I don't know whether Attorney Anthony Martino is a drinking man, but he has good reason to tie one on this New Year's Eve. The Norhampton County Hangmen have strung him up as county council solicitor.
Council member and chief executioner Lamont McClure, in an arrogant letter, has told Martino "it will not be necessary for you to be in attendance at any future Council meetings."
It's no secret McClure detests Judge Zito, Martino's predecessor. Instead of telling McClure what he wanted to hear, Zito had this silly notion of following the law. To make matters worse, the judgeship that eventually went to Zito is something Lamont wanted for his wife. When Zito's name went to the state senate, McClure was the only council member to vote against a resolution urging a quick confirmation.
What does this have to do with Martino? Martino worked in Zito's law firm, and the sins of the partner are visited on his associate. To be honest, Anthony appears to have adopted many of Lenny's bad habits, which include following the law.
Wthout any apparent authority in the form of a county council resolution, McClure has somehow concluded he speaks for all nine members of Council and has fired Martino. And so Northampton County Council ends 2008, keeping its reputation as the Lehigh Valley's worst local government intact for another year.
Here's the text of his Epistle to Anthony.
During my time on Council I have been tasked by President(s) Grube and McHale to be the Chairman of the Legal, Judicial and Operations Committee. From time to time during my tenure on the committee, they have also asked me to perform specific inquires. Recently, I have been asked to take a leadership role in the selection process to fill the vacancy in the position of County Council Solicitor upon Judge Zito's ascension to the bench. Let me first say on behalf of Council that we very much appreciate your time and effort in your role as interim Solicitor. You will recall that when Judge Zito was sworn in that it was decided by President McHale in consultation with Council that it would be best to finish out the year with a measure of continuity. We are now on the doorstep of reorganization. After much debate and consideration, I have recommended to President McHale that we move in a different direction with the appointment of Solicitor to County Council. Unfortunately, and this is by no means a reflection upon your brief service to us, I must inform you that we will not be appointing you Solicitor to County Council. Therefore, it will not be necessary for you to be in attendance at any future Council meetings.
We are mindful that there is currently litigation instituted by the Executive against County Council with respect to the Personnel Policies Manual. We are also aware that you may not wish to continue to represent the Council in a private capacity. However, should you wish to continue to represent the Council in this litigation, please provide us with your firm's hourly rate post haste so that Council may determine what course it wishes to follow. If you choose not to continue representation of Council for this specific and limited purpose, please inform us as soon as practicable.
Again, thank you for your service in filling the post on a temporary basis. We wish you the best of luck with all of your future endeavors. Should you have any questions for me, please do not hesitate to call.
Thursday Update: Both The Express Times and Morning Call have weighed in on the solicitor slaughter. McClure notes, "It's time to get some new blood into the solicitor's chair." Since Martino has only been solicitor since mid-October, perhaps McClure would like to change them weekly. Council member Ron Angle notes, "We are not a third world country. Lamont McClure is not a dictator ... ."