Friday, August 22, 2014

Divided NorCo Council Requires Future Cabinet, Row Officers To Be Residents

Scott Parsons sponsored residency ordinance
Updated 11:15 am, to include a reaction from the Exec.

By a 5-4 vote, Northampton County Council voted last night to require all cabinet level officials, as well as row officers, to reside within the County. This ordinance is prospective, meaning it has no application to current appointees. It also gives future out-of-county hires a year to find a home in the County.

Leading the charge for the residency requirement was Lamont McClure, who spoke three times in support of the ordinance. "The people who govern you ought to be your neighbors," he reasoned. Scott Parsons believes its omission from the Home Rule Charter was an "oversight" on the part of framers.

But Seth Vaughn countered that it is "overbureaucratic [sic] nonsense" that creates "more of a headache for the Executive." Hayden Phillips added that it "needlessly limits the pool of talent." and points to recently hired Sheriff David Dalrymple, a New Jersey resident, as an example.

Peg Ferraro pointed to the political reality that most cabinet level officials come and go with the Executive, and few will want to move into a job that might only last four years. I strongly believe we have an excellent system in place," she reasoned.

Republican Mat Benol claimed to have always supported a residency requirement. Ironically, it is Benol who argued in July that Council should confirm David Dalrymple as Sheriff despite his New Jersey residency. At that time, he had noted that Dalrymple only lived five miles from the courthouse.

Benol provided the swing vote that all four Democrats needed to pass the ordinance. The remaining four Republicans were opposed.

Will Executive Brown will veto the ordinance?. He appears to be thinking about it. "We are currently evaluating the impact this change will have on the county," Brown states in a prepared statement. "We are also evaluating all of our options to determine what is the best course of action for the county moving forward."

If he does veto, six votes will be needed to override it.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

It may be unconstitutional by state law but I support it. Also we know Brown will veto it and I doubt they can find the extra vote.

This was part of the plan by McClure and company to have excuses to pick his pals when he is the next county executive,(insert laugh). Sorry Mr. Werner, they have no intention of backing you.

The bright side is Brown with all his faults can beat either one of these guys.

Anonymous said...

This R super voter has had enough of Benol. He's an asshole who won't even get my sig on a nominating petition next time. He jumped the shark. Who'd have though he'd be the disappointment and Phillips would perform so well? F off, Mat. And buy another T, will you?

Anonymous said...

Since County taxpayers are paying your wages, why shouldn't we demand you pay your taxes in Northampton county? Your loyalties should be completely to No.Co. Your paycheck is my property tax dollars not New Jersey nor Lehigh County. We butter your bread here. Live here.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, let's limit the ability to attract qualified candidates and pretend there's a Berlin Wall around the county. Let's just secede and form our own incestuous little fiefdom.

Anonymous said...

DUMBEST IDEA EVER! How many of Norco's employees overall do not live in the county? Shouldn't we demand that those delivering the services also be our "neighbors" to quote Lamutt McClueless? They should also be required to live in the county. Then we should proceed with 10:44's idea of building a wall around the county. Let's hope that Brown, representing CE's past and future will veto this stupid ordinance.

Anonymous said...

An interesting question for sure and I see the logic from both sides. During my years as a wage slave, I commuted into New Jersey. Only when I was doing something wrong did I worry about the Jersey police but I never worried about fair and equitable treatment from them, then or now. If Mr. Dalrymple is the best person for the job, I'm OK with it wherever he may reside. On the other side, as a Bethlehem Township resident I wouldn't want someone who lives in another township on my planning or zoning commission.

My biggest objection to this change is the job categories included. Mr. McClure said that "the people that govern you ought to be your neighbors." I agree with that but miss where the coroner or the clerks govern me. And the sheriff is constrained by the law so he has no such power. I think it should have been much more narrow and kept to those jobs that actually have governing abilities.

I would like to see Mr. Brown veto this and then have Mr. Parsons and Mr. Werner resubmit it keeping the job classifications to just those having governing powers.

I also liked Mrs. Ferraro's passion. She is usually so soft spoken that it was a hoot to see that passion. You go, girl.

As always, if I'm wrong on the governing powers of the listed jobs, someone should please educate me.

Ben

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, let's limit the ability to attract qualified candidates"

Ley us all cut to the chase. When has this ever happened. Love the old, "nationwide search" game. After that the candidate is local or part of the organization. Has happened a million times. Also that phrase is just cover for picking the most pliable and loyal person you know. Means noting in the public or private sector and never has.

Anonymous said...

McClusterfuk is right. You're our neighbor or you're our burden.

ALL county employees should be required to live within the county. There should be a deadline to accomplish this, after which outsiders must either resign or pay a commuter tax to the county (on top of the one Sal Panto takes from you for letting you work in Easton).

Anonymous said...

Excuse my ignorance Bernie, but what are Row officers?

Bernie O'Hare said...

You are not ignorant. I am unclear. The row offices got that name because they's be in a row down the hallway from the courtroom. They are the Clerks of Courts, (Civil and Criminal), Register of Wills, Recorder of Deeds, Coroner and Sheriff. Historically, these were elected offices.

Anonymous said...

Hey dummy you forgot the "Treasurer"

Bernie O'Hare said...

There is no "treasurer" in Northampton County. When you want to disparage someone over his facts, it helps if you have your facts right.

Anonymous said...

Only elected officials should be required to be county residents. Cabinet members do NOT govern! They are professional administrators and advisors. The CE should not be hamstrung in choosing the best cabinet he can regardless of their residency.