Friday, February 28, 2014

Tom Muller's SOTC: Where Do I Cut?

I usually photograph the back of Muller's head. 
The moment he called me a member of the pseudo press, I liked Tom Muller. That was several years ago> He's got a good sense of humor, including the ability to laugh at himself. He is also very blunt.

Both of these characteristics were manifest in his inaugural State of the County address. Commissioners want him to eliminate the deficit and increase reserves without a tax hike, which would require $14 million in spending cuts when there is only $111 million in real estate tax dollars as a starting point. His response is to ask Commissioners what County services they want to cut.

Here's his speech:

I think I’ll start with what many of you would like to think of as the conclusion and disappoint you. As in my campaign, I am not going to make any promises or conjectures about the County’s tax rate moving forward. To do so would be both premature and disingenuous. The average Lehigh County residential tax bill for 2014 is $676, which is lower than it was ten years ago. The challenge is to get to a consensus with our citizens on the proper balance of taxes and services.

Certainly, my first few weeks in this position have had more than their fair share of discord with our Board of Commissioners, some of whom are only focused on tax rates and the political safety in promises, whether they can be kept or not. So far, we’ve disagreed on everything from a critical Cabinet appointment to a town meeting.

So, you might ask, what are the County’s prospects and how will we make progress?

Fortunately, our Lehigh County is recovering steadily from the recession, our County government is financially sound and all we need to come to grips with collectively is determining the balance our citizens want between taxes and services.

Let’s take a look at some of the basic economic indicators:

•      By all measures, the housing market is recovering, with both sales and prices up except for the past few weeks where the weather has played a heavy hand.
•      Employment is improved, although there is still substantial progress to be made.
•      Companies are back to giving pay increases.
•      Even during the recession, companies such as Ocean Spray chose to commit to the area and Fedex seems poised to deliver a major distribution hub.
*      Downtown Allentown’s transformation due to the NIZ has been a boon to the construction market and will soon be adding significantly to the tax rolls.

Meanwhile, at the same time the federal government was being downgraded by S&P, Lehigh County’s bond ratings were increased to Aa1. That enabled us to realize a debt service reduction of $5 million, which was returned to the taxpayers via a one-time tax credit. Bond rating improvements are not accomplished easily and you may be surprised to know that the Administration’s willingness to raise taxes that year contributed significantly to the deliberations of both Moody’s and S and P.

The best news in borrowing is that I don’t foresee the need to seek new financing in the next four years, although we will continue to look for re-financing opportunities. In fact, we just took a $500K opportunity for 2014 to the Board of Commissioners last night.

Our infrastructure is sound, probably more so than any other county in the State, and our only pending needs are to address the Old Courthouse and replace our legacy IT system, which will be unsupported by 2020.

We have been ahead of the curve on efforts to keep our 44 bridges fully functional and recent legislation enabling counties to add $5 to auto registration fees for such efforts could ensure that no real estate tax dollars will ever be needed again for County bridges or roads.

The financial issue that seems to keep some folks up at night is our continuing budget gap. The 2014 Adopted Budget was balanced by just over $8 million in reserves; when the Cunningham Administration, took office in 2006, we were handed both a tax cut and a budget gap of $6.6 million.

You see, politicians find it much easier to run for office committing to cut taxes. That was the case in 2005 and in 2009 and it was the case again in 2013 when a proposed one-time tax credit was converted to a permanent tax cut, instantly adding to the 2014 budget gap. The tax cut was political nonsense akin to asking your boss for a permanent cut in pay when you’re having difficulty making ends meet.

Fortunately, as part of the welcome to me in my new role, our Board of Commissioners has offered me “guidance” for the 2015 budget by setting out three simple desires: No tax increase, eliminate the deficit and build the reserves. Someone must be running for re-election in 2015!

The fact is that their “guidance” equates to coming up with roughly $14 million in spending cuts from tax spending of $111 million and they are unwilling to identify what they would cut because citizen support could be lacking and there could be repercussions at the polls next year.

Another way to look at the “guidance” I’ve gotten is to recognize that the $14 million spending cut would be 12.6 cents of every tax dollar spent. Consider the fact that almost 72 cents of every tax dollar goes to our public safety areas (Courts, Corrections, District Attorney, Crime Center, Sheriff, Public Defender, 911 Center and so on) and another 14 cents is debt service. That leaves only 14 cents for everything else the County does and they are suggesting a 12.6 cent reduction.

Also consider the fact that, while the County’s population has grown approximately 1% per year since 1990, the County’s workforce is now 8% below where it was in 1990 and County government is a people-intensive service business; we can’t easily automate or ship our jobs overseas.

Let’s just leave that budget “guidance” as direction that must be countered with a simple statement: “Tell me what you no longer want the County to do.”

Our nursing homes got a fair share of negative press late last year due to the increase in the required County support to over $6 million. The driver for that bad news was the combination of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements not keeping pace with healthcare costs and an increase in empty beds as more seniors choose to stay at home. That latter trend is expected to shift in the medium term but we have some experts in nursing home operations evaluating all that we do at the two Cedarbrook homes and look forward to some good ideas we can implement now to cut costs or increase revenues.

On a parallel path, we are in conversations with other healthcare providers to determine if collaboration on services can help the situation or if there is a demand from the private sector for some complementary use of available space. I have made it clear that my position is that the County should retain Cedarbrook, but I also believe we need to tweak the business model to some degree to recognize today’s issues.

Now, I’d like to talk a little bit about how I plan to move forward in this somewhat hostile environment and with financial challenges. Broadly, the answer is simple; I plan to connect with the citizens as no other County Executive has done to determine what is important to them and use that knowledge to develop plans and budgets. During my campaign I said I planned to get to every municipality’s council meeting at least once per year; although the weather got in the way in February, I’ve managed to attend 7 of the 25 and one school district meeting so far, had some great conversations and learned a lot.

Next month I will hold my first “town hall” meeting at the Government Center and we are working on a system to engage citizens online to weigh in on issues and priorities. I also held a “town meeting” on the controversial Hamilton Crossings TIF because I heard from many citizens that they were interested and there was a lot of confusion on the subject. I happen to support that project personally because it generates over $20 million in wages every year and only requires the taxing bodies to forego taxes they don’t even collect now. Even if I didn’t support it, the citizens have a right to get answers to their questions. That’s true transparency and that’s how I plan to operate.

I also want to try to identify both public-private partnerships as we did with the combined Coroner’s Center and Cetronia Ambulance headquarters, which saved each partner millions and should open in late July. And I want to pursue regional partnerships which would provide the coveted “win-win” end result. I’m optimistic that John Brown and I will find ways to collaborate for the good of our counties and look forward to the day we aren’t making process-related headlines and can put our heads together for the good of our counties.

I also plan to continue working to take costs out of our systems, sharpen the focus on outcomes or results and eliminate any function that isn’t needed. Along that line, we have just notified our employees that we are closing our juvenile detention center and have agreements with Northampton County and others to meet our housing needs. There has been a significant reduction in incarcerated juveniles in the wake of the Luzerne County scandal and with the adoption of more sophisticated methods of evaluating troubled juveniles. Some experts suggest the pendulum may swing back a few years from now so we will simply mothball our excellent center and reduce our overall costs by an estimated $750K annually. What has been terrific about this effort is that there has been collaboration among all involved parties to ensure that the savings are realized without an impact on services.

I remain a firm believer that, first and foremost, our citizens want to be safe and public safety efforts such as our regional crime center will remain as top priorities. In fact, I hope we’ll be able to count Northampton County as a full partner in the crime center in the near future. Criminals don’t recognize county borders so we have to effectively work across those borders.

I’ve also gotten strong reinforcement from our business leaders and citizens that what makes Lehigh County a great place to live and work is the broad range of quality of life options available to everyone. While County investments in such destinations could be among the first on the chopping block for ultra conservatives, I plan to continue those commitments and “double down” with the Planning Commission in determining how we can best bring the inventory of athletic playing fields in line with the boom we’ve seen in youth sports as the County’s population has soared. I am a firm believer that sports involvement helps bind families and keep kids on the right track.

Will all of these plans sync with the $676 average residential tax bill? Time will tell, but my commitment is to have citizen inputs weigh heavily on budget issues. I’ve observed that, as politicians move up the ladder and get further away from those who elected them, they rely more on the inputs from major campaign contributors and their own political agenda and less on those who put them in office. I am extremely humbled at having been chosen to run this outstanding county of ours and pledge not to lose focus on those who are most important—the citizens of Lehigh County. Thank you.

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is why I prefer to have a female boss so that when you get fucked, at least you're getting something out of it!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Very intelligent response, completely devoid of substance, yet appropriately vulgar. And anonymous, of course.

Anonymous said...

Muller is an arrogant ass. He is devoid of any real humor unless it is at someone else's expense.
He is a legend in his own mind just ask him.

Much like many similar scenarios you like the guy because you hate Scott Ott.

You are so transparent.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I supported Muller over Ott, but have nothing against him personally and agree with some of his positions. I suspect you are an expert on the subject of hate. Now try commenting with substance. I know it makes your head hurt, but if you can't address anything substantively, I will be deleting.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an excellent speech. Actions speak louder than words and already he is showing actions and staying true to his convictions. He is on point with transparency and input from the people.

Let's always remember, We the People! Govt at any level work for us the people.

Anonymous said...

Spiced with hostility. He ought to borrow John Brown`s public relation`s firm.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The only public pronouncement made by Brown was spiced with hostility, too, and became fodder for a Bill White column. If Commissioners want him to reduce spending by $14 million, I believe he's well within his rights to ask where. What core County function should be suspended?

Anonymous said...

Actually Bernie, Muller is on the record with the Express Times on Oct 27 in an interview that his skill and experience will allow him to close the deficit without a tax hike. He clearly made a commitment based on a budget he we'll understands. Now he is using the old political sleight of hand to say it is up to the commissioners to advise him. These are the same commissioners his keen sense of humor caused him to call terrorists recently. Muller needs to confront his own commitments to voters, recognize nearly half of them opposed him and get on with coming to terms with a deficit of his own making.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Those are Colin McEvoy's words, not Muller's. I don't see him quoted saying that. In fact, it's impossible without deep cuts in core county functions.

If I'm wrong, please enlighten us all .

Anonymous said...

If what McEvoy wrote was false, I don't recall Muller asking for a correction

Bernie O'Hare said...

Colin McEvoy is an excellent reporter, but he is not quoting Muller. I never noticed your point until tonight, and it's a good observation, but I just don't think Muller would say that at any time, especially in this last election cycle. His whole campaign was premised on Ott's failure to cut taxes , cut spending and wipe out the deficit.

County government is nothing like state or federal government. Or the private sector. You only have control over about 1/3 of the money coming in, and most of that is committed to paying for what Don Cunningham liked to call the "back end of crime." So where do you cut?

Also, unlike the private sector, you can't manufacture a product that increases sales. The only thing you can do is increase the value of property being taxed.

Not a lot of wiggle room. Sometimes, you really need to raise taxes.

You can punish the workforce and try to balance the budget on their backs, but Lehigh's workforce is lower now than in the 80s.

I agree with some of the things that LC Comm'rs have done. I think the Hamilton TIF is a bad idea, and agreed with rejecting a block grant that spent an obscene amount of money for affordable housing. I agree that there is all kinds of waste in the grants process. But I disagree with the political maneuvering against Dan McCarthy, or the notion that the county can just cut $14 million.

I wish they would try harder to work with Muller, who comes from the business world and knows a thing or two about money. I also think they should join him when he visits municipalities for their medtings. I learn so much when I do that, sand am amazed that Muller has decided to do that, too.

Anonymous said...

Mulller is now ready to pick up his new corvette and planning on his big pension to cover his country club dues in a few years.

Life is good.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Come on Bernie, did Colin just make it up? He clearly is reflecti g what muller said to him. I believe the same promise was made in MC articles as well. If Muller wanted to work with these commissioners he, as executive would treat them with respect. They do not smear him. Muller is just another political prostitute protecting the cronies your yourself Bernie love to hate.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:44

Muller is asking to the Commissioners to step up to the plate, engage in the budget process and deliver on the promises they have repeatedly made to voters. Plain and simple.

Three years ago Ott and his gang said they had a 'plan" to eliminate the 16% tax increase and balance the budget. Again last year as a candidate for County Executive, Ott (who was supported by Scheller, Mazziotti and Schware) said he had a plan to prevent any tax increase in 2015. Now that it is time to start working on the 2015 budget, don't you think it is also time we found out the details of either one of those "plans"? The Commissioners are a co-equal branch of County government so it is time for them to act like it and give specific recommendations.

Anonymous said...

6:40 -

Just last year, Muller told the Express Time and others that he could handle the budget deficit without a tax hike.

Muller won the race, not Ott.

The commissioners have merely asked Muller to produce a budget in line with what Muller told the voters he could do.

Was Muller merely lying in October in order to get elected?

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for John Brown to make his state of the county address. When is it and how do I get to go and listen?

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:50:

You are focusing on an observation made by McEvoy and trying to convert that into an iron clad promise by Muller. Nice try but no dice.

Regardless of whatever McEvoy may have understood, the Commissioners have now changed the equation by their request that Muller now produce a budget that not only avoids a tax increase, but also increases the County's reserve fund. That is the very fund that the R's reduced last year by a 7-2 vote. The Commissioners were complicit in reducing that fund and since they now want it increased they are obligated to participate in that process. So once again, where are their plans??

Anonymous said...

7:15

MJ/Tom, is that you?

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:34 - Lisa/Wayne, is that you?

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:15

So maybe Muller should focus on backing up his statement that MacEvoy "observed" (and Muller never disputed), the Commissioners can back off INCREASING the reserve fund (and accept that holding steady instead), and the end result is the taxpayers win.

That seems like a far better approach than Muller throwing insults at the commissioners.

When running, Muller did say he could work with members of the other party. The measure Muller is whining about passed unanimously, including members of his own party. Can Muller get along with anyone?

Anonymous said...

Wow. 6 million for a 2 star nursing home? I wonder what a 5 start would cost. Sheesh.

http://health.usnews.com/best-nursing-homes/area/pa/gracedale-northampton-county-395476

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Can Muller get along with anyone?"

He gets along quite well with both parties./ I can't say that for the Ott block.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have read to read one specific, concrete idea for reducing the deficit without raising taxes. Instead all I am getting are personal attacks.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:22:

The Commissioners stated that they want no tax increase, that they want to eliminate an $8 million deficit (that they helped cause) and that they want to add $5 million to the reserve fund (the same fund they voted in 2013 to decrease). Muller is just calling the Commissioners on their rhetoric and asking them to be part of the solution. I didn't see any insults in Muller's remarks - pointed comments yes, but no insults.

And speaking of insults, on Wednesday some the Commissioners stated that Muller's appointment of McCarthy was because of cronyism. They also stated that McCarthy could not be taken at his word - basically saying he is a liar. And the ultimate insult was Ott saying that McCarthy was unqualified. I guess Ott based that statement on the fact that McCarthy was never a school bus driver. After all Ott did say that was all the training he needed to be the Executive for Lehigh County.

Time for the Otters to stop whining and to start offering their solutions.

Bernie O'Hare said...

How very constructive of them.

Mr. Green Jeans said...

Oh Captain! My Captain!

Anonymous said...

I believe the Commissioners have stated on numerous occasions that they are willing to work with the Administration to help on the budget.

I also believe that the closing of the Juvenile Detention Facility (and the associated savings that come with the closure), which Muller announced yesterday, was in fact something that the commissioners had brought up last year at budget time and got the ball rolling on.

That was before Muller took office, and was conveniently omitted from Muller's phony narrative.

Guy Williams said...

Of all the LC Commissioners Mr. Mazziotti has the experience and former position in Va to be able to respond to Mr. Muller. Okay Vic heres your chance to shine,heres your chance to show political courage. How do you close the gap? Let the rest blow smoke step up to the plate and tell us the plan.

Anonymous said...

Guy Williams:

You are right on point. The Commissioners have been long on promises and short on specifics. No one wants a tax increase and everyone would like to see a balanced budget with plenty of cash in reserve. The question is how do you achieve that given that Lehigh County currently has an $8 million structural deficit and is short by about $5 million in its reserve fund. Passing resolutions won't find that money. It will take hard work and specific ideas - specific ideas, by the way, that Vic and company said they had when they ran for office. Now is the time to bring those specific ideas forward so there can be a public debate on their merits.

Or could it be that Vic and friends never really had any specific plans or ideas to begin with?

Anonymous said...

It seems that Muller is the one without specific plans or ideas.

His main purpose seems to be to prove to the taxpayers (in February) that the commissioners are wrong to want a no-tax hike budget and a tax hike is necessary for next year.

That's not leadership, that's fulfilling a personal vendetta at taxpayer expense.

It's funny, I don't remember Muller campaigning by saying that he'd be giving us a tax hike. Quite the contrary, he said HE had a plan and touted his experience with county budgets.

After only two months in office, the best he can come up with is blame the other guy? Maybe he should run for President.

Anonymous said...

Every suggestion made by reform comissioners has been immediately criticized and rejected. Recently Scheller proposed lowering the guaranteed rate of return on the County DB pension plan to a still (in todays world) attractive 4% from 5.5%. which would have saved the County $1.3 million of that deficit. She was called Marie Antoinette by this blogger. Attempts to eliminate the zoo subsidy was rejected. Muller taking credit for closing the Juvenile detention facility was the Reform commissioners initiative which tells you something about Mr. Mullers leadership skills and the flaws of his basic nature. There are any number of other examples of this. Muller perfected the three card monty strategy for avoiding responsibility during his time with former Executive Cunningham. Demand commissioner input, reject everything as unrealistic, exterme or ignorant and then start the cycle again. While this is a fools errand, it is the taxpayer left holding the bag when Executive Muller is catering to the beneficiaries of the staus quo rather than leading effectively to confront the tough decisions that must be made. The significant tax hike to come will be on his shoulders but be assured he will try to shrug that off the commisioners.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Scheller did make that suggestion, and as I pointed out, you'd only need about 150 more of those to matter. I disagreed with it, too. But let's assume you're right and I'm wrong about that one about that one. Where is the $14 million? The savings were very low, though I believe we argued about that, too. But assuming you are right, it's way short of what is needed.

Anonymous said...

Its a start and there is a lot more work to do. But you avoided the point of having each and every idea objected to. Or are you saying that Muller expects the commissioners to solve the entire problem with Executive responsibility? What the heck do we need an Executive for then? Under the Home Rule CHarter it is clearly the Executive who has ultimate responsibility for the Budget. As stated the Commissioners as a whole have made many suggestions and none have been taken up by Muller. The one idea that the Reformers did make on the Juvenile detention facility was used by Muller without attribution to them at all. That doesnt foster cooperation. That is not leadership. I challenge you, Bernie, to place the same bureden on Muller. Ask him for his specific suggestions for how he intends to close the deficit and avoid raising taxes. Thats an important question since it is his primary responsibility. Put the shoe on the other foot and don't make Colin Mcavoy a fool.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Look, I do not think part-timers can be expected to come up with all the ideas.But when they say cut spending, eliminate deficit and don't raise taxes, I think it's fair to ask for a bit of help.

The fact that Comm'rs did not even appear for Muller's address reveals just how bad and petty things are. You work for the people, and should be there. Regardless how you feel about Muller, he is the Exec and you should respect his office. Stop the pettiness already. Election's over. Time to govern.

Anonymous said...

Why not contact McEvoy to confirm what Muller said or didn't say?

Anonymous said...

Your right, the election is over and Muller should start to govern.

Too bad the commissioners didn't show up in person for Muller's insult-fest, and to hear Muller take credit for something they initiated.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You can do that if you wish. I should have caught that at the time, but seriously doubt Muller said it quite that way. he was running against a guy who was saying that, and Muller was saying that is kooky. And it is.

Anonymous said...

And he should respect their office as well. Calling elected officials terrorists does not support your thesis of respect. And again Bernie, beyond the several ideas listed above which have all been suggested and rejected you fail to address the Juvenille Detention Center and Mullers plagerism. It is despite Mullers insults and disrespect that the Commisionners continue to propose ideas. I know you are a self described bottom feeding blogger but there is a limit no? You are not a bottomless feeding blogger are you?

Bernie O'Hare said...

No, Tom Muller should not call you terrorists. I've read Wayne Woodman make that claim on MM's blog, but I have not read that anywhere except there and in your comment. But if he said that, he should apologize. The more you beat each other up, the more the people you serve will suffer. You need to get it together, both sides, and start to govern.

Try to be more like Northampton County. If you want, I'll ask Ron Angle to come over and act as a mediator. I think he just became a consultant, and I know how you Rs love them.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"You are not a bottomless feeding blogger are you?"

No, it's a pretty big bottom, actually.

Anonymous said...

Wow, 41 posts and finally something everyone can agree on.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with Muller. Heard him speak and thought he sounded intelligent, but disagreed with his point. It's a thankless job. He looks to me like Captain Kangaroo, though.

Bernie O'Hare said...

God, why would anyone want to hold any office? No matter what, they get attacked. But it is funny.

Anonymous said...

Isn't everybody tired of being taxed?

We've got the state raising the gas tax.

Now they want to charge a $5 tax on registrations for bridges that apparently the gas tax increase won't cover.

LVEDC wants a tax.

Your school district and town probably raised your taxes for 2014.

And now Muller thinks Lehigh County taxpayers should be ok with our taxes because "he" thinks they are low. We should be ok with a lazy try at working on the budget.

Will he cut $12 million? Never. But he could look at Cedarbrook. The Velodrome. The Quality of Life grants. Not giving money to developers.

Does the County really need to be using money at the Velodrome? Funding a Shakespeare festival? Paying for a Costco?

The answer is no.

And would somebody tell Jim Martin that he isn't above doing more with less?

The problem is Muller is a status quo guy through and through. Everything right now is awesome in his eyes. The Board, whether you like them or hate them, is putting him into a position where he doesn't want to be in deviating from the status quo.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Frank Kane could come up with a plan. That is if he ever put down his phone. Does that guy still have a "job"?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Drop the personal attacks and try to govern.

Anonymous said...

The terroist comment is on wfmz.com from a story on Dan McCarthy's appointment dated 2/1/14

Bernie O'Hare said...

Ahhh, I see the comment. It its located here:

http://www.wfmz.com/news/news-regional-lehighvalley/lehigh-county-executive-outmaneuvers-commissions-on-appointment/-/132502/24238188/-/item/2/-/4mre08z/-/index.html

You'll note that reporter Randy Kraft wrote that Muller was joking. I thought he might have said it in a moment of anger, but it now appears he was just joking. My guess is that Muller would apologize to anyone offended by that joke, but it's a bit thin-skinned to get worked up over something like that.

Anonymous said...

A quip is not a joke but rather a brief remark. And marginalizing people through quips is old hand politics. Put in the aggregate of his behavior towards the commisioners Mr Muller is in need of a more appropriate method of communication. And Bernie, for goodness sake, you should at least acknowledge that. Mullers arrogance and disrespect are in direct contradiction to a serious leader trying to solve serious problems.

Bernie O'Hare said...

According to the WFMZ account you mention, Muller is depicted as joking. You call it a quip, which is a fancier word for a joke. Muller does quite a bit of that, but he's been given lots of material. He also is capable of laughing at himself. But if he thought his joke (or quip) offended Comm'rs, I'm sure he'd apologize and try to do better.

A "state of the county" address is a requirement of the Home Rule Charter. It is considered a big deal. It is historically attended by other branches of Lehigh government, as well as representatives of NC, state reps, state senators. When Commissioners fail to attend, they are not just slapping Muller. They are actually being disrespectful of the government. I understand that have skipped others as well. This is wrong. And now you are using a joke or a quip to justify your insult last year.

Anonymous said...

Kane is the Captain's Mr. Green Jeans. A foil with no other useful purpose. Stop sucking up to Muller, BO.

Anonymous said...

So I guess the executive Tin Muller calling an elected Commissioner Vic Mazziotti a liar in a public meeting is a good thing! Maybe Muller was only joking there too!! http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/lehigh-county/index.ssf/2014/01/controversial_lehigh_county_ap.html

Bernie O'Hare said...

I thought that the terrorist quip or joke is what has all of you blowin' oil. That's what Wayne Woodman said. Now it's the liar remark. Let's review that, shall we. At the meeting that occurred prior to this one, Comm'rs were told Dougherty would only be able to vote by phone. They asked the Solicitor to make sure a vote by phone is legally permitted, and recessed. I am sure they were told this kind of vote is permissible under the Sunshine Act. In fact, I happen to know case law permits it, and have seen it several times. But at the next meeting, even though it is legal, you refused to allow the vote. I watched both videos, and believe Muller has every right to feel he was misled. This is pretty basic stuff, and should transcend politics. If you can't honor your word, you're pretty low. Now I get there was no direct lie, but you acted deceptively and without honor. I would not do that. I would take great pains to be fair and honest, even if it hurts. It's hard to respect what you did that night,

Anonymous said...

No, its the finger pointing, which is not appropriate in a State of Lehigh County address, especially with fingers pointing back at you. The election is over but I get it, they can blame each other but hey, its only 2 months in for the Executive! That's how to win cooperation. That's leadership says you, but well that's bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Here's a place to start cutting back, Discover Lehgh Valley.

There is an individual by the name of George Wacker, who is hob nobbing it up in NYC this weekend and all at taxpayer expense.

Discover Lehigh Valley receives hotel tax dollars as well as state funds which is coming from joe taxpayer, you and me.

His Facebook mention and menu pics with $16 drinks, one can only imagine how much a piece of chicken or steak is going to cost the Lehigh County taxpayers?

Anonymous said...

The entoie tourism racket and the guy Mike S. that runs it is a gravytrain. All insider crap that cost the taxpayers millions.
Time to dump these guys and put in people that are not into ego games.

Anonymous said...

Ask any Lehigh employee, he is just an arrogant ass!

Bernie O'Hare said...

So you say anonymously.

Anonymous said...

he is not an arrogant ass. he is best suited for the job. and he has a corvette. also he was elected by a majority vote so suck it up. as were the commissioners. when he asks the commissioners "what do you want me to cut?" we would expect our elected officials to draft up a plan as they were elected to do. I hope scott thought about that while on his "victory cruise" that he booked before the election. wonder if he filled out any applications while on the road. he really does need a full time job. cmon scott get to work.

Anonymous said...

Musty Muller did the job and protected the Cunningham hacks. He is planning on buying his new corvette with his new money. The vacation house will be upgraded with the new enhanced public pension.

He is as arrogant a sever, a fact even fellow republicans will tell you about him, but he does smile more as he has four more years to cruise on the county dime.