Brown's deal with Plyler was originally an $84,000 no-bid contract, bitterly opposed by all four Democrats on Council. They argued that it was a professional services contract, requiring competitive proposals. Solicitor Vic Scomillio disagreed, calling it a "nonprofessional service done in a professional way."
The contract was ultimately challenged in court by the Controller, who filed a Declaratory Judgment action on April 3. That very day, Executive John Brown responded by ending the contract and agreeing to seek proposals from other forms.
Aside from Sahl, the County considered a proposal by Brian Communications, located in Conshohocken.
Brown is the first Northampton County Executive to ever hire an outside PR firm. Historically, that function has been performed as part of the job responsibilities of a Director of Administration.
Brown's choice for Director of Administration, Cathy Allen, was defeated by County Council by a 6-3 vote in April.