should a DA's worker be any different, he asked. That's certainly a fair question, but it's unfair to an employee who might have to wait 15 months for a raise that everyone agrees she deserves.
Angle did everything he could to stop this from happening. The worker involved, along with a union rep, came to last night's council meeting. McHale called on them to speak, but Angle refused to allow that, noting they had not signed in on the Courtesy of the Floor sheet. After the meeting, Angle stated that they had called before the meeting, and he was willing to place them on the agenda, but they did not want that. He felt they had forfeited the right to speak.
I think what troubled him more than anything is that Council member Ann McHale called on this worker to come forward. She stated Angle's Presidency is a mere formality, and that any Council member may call on someone to speak. When Angle refused to let that happen, McHale told the worker, "I hope you file a grievance."
Angle also told McClure, whose wife works for the DA, that he should abstain. McClure declined to do that, and rightfully so. This matter does not benefit him or his wife financially.
Eventually, Angle abstained from voting himself. Really, he should have abstained from the entire discussion. It's no secret he's both upset and hurt by the litigation DA John Morganelli has filed against him, testing his right to be both a school board and county council member. His abstention last night is a concession that his dispute with the DA has become personal.
Overall, he has been outstanding as Council Prez. He's been able to control them and be fair about it, too. Some of the audience still gave him an "A" because "he tells it like it is," But last night, he slipped. He knows it, too.
He had a bad day.