I was surprised to see Amy and Rich sitting together at yesterday's Personnel Committee before Northampton County Council. But I soon found out why they were there. The office has managed well without a Deputy Registrar, and they think it's just a tad silly to hire on an inexperienced Deputy so that three employees can answer to to bosses. So they've proposed eliminating the deputy and using senior election technicians like themselves to perform those functions.
Executive John Stoffa told Council he opposes this idea, saying there has to be somebody to answer if the Registrar herself is not there. HR boss Pat Siemiontkowski notes she's already begun the process of hiring a Deputy, and would have to study the recommendations made by Kessler and Birch. Ron Angle liked the idea, but claimed Council should be Kessler's last stop, not his first.
Then Angle and Ann McHale got into a spat over whether the elections office staffers report to the elections commission or the administration. Mike Dowd noted they could argue about that another ten years , but they won't get an answer to that question today.
As someone who visits that office regularly, especially to review campaign finance reports, I think Kessler and Birch should be given a green light. No one can argue that the office is more efficient today than ever, and with a smaller staff. They deserve a raise, and it will still save the County money.
If there's some hesitation, do it on a trial basis.
Council President John Cusick and Peg Ferraro seemed to understand. Cusick noted, "Any time employees come up with ways to save money, they should be encouraged." And Ferraro, after listening to the "I need to do a study" argument, commented that many good ideas "get tangled up in government rules."
This is the smaller government that conservatives claim to like so much. Why not try it?