Thursday, January 03, 2013

Will Osborne & Cusick Stay on Top?

It's reorganization time, when local boards reconstitute themselves. Believe it or not, there's lots of back room dealing as local pols decide on who will head some local Board of Commissioners for the length of one entire year. It's always entertaining in Northampton County, where Ann McHale and Ron Angle have both been stabbed in the back in recent years. But this year, both counties have their share of drama.

Brad Osborne (Lehigh) and John Cusick (Northampton) are the current top dogs. Both have been mentioned as possible Executive candidates in this year's elections. But do their colleagues want to give them a leg up, however infinitesimal that might seem?

Brad Osborne might very well be out in Lehigh. He drew the ire of some Republican board members late last year, when he agreed to a compromise in the budget without informing them. "He did not inform the majority," complained Vic Mazziotti. "He hasn't called since. Maybe he's planning on changing parties." In addition to this communications breakdown, Comm'r Scott Ott might be eyeing the Executive seat as well.

John Cusick might be a bit more secure in Northampton, but not by much. The four Democrats on Council just need to lure one Republican to can Cusick, denying him any edge. They might be more comfortable with Peg Ferraro, who opposed Gracedale's sale and has always wanted to be Council President. Ferraro led the coup to get rid of Angle when he was in charge at Northampton, and that was solely because she could not be VP under him. Being Council President might make her look more appealing to voters this Fall, when Democrats take a hard charge at sweeping all five at-large seats.

Reorganizations typically occur on the first Monday of January, which will be next week.

Here's what I don't get. In Lehigh County, Brad Osborne or Scott Ott can vote for himself, but has to agree to forego the small pay increase associated with being the Chair. That way he is not voting for something in which he has a direct financial interest.

In Northampton County, however, Cusick voted for himself last year and accepted the pay hike. That's likely a violation of the State Ethics Act.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Dem's should pettion Ron Angle to get his girl Barb Thiery to support a Dem like Parsons to stick it to all theR' And D' he felt screwed him. That way no one gets any leg up, it is basically a push.

Now that would really make for a fun deal.

Anonymous said...

Alright Bernardo, it is a new year. Time for your candidate predictions.

Who will be running for their parties nomination for County Executivre in both parties. Who will be running for their parties nomination to county council in both parties.

The inquiring mind(less) want to know!

Uncle Remus said...

sack all of them and start all over

Anonymous said...

We elect pension sloppers who waste our money building monuments to themselves. Then, we name the monument after the sleazy politician. The first dozen guys released from NCP this week would be more honorable stewards.

Hokie Joe said...

C'mon Bernie. You're grasping at straws here. Think about this for a minute. If Cuscik voted for an annual raise in Council's salary or a raise in the Executive salary (as a member of Council only they can vote for the raises) does that then mean he can't run for the job because it's a raise in pay? Yikes Bernie. No conflict of interest here. Also, If the council were split 5 to 4 on party lines they would never have a majority of 5 votes if they stick to voting their party. It would always be 4 to 4 with one abstention. The alternative is for the courts to name the president of county Council. Really!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Hokie, What I am saying is that he is probably violates the Ethics Act when he, or anyone else on Council, votes on a matter in which he or she has a direct financial interest. That's why in LC, the Chairman of the Board waives the salary increase. Voting to raise the salary of the Exec, when an announced candidate for the job, would probably also be a violation. Since the increase is so small, the state might view this as de minimis. But why push it?

NLVlogic said...

I just finished watching the meeting hours and hours of budget video. It is very true, Osborne let DA Martin, Judge Banach, Judge McGinley, and even Mr. Hanzel speak unfettered for as long as they wished, while he limited mere members of the public to no more than 3 minutes. I have a small problem with that. It procedurally may smack against the First Amemdment and creates an elite class of speakers.

Worse tho, Osborne looked visibly very angry when Ott and Maziotti questioned that tacct via a point of order. The points were correctly made. Osborne's anger was misplaced.

As an aside, and after viewing the above politicing, I now think it best NOT to appoint a chairman who intends to run for executive. I'd rather not see one use the position of chairman as pulpit for a run for executive. It will taint all actions. That goes both to Ott and Osborne.

Anonymous said...

Expect Sheller to be the chair in LC. Ott doesn't have the interest in doing the heavy work and being a target. Osborne won't get the votes.

Anonymous said...

It won't matter in Northampton County. Mr. Reibman will be the next County Executive and County Council will be less relevent.

NLVlogic said...

What I am saying is that he is probably violates the Ethics Act when he, or anyone else on Council, votes on a matter in which he or she has a direct financial interest

I understand your opinion given the text of the Ethics Act, but you must also look to the enabling municipal code or charter. Its not a violation for a Township supervisor to vote with the Township board on his or her appointment to a paid position as Roadmaster or any other Township paid employee position, but it certainly smacks of self interest, which is why I never sought Township employment. Precedent under th Act does not preclude a supervisor from voting for his or her own employment, so it likely may not preclude one voting his or her self as chairman, despite any additional stipend.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's interesting, NLV. I have not researched the matter. I believe LC's Solicitor did, and made the recommendation I mention. But NC Council's Solicitor, I believe, may have reached the opposite conclusions. In any event, if there is a violation of the Ethics Act, it is by no means intentional.

NLVlogic said...

Ott doesn't have the interest in doing the heavy work and being a target.

Total BS. Ott already made himself a target. Tell me how he has not! He ran for executive, spoke against CBGs, and let a budget effort against the public rebuke of the DA and two sitting judges! He is already a target! Don't talk so dumb!

NLVlogic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NLVlogic said...

Sorry, accidental double post

NLVlogic said...

The LC Solicitor position appears much more political in recent history as compared to the former appointments. I'd be interested to read both County opinions on the subject, should they ever be released.

NLVlogic said...

I believe LC's Solicitor did, and made the recommendation I mention. But NC Council's Solicitor, I believe, may have reached the opposite conclusions.

I'll state it more plainly. The Ethics Act has not been read so broadly as to preclude a Supervisor from voting for his appointment as Roadmaster because the Township code permits a Supervisor to work as Roadmaster for the Township. I would expect a Commissioner could vote for his appointment to Chairman despite a stipend in the same way, though it should rightfully draw criticism. I would hope the appointee aviod it, tho I think the law is on his side.

Anonymous said...

Lisa "My Daddy made me rich" Scheller has no clue as to being a political pundit, she is a slater with one year as an elected official, would love to see her as chairman of the board just to watch her crash and burn then resign

Anonymous said...

NLVlogic that only applies to second class and lower townships, not first class tosnhips, boroughs and cities

NLVlogic said...

NLVlogic that only applies to second class and lower townships, not first class tosnhips, boroughs and cities

Which means exactly my point. One must read the relevant municipal code/charter, not merely the Act.

Anonymous said...

Lisa is a self made women who pulled herself up by her own boot straps. How dare you?
She is a beacon to the poor and disposessed.
Another Lehigh County GOP success story.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:36

It must be awful to be consumed by jealousy as you seem to be.

I feel sorry for you,