After posting this blog, my own bell began to ring, but it was only my cell phone. Northampton County's Director of Court Services, Mary T. Ensslin, was on the line. Something had to be done. Her solution? A committee. And guess what? I was invited to be part of this committee. "Would you rather help solve the problem or write about it, Bernie?" Wow! Guess I was going mainstream.
But the day before Independence Day, the Bell still sat forlornly where it was, and it was still cluttered with crap. So I emailed Mary T. Ensslin. After all, I was on a committee. My bell rang again, and I was told that the problem was so serious they had decided two committees were needed. Holy cannoli! Meanwhile the Bell stayed right where it was, and our Declaration of Independence was still lying on its side behind a damaged judge's bench.
Last week, I got an email notice that my committee had been upgraded. It's now a task force. In fact, it's called the Historical Artifact Display Task Force. It still hasn't met, but that's a pretty cool name, huh? This task force includes Court Administrator James N. Onembo, the very court official whose lax attitude towards our historical artifacts led to the problem in the first place. I think he'll be a captain. I want to be a commodore or something.
Meanwhile, the Liberty Bell is no better off now than it was on June 20. County administrators pay more attention to the Taco Bell, where many go for lunch. As you may have guessed, I sent a snotty email. And I know God must be on my side on this one because once again, the Evil One has interfered. That damn Mailer-Daemon has stepped in and put my email in "quarantine." And so the battle rages.
So why am I letting this get to me? A government that takes no steps to preserve its history has no real interest in its future. And when administrators in a county government have no interest in preserving its symbols of freedom and independence, do you think they will take any steps to take care of their employees, who have gone without a raise for three years? Will they do anything to help the taxpaying public, who have been beset both by tax increases and a new government center that is nearly impossible to enter without a guide?
County Exec John Stoffa must be able to rely on his subordinates to do the right thing. But it appears that Mary T. Ensslin is more concerned with Mary T. Ensslin than with county history or employees. It makes sense. She worked for Toomey a few years, then jumped ship to work for Santorum a few years, and is currently aboard the U.S.S. Stoffa. She'll jump ship again when she announces her candidacy for county executive. That's her true quest and nothing is getting in the way - not even the Liberty Bell. And she doesn't want to make an issue about the Liberty Bell because that might embarrass judges, who made no provisions at all. She's counting on their political support. Judges can't get involved in politics? If you believe that, I have a Liberty Bell I can sell you.
Northampton County Council meets this Thursday. If county administrators don't do anything about our Bell and Declaration, I'll ask County Council to adopt a resolution requesting administrators to move the Bell into the rotunda, where it can be appreciated by one and all. I've attached the resolution below.
WHERAS, the Northampton County Liberty Bell is the Bell that announced the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 8, 1776, from the original courthouse at Easton's Centre Square; and
WHERAS, the Northampton County Liberty Bell, first forged in 1768, summoned the people of Easton to fight fires, rang out the opening of court sessions, and was also used to announce news; and
WHERAS, the Northampton County Liberty Bell continued to announce courthouse sessions when the courthouse moved from Easton's Centre Square to its current location in 1861; and
WHERAS, thousand of county residents lined Easton's streets at the end of WWII to tug on the Northampton County Liberty Bell, which rang out for twenty-four hours; and
WHERAS, in addition to the Northampton County Liberty Bell, the County maintains a Northampton County Declaration of Independence; and
WHERAS, thousands of local residents from all four corners of the county have signed the county's Declaration of Independence; and
WHEREAS, during the expansion of the Northampton County Government Center, no provisions have ben made for these historical artifacts; and
WHERAS, the Northampton County Liberty Bell has been moved to the end of a hallway where there is no security and no cameras; and
WHERAS, the Northampton County Declaration of Independence is lying on its side in another hallway.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, By the Northampton County Council that:
1. The County Executive be requested, to move the Northampton County Liberty Bell from its current location to the rotunda of the new government center expansion.
2. Until such time as he can make this move, the Northampton County Executive is requested to secure the Northampton County Liberty Bell by directing the Sheriff to make periodic checks on the Bell.
3. The Northampton County Executive is requested to post signs around the Bell prohibiting its current use as a support for other county furniture or as a repository for waste; and
4. The Northampton County Executive is requested to take all steps necessary to remove the county's Declaration of Independence from its current location, where it is lying on its side, which is indicative of disrespect for our nations' ideals of independence and liberty.