Monday, February 25, 2013

Row Officer Residency Requirement Fails In NorCo

By a 6-3 vote at Thursday night's meeting, Northampton County Council rejected an ordinance that would require all prospective row officers to be residents of the County. Only Lamont McClure, Bob Werner and Ken Kraft supported the measure ... and Controller Steve Barron.

Under our Home Rule Charter, a Controller is "responsible for the internal control of the fiscal transactions of the County." But Barron has acted like a Junior County Exec, injecting himself into numerous policy decisions that have nothing to do with his office. So on Thursday night, after instructing Council that it should reject a centralized human service lease, Barron advocated a residency requirement.

Along the way, he took a mean-spirited shot at Executive John Stoffa.

You see, in 2008, Stoffa had to undergo a hip replacement. While recovering, he named his Director of Administration, John Conklin, as Acting County Executive. But Conklin is a Lehigh County resident.

Now Conklin was no row officer. He was a cabinet level official. He served at the pleasure of Stoffa. But even he did not set policy. He was there to implement whatever Stoffa wanted done. If that including running the County for the four weeks it took Stoffa to recover, that's what he would do.

Now when this happened, nobody minded or complained. Not even Barron. Everyone recognized that Conklin was there to implement Stoffa's will. But five years later, that was suddenly a big problem.

Stoffa told Barron that Conklin's appointment was "my decision." "It doesn't matter," claimed Barron on Thursday night. ,"It was disgusting."

If it was so disgusting, why didn't Barron say something in 2008?

In addition to demeaning the Executive, Barron also confused judicial decisions, which are sometimes made by the Register of Wills, with policy-making. One has nothing to do with the other.

Ken Kraft, who proposed this measure with good intentions, looked like he wanted to craw into a hole after Barron "helped" him.

"I kinda' like the idea of people working for Northampton County living in Northampton County," said Scott Parsons. But at this juncture, he and five other Council members are unwilling to force employees to live here.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kraft and Barron are joined at the hip. I would have thought a keen political observer like you would have known that.

Bernie O'Hare said...

As a "keen" political observer, or just an idiot, let me tell you something. Kraft, very surprisingly, is joined at the hip to no one. He is a union business agent, and will naturally support unions. He will often side with McClure and Barron because that is what he thinks. But he is very much his own man. That is increasingly becoming clear.

Anonymous said...

Oh oh, I smell a new mancrush. There was a timne when Barron was a mancrush, remember?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yes, I remember. I supported him when he ran against John Schimmel, a terrific guy, and I have lived to regret it.

I know Kraft from his days on the Elections Comm'n and Bethlehem's ZHB.

Uncle Remus said...

my opinion:kraft is nothing but a dressed up union goon. your faith in him will come back to bite you one day, much like sleeze barron has.

Anonymous said...

Barron isn`t worth commenting about.

Anonymous said...

the fact that Conklin lived in Lehigh County was disgusting? Does Barron remember that Hickey also lived in Lehigh? was that disgusting too?

Anonymous said...

BVF is a drama queen. Between the ridiculous use of the word "disgusting" to describe an innocent act that no one complained about at the time to his Oprah moment linking his wife's labor to his respect for veterans, this guy knows no boundaries in taste.

Anonymous said...

Barron is a dope!

Bernie O'Hare said...

"s Oprah moment linking his wife's labor to his respect for veterans,"

I'm still trying to figure that one out.

Anonymous said...

Where was Barron as the County finances were going down the toilet with the swaption. If he was any kind of watchdog he would have been on thst like stink on doggy doo. Instead he was playing games with Unions and trying to make himself look good in other areas other than what he is responsible for. He is the man responsible for making the finance system work in Northampton county.
No one else is responsible or has more responsibility for finances and making sure he is truly the watchdog thean he himself. He flunked and we are going to make sure that the fails at his next attempt at retaining his seat as County Controller.

Anonymous said...

"Under our Home Rule Charter, a Controller is "responsible for the internal control of the fiscal transactions of the County."

Anonymous said...



If your a COUNTY ROW OFFICER or in a Management position in the County, YOU SHOULD RESIDE IN THE COUNTY.

Bernie O'Hare said...

There is a difference between "should" and "must." And drop the caps. It's annoying.

Anonymous said...



This is why these positions should be elected....that's how it's done in the other penna. counties.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You have no answered why because there is no logical reason for these row officers to be elected, except for those interested in a return to a patronage system.

Anonymous said...

Ad though those folks aren't being picked by who they are now. Just ask your buddy Stoffa.

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