|Conklin & Stoffa|
He's originally from the Johnstown area, but became known in this area when he worked in Lehigh County's emergency management. He left Lehigh County for Florida in 2003, but continued working in emergency management until he got the call from Stoffa.
Unlike most Directors of Administration, he's completely apolitical. He just did his job, and did it well. His weakness was his unwillingness to play the political game with an erratic Council, but that was also his strength. He played no games. He just executed flawlessly.
First, he applied his managerial skills to rescue an election office that was out of control. Second, he took the lead in establishing many of the innovations in Northampton County's emergency management, from reverse 911 to coordinating with other groups in Lehigh County. He could also be counted on to execute plans flawlessly.
Over the years, I became friendly with John and will miss him. Whoever is getting him is very lucky.
Now who's under consideration as Conklin's replacement? One of them is Bob Mateff, the current Director of Emergency Management. His office is among the most efficient and successful in Northampton County. It's hard to decipher where Conklin's expertise ends and Mateff's begins, but there's no question that Mateff has played a big role. From chemical spills on Route 33 to a swine flu scare to the recent handling of Hurricane Irene, Mateff has been there.
But like Conklin, Mateff is also apolitical. He may be an expert at dealing with tornadoes and hurricanes, but those are nothing compared to the snakepit known as Northampton County Council. Many people have gone into their star chamber, never to return.
The second contender is right at home in the political world. Alicia Karner, the County's Economic Development Analyst, knows how to deal with the politicos. After all, she was State Senator Lisa Boscola's District Chief of Staff. Karner serves as the Administration's eyes on the gaming authority, general purpose authority, industrial development authority and a host of other projects. She is the person who recently made an excellent presentation concerning the proposed Rte 33 TIF in Palmer Township. That will probably pass unanimously, thanks in large part to her fine work.
She even persuaded me!
Another difference between Karner and Mateff s that when you call her, she gets back to you. That's not a strong suit with Mateff. Sooner or later, that will get him in trouble with the politicos.
I believe Karner would look better to the administration that follows Stoffa, too.
Either one of these people would be an excellent choice. I would prefer Karner, but the County Executive makes his own decisions.