Monday, January 07, 2013

NorCo Council Kicks Off New Year By Blowing Its Reorganization

I was at a basketball game so I missed the party, but have been told that NorCo Council managed to screw up its reorganization today. I understand that only four members were physically present, with Peg Ferraro calling in from overseas. I am further informed that John Cusick was re-elected President with three votes. If this is true, and I don't know the facts for sure, then John Cusick's re-election is illegal. This is because any action by Council requires a majority of its membership, not just a majority of whomever is present.

Where was everyone? Bob Werner and Bruce Gilbert were probably working their day jobs. Ken Kraft has the flu. Barb Thierry got her days mixed up, and was in a rush to get there, but arrived too late.

I understand Scott Parsons, deeming the whole thing too damn political, abstained.

Lamont McClure wanted to get Kraft elected, while Cusick obviously wanted himself.

I can't be too sure what exactly happened since I was not there. But from what I've been told, it was a mess.

Updated 8:50 PM:  The Express Times has an account about this ridiculous reorganization, in which just three of nine members elected its President and VP. Their Solicitor, Phil Lauer, advised them it's perfectly legal for three people to make this decision, in apparent reliance on Section 6-601 of the Home Rule Charter. That does allow a vote by simple majority on a "motion." But that applies to procedure. It's a way to bring something to a decision. This was no simple procedural matter. It was substantive - an election of Council's top two officers. I have great respect for Phil, both as an attorney and as a person, but disagree with him on this one.

Updated 11:10 PM: The Council meeting, if you can call it that, is online. It is just as ridiculous as I had imagined. My thanks to "Matt M."

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

I applaud Scott Parsons for not voting and not being part of this political farce! Cusick and Ferraro should be ashamed of themselves for passing this off as a majority vote of council. Pure BS!

Anonymous said...

Thing is..IF Thierry makes the meeting..she seals the deal..more or less. I demand a RECOUNT!

Anonymous said...

What does the Home Rule charter say about this? I want an independent legal opinion!

uncle remus said...

only in norco

Anonymous said...

How does this get corrected?

Bernie O'Hare said...

On Thursday night, I would expect and demand a do-over.

Bernie O'Hare said...

7:06, I updated my post with a link to the HRC.

Bernie O'Hare said...

7:02, I'd agree. I also question whether there was a quorum. You can't allow one Council member to participate by phone (Ferraro) while denying that same right to another (Kraft).

Matt M. said...

The "we don't have the technology" comment McClure made is pure BS. Google+ hangouts, skype, hell, even a cell phone on speaker mode could have sufficed. It's 2013... I can talk to my second cousin who is a retired pastor right now on Skype for no additional cost beyond my internet service.

This is what's wrong with Government.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Matt, If they can't accommodate both, they can't decide to let one vote and not another.

This is totally wrong, and on so many levels.

Also, you think that these folks would show up for a frickin' reorganization. I understand Ken has the flu, but the rest of them should have been there.

Matt M. said...

Bernie,

Agreed. Furthermore, if they don't posses the knowledge or capacity to be able to accommodate ALL members for general meetings, then critical decisions shouldn't be voted on.

Maybe I should run for council!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Go for it!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the HRC chapter and verse. What was the rush? Was this so crucial? Unfriggin' believable.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I suppose it is bc the HRC also states that reorganization shall occur the first Monday in January. But I think they could say they started on Monday, so they met the requirements of the Charter.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I neglected to include the link to the HRC in my update, and have corrected that oversight.

Anonymous said...

This smells of..dare I say..collusion? No wonder Angle was hissed when he got kicked to the curb by these two characters.

Anonymous said...

Where the heck were Werner and Gilbert? Total no-shows for the annual election of officers. At least Kraft had an excused absence. And Thierry claims to have had the wrong date. Give me a break! What a joke.

Anonymous said...

Some times..it's more expedient politically.. to stay away from known, bad situations. You have to have a quorum to take any kind of legitimate, legal action. So much for the sunshine law. The royal couple have no clothes on..

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thierry did screw up, and when she found out she had the days mixed up, she dashed off to the courthouse. She arrived just as the meeting ended. That I can understand. Certainly I can understand the flu, too. Ken Kraft is quite ill, although I did offer to take his place. So did Seth Vaughn.

I am presuming Werner and Gilbert were working, but they may have had more serious maters.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"This smells of..dare I say..collusion? No wonder Angle was hissed when he got kicked to the curb by these two characters."

Absilutely. The three involved in Angle's coup - Cusick, Ferraro and Dietrich - just happen to be the three involved in this nonsense.

Matt M. said...

Why was a reorganizational meeting held at 4:30 in the afternoon? As I understand it, county council isn't a full-time job, and many of the members have 'day-jobs'

I know, a rhetorical question in some ways, but still...

Matt M. said...

http://nccvid.northamptoncounty.org/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=218&doctype=MINUTES

Bernie O'Hare said...

I can only say that is when it always has been done. Not a very good answer, I know.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'm surprised the video is up. Thanks.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I suspect that in this election cycle, all three Rs who participated in this obvious rejection of democracy, will find that they themselves are rejected. It is a total joke.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I do not understand this. Peg has been around a long time and even though she was overseas, she had to know this was not kosher. Even, and I stress even, if this is techincally legal it was still wrong and worse boneheaded.

It seems like over the past few years and even with these new folks we have an inferior group of county council people.

What is their deal? Do they have a clue? It just seems like amateur hour over and over again.

Very sad.

Anonymous said...

Sad is the correct term to use here. Throw the bums out at the next election. Remember what took place on their watch...pathetic.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Peg should have realized that 3 persons should not decide a question as important as the County's leadership. And I do question the legality. In addition to believing that the President must be elected by 5 members, I believe that Ken Kraft, along with the Bethlehem District he represents was disenfranchised. Perhaps McClure has that wrong, but that is what he said.

Anonymous said...

Bernie-

PA Code no longer has copies of all the local charters on its site.

If the charter provides that the president serves at the pleasure of council, then 5 members can replace Cusick whenever they want. If that is the case, then the decision is much like a motion or resolution, as Lauer ruled.

Absolutely agree that if one member of council attended by phone that all who so desired should have been accommodated. A cell phone on the dais next to a mike would suffice.

Anonymous said...

http://www.northamptoncounty.org/northampton/lib/northampton/depts/countyexecutive/charter.pdf

Better link for the charter- looks like the election is for the year, not at the pleasure of council.

Bernie O'Hare said...

pa code no longer lists the charters, but I can still access it. I prefer that link bc I can get to specific sections of the HRC.

http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/348/348toc.html

There is little doubt in my mind that the election was illegal.

Section 604. Resolutions
(a) ACTS REQUIRED. "The County Council shall adopt a resolution for any act which it intends to express its consensus or for any act required by law to be a resolution".

I looked up the meaning of consensus in "The American Heritage Dictionary" and it states "CONSENSUS..an opinion or position reached by a group as a whole or by majority will."

Based on that definition, and the intent of the Home Rule Charter, (not to mention common sense) I would take the position that you need five votes of Council.