|"You talking to me?"|
Council member Ken Kraft, who sponsored this proposal, was sure he had five votes. But he watched that support vanish as Angle made his points during a public comment period, despite an effort by Council president John Cusick and member Bob Werner to muzzle the bulldog.
Saying that the $300 reminded him of a "wart on a water buffalo," Angle asserted he had no doubt why the $10,000 salary hike was being proposed for the Exec.
"The next County Executive, and that's unless the good Lord comes down from the sky and runs on the Republican ticket, will either be Mr. [Glenn] Reibman or Mr. [John] Callahan. And I'm sure for the Democrats on Council, it's been suggested to them that in the case of Mr. Callahan, he would need more than $85,000 a year to come over here and be Executive. So how fitting do you think it is, when the rest of the world is struggling and they didn't get raises? Many of them wish to hell they could hang on to their job.
[At this point, both Cusick and Werner told Angle to wrap it up, although they allowed State Theatre representatives to drone on for 35 minutes on why the annual allocation for the artsy-fartsys should go up from $25,000 to $60,000. The attempt to stifle Angle failed.]
"If you don't like what I have to say, maybe you shouldn't be in office. You're going to raise it $10,000. You're negotiating contracts with employees. At a time when you're asking them to give back and take freezes."
Sounds pretty good, eh? When Ron sat down, I asked him, "Ron, didn't you make the exact opposite argument just a few years ago?"
"Shhh!" he whispered.
Too late. Ken Kraft noticed the reversal as well, pointing it out and also claiming that he was still waiting for Angle to pay off some side bet the two had. That brought an indignant Angle to his feet for a few more minutes, as he and Kraft parried back and forth.
In fairness to Angle, the economy was much better when he supported raises, and the timespan without one had gone on much longer.
At some point, Angle claimed Reibman had run the County into the ground and Callahan had run Bethlehem into the ground.
"Will any of them perish if they don't get this pay?" he asked.
There goes his Christmas presents from them. He also managed to insult John Cusick, Bob Werner and several members of the audience. One of them, Jack D'Alessandro, waddled over and attempted to lunge at Angle before leaving, but missed. Then he just floated away.
Cusick admonished Kraft about attacking Ron from the dais. But the Council Prez just does not understand that real people like Ron Angle and Ken Kraft love to mix it up. Angle's a slater and Kraft is a union dude. They were fiery, rude and having a great time. It was entertaining as hell.
The music of democracy.
Much better than polite hypocrites telling each other how wonderful they are.
Though despised by nearly every Council member, Angle's arguments were persuasive. Tom Dietrich and Peg Ferraro, two of the Council members who deposed Angle as Council President just two years ago, echoed many of his sentiments. Ferraro, in particular, noted that the County had just asked the Gracedale union to make concessions. Cusick argued that 37 county employees make more than the Exec, as well as nearly every Township Manager. But Ferraro retorted that perhaps Townships should ask their managers to give back instead of increasing the Executive's salary.
Maybe his absence has made their hearts grow fonder.
Aside from Kraft and Cusick, who incidentally would also like to be the next exec, Council members voted the raise down. After the meeting, anti-union Angle and union business agent Kraft joked with each other.
Angle's replacement on Council, Scott Parsons, has been an excellent representative, and after seeing him in action, I understand why people voted for him and like sincere and humble approach.
But the world is a little better with one Northampton County bulldog. Maybe he's even better as a citizen. The State Theatre will cost Northampton County $240,000 over the next four years. Angle's argument, despite the attempt to muzzle him, just saved taxpayers $41,200 over the next four years.