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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, December 19, 2014

NorCo Council: Workhorses, Showhorses and No-Show Horses of 2014

Parsons gives me the hairy eyeball
Who are Northampton County Council's workhorses, show horses and no-showhorses in 2014?What is their attendance, including Committee participation, where most of the real work is done? What is the attendance like for four brand new members of Council, finishing their rookie year?

This is my annual report card, something I have done since 2006.

Northampton County Council met 30 times last year, including four budget hearings.

In addition, its committees met 30 times. Each Council member is encouraged to attend those meetings, regardless whether he or she is a voting member. The committees that do meet are an indication of what issues concern Council members.

As might be expected, Finance and Personnel head that list. They each met nine times last year. Human Services was a hot Committee, too, meeting six times. Other committees doing a lot of heavy lifting were Economic Development (7), Open Space (4) and Capital Projects (3).

But some committees never got rolling. Despite the need to address regionalization and shared services like 911, Peg Ferraro failed to call a single Intergovernmental Committee Hearing this year. Also, though it is more than clear that both the Administrative Code and Home Rule Charter are in dire need of an overhaul, Mat Benol only conducted one meeting for what is now being called the Courts and Corrections Committee.

Below is a table showing attendance at 60 Committee meetings, regular meetings and budget hearings during 2014. As was the case last year, Scott Parsons is Northampton County Council's Workhorse of the Year. He will receive a Major Award from Lehigh Valley Ramblings at the beginning of next year.

Scott is a bue collar worker who worried he might be late or miss committee meetings. But in his years on Council, he has set the pace. He was at an amazing 58 meetings last year, giving him an attendance percentage of 97%. Though he is still ugly, his devotion to the County is inspiring.

We have a tie for #2. Democrat Bob Werner and Republican Glenn Geissinger both attended 54 of 59 meetings, giving them both a 92% attendance. Though they miss out on Parson's Major Award, they both make the Dean's list, just as soon as I find out who the Dean is.

The Middle of the Pack is reserved for Ken Kraft and Peg Ferraro. Kraft and Ferraro have good attendance, but not great. They'll have to work harder if they expect to receive a Major Award from this blog. I don't just hand them out.

D students include Mat Benol and Seth Vaughn. They were elected to serve, not miss Planning Commission meetings like Vaughn regularly does, or fail to conduct more than one single Courts and Corrections Committee hearing, as is the case with Benol.

Receiving an F for his 67% attendance record is Hayden Phillips. His record on Council is good and his Capital Projects Committee is innovative. But in one year, he has betrayed a complete lack of interest in many aspects of County government. For example, he failed to attend a single meeting of human services, open space  or economic development in 2014. He can be all about personal responsibility and limited government and still make time for these meetings.

My final F goes to Lamont McClure, who has failed to break 50% attendance since 2011. If I could send him to reform school, would. In his defense, I will state he did attend all but one of the budget hearings his year was understandably ill. He also did attend two committee meetings. If he wants to make a difference for struggling county workers, he needs to show up at more committee hearings.

council meetings
2014 2013 2012 2011
mat benol 28 3 1 5 0 7 75% n/a n/a n/a
peg ferraro 27 1 5 5 2 9 83% 90% 85% 67%
glenn geissinger 27 2 7 5 4 9 92% n/a n/a n/a
ken kraft 27 2 6 3 0 9 80% 88% 84% n/a
lamont mcclure 28 0 0 0 1 1 50% 43% 47% 41%
scott parsons 30 2 6 6 4 9 97% 92% 89% n/a
hayden phillips 28 3 0 0 0 8 67% n/a n/a n/a
seth vaughn 27 0 4 6 0 6 72% n/a n/a n/a
bob werner 27 2 7 6 3 9 92% 90% 82% n/a

Here are my attendance reports from Here are reports from  2013, 2012, 20112010200920082007; and 2006.

Blogger's Update 3:25 pm. I recalculated my attendance records, which reveal that there was one courts and corrections committee meeting on 4/23. They also reveal that McClure was present for all but one budget hearing. 


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this report

Anonymous said...

To me it means some elected officials care, others don`t.

Anonymous said...

Some council people are cutting serious corners!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for providing this information on a regular basis. Newspapers may do it once, make a splash and never follow up.

Anonymous said...

"Courts and Corrections"

worst board game ever

Anonymous said...

You need a proof reader. Great info, but lots of rough spots today.

Anonymous said...

Attendance at Council meetings is all that counts. all the other committees are just fluff. you should grade on regular council attendance and budget hearings only.

Anonymous said...

Attendance at Council meetings is all that counts.

Bull. Typically it's mostly what the media cares about and covers, but committee meetings are where lengthy discussions, presentations, and consideration of amendments should take place. Members who do not attend committee meetings are the ones asking questions and wasting time during regular meetings on things previously discussed in committee.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:08, you are more than welcome to do the job. I need a proof reader and much more.

Anonymous said...

They certainly show up often enough to stick it to taxpayers. They're one of the worst governing bodies in the state.

Anonymous said...

anon 10:38 is correct.

The county council meeting is where official business takes place. It is both the right and responsibility of county councilmembers to ask as many question as they deem necessary. if you don't like it stay home and knit.

Even Ron Angle rarely went to many committee meetings and often spent hours asking questions. Did O'Hare ever piss and moan about that?

The fact is a committee meeting generally has a few members working through the weeds on an issue then bringing it to the council as a whole for consideration. It is not nor should it be a done deal.If the reverse wer4e true dump the committees and have everything done at county council. The entire point of the committee meetings was to make it convenient for county staff during their working hours. Many committee meetings are held when working people can't attend so the audience is often slim.

Unemployed slackers like O'Hare ad his followers can go anytime but not real working people.

So the county council meeting is the right time to air all matters.
This is just another thing O'Hare has a hardon for. So of course his fugly camp followers will chime in as well.

Bernie O'Hare said...

3:11 is nuts. Angle was at most committee hearings and always had lots of questions. Committee hearings are where much of the work gets done. The comment is posted by someone who has a problem with me and Angle, and who has to look over her shoulder wherever she goes.

Anonymous said...

No 3:11 was posted by someone who knows the facts and is not tainted by personal biases. Get the facts folks and not the fluff.

3:1 is a knowledgeable and cogent description of what really happens and why.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It's just another hateful rant from Mezzacappa.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

5:11. Ouch. Your bitter

Anonymous said...

If you want some one who doesn't pay his bills, look no farther than Director of Finance Hunter. I guess Pen Argyl doesnt teach accounting in high school.

Bernie O'Hare said...

When people anonymously take cheap shots at Scott Parsons or Jim Hunter, they say more about themselves than the object of their derision.

Anonymous said...

This committee thing is no that big a deal. Why have a committee if everyone must attend.

Might as well discuss every issue at the full council meeting.

This is Mr. O'Hare making it harder for working men and women to run for office. Only the privileged entrepreneur should run.

Bernie O'Hare said...

A blue collar guy like Scott Parsons, who is no privileged entrepreneur, made it to nearly every meeting. It is where the heavy lifting gets done. Because you're insane, you are trying to make excuses for the no shows.

Anonymous said...

"Because you're insane"

Now that is the pot calling the kettle black.

Anonymous said...

Now that the North Koreans have more time on their hands maybe they can rid the Internet universe of this yellow journalism rag. Harsh but truth has long been a casualty of this blog.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I don't think people like Mezzacappa, Schaadt or the Blog Mentor know much about the truth. They sure know a lot about lying. Mezzacappa has a $70k verdict and will likely soon end up charged criminally for hiding assts. The Blog Mentor got tossed, rightfully, from a radio show that is lousy to begin with because, even there, he just can't tell the truth. Schaadt is their Remfield.