Friday, January 24, 2014
Welcome to Northampton County, Inc.
He made these remarks after his first real victory before Council. He had to withdraw his controversial choice for Public Defender earlier in the week. Could get his picks for Human Services and DCED Director picks confirmed.
Both are questionable.?
Voice over artist Diane Donaher, Brown's DCED pick, has not worked in economic development in 13 years. Most of her jobs, short-lived ones at that, are in the non-profit sector. During confirmation hearings, she stated that she had worked on a KOZ, a specialized economic development tool, in Bethlehem. But Bethlehem has never had one. She also disparaged the office she will be heading, claiming they are all office types, unlike her.
Allison Frantz, the Human Services choice, was even worse. She acknowledged in confirmation hearings that she's never supervised more than eight people. But as pointed out by Council member Bob Werner, there are 992 Human Services employees, 827 of whom are full-time. In addition, she knows nothing about the County's controversial nursing home, Gracedale, and several other aspects of human services. She has no experience in negotiating union contracts. But Brown picked her because she repeatedly said his magic words - fiscal management. Never mind that her own record in Lehigh County is one of fiscal mismanagement.
Five votes were needed to confirm. There are five Republicans on Council, so this should have been a cinch. But newly elected Council member Glenn Geissinger is off somewhere in the U.S. Virgin Islands, while the rest of us are freezing, the lucky bastard. Now there's a problem. To make things worse, another newly elected Council member, Republican Mat Benol, advised that he had to leave early for a family emergency. A sure thing suddenly became questionable.
Council Prez Peg Ferraro handled this by making sure that Glenn was able to phone in from the Virgin Islands, which is legally permissible. She also stood the agenda on its head, moving these confirmations up in the agenda so Benol could vote and get the hell out of there before Steve DeSalva talked for three hours about generators.
The Frantz nomination passed along party lines, five to three. Council member Bob Werner's argument that this position is not one that should be "viewed as on-the-job training," was rejected.
Frantz will be paid $95, 921, with room to move up to $124,975.
Donaher was confirmed six to two, with only Council members Ken Kraft and Bob Werner dissenting. Noting that Donaher has not worked in economic development in a decade, Kraft complained that a "real powerhouse" is needed.
Kraft also complained about the $80,113 salary, which has room to grow to $114.039.
Council member Lamont McClure was absent, which is why only only eight votes were cast on these votes.
In the meantime, most of Brown's cabinet is still unfilled.