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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, June 29, 2009

Northampton County Could Use Jerry Seyfried

When Northampton County Council voted to accept Diane Neiper's resignation, Lamont McClure said her replacement should be someone with experience. He's right. The person appointed will only serve for five months, so it makes little sense to name someone who will spend all of that time getting used to the job.

In addition to being a former member of Council, Neiper's successor should be another Democrat. True, a Democratic council voted three years ago to replace Republican Mary Ensslin with a Democrat, but two wrongs don't make a right. Appointing a Democrat would be consistent with what voters decided.

Fortunately, an experienced former council member and Democrat has confirmed his interest. Jerry Seyfried served on Northampton County Council between 1978 and 1979. He helped write the personnel section of county administrative code as well as the career service employees manual. He spent four years as Vice President and another four years as Council's President. In addition to his legislative experience, he was County Exec between 1990 and 1994, leaving the county with a $20 million surplus. He continued his career as Director of Court Services between 1998 and 2006.

No one - and I mean no one - has a deeper understanding of county government than Jerry. He still carries dog-eared copies of the Home Rule Charter and can often recite resolutions adopted in the 80s.

Jerry tells me he's currently involved in assembling a Northampton County history between 1952 and 2002. "Somebody's got to write this history while people are still alive to tell the story. Wouldn't it have been great to interview [former Comm'r and Council member] Jim Hemstreet?"

Jerry notes that in the 50s, seventy per cent of our jobs were in manufacturing or textiles, but that's all gone. "We lost Bethlehem Steel. We lost eight or nine cement companies. But our unemployment rate is among the lowest in the country. Why is that? It's the Walter Dealtrys, the LVIPs; their story needs to be told."

Seyfried would like to take a close look at the county budget, paying particular attention to where real estate tax revenue is spent. "What kind of people are in prison? Do they all need to be there. We need to reduce recidivism. A lot of counties have wonderful programs. We need to do that."

Jerry even volunteered his thinking about a regional health bureau. "I don't know how you vote no if they tell you it's not costing any money. How do you say no to that? Once it costs money, then it's time to question it."

This guy really cares about Northampton County. He could easily handle all kinds of controversies with pains in the ass like me. But when construction workers jackhammered the shit out of beautiful slate slabs surrounding the courthouse - reminders of our slate belt heritage - Jerry actually broke down in tears.

Seyfried is no Long Dem. They passed him over for appointment to two council vacancies several years ago. Jerry is no Stoffa sycophant, either. He insists that the retirement board needs its own independent lawyer while Stoffa insists the solicitor's office can handle the job.

On Friday, Ron Angle told me he would support Jerry, which might be the kiss of death. But he really is the best choice, and one that should have been made several years ago. Above, you will see a picture of Jerry and me.


Anonymous said...

Let's leave recycling to our curb sides. Another insider appointment would be typical for dysfunctional NorCo. It's akin to the horrors of inbreeding.

How about a new voice for once?

Bernie O'Hare said...

We've had new voices. Lamont McClure, Branco & Joe the Mayor were all new voices. Council is more dysfunctional than ever. We need someone who knows what he's doing and who headed a council when it used to be classy.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

As reported on this blog, NorCo has fought to a solid financial position.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's quite true. It's not the government that's dysfunctional, but the legislative body, which has actually tried to force Stoffa to squander money. The IT bid illustrates that point.

Carol said...

Jerry can bring a wealth of knowledge to council, anonymous 6:25 certainly doesn't know Jerry - Carol

Bernie O'Hare said...

Agreed, Carol. I really can't think of a single person more informed on county government than Jerry. Moreover, he is independent. Had he been appointed a few years ago, I think council would not have deteriorated.

Anonymous said...

You are right by saying Angle's support is the kiss of death. And if he really supports the health bureau than why would Agle, who despises the idea, support Seyfried? I smell a rat somewhere. With the addition of Seyfried's ego to Rons I doubt anyone else would get a word in edgewise. Doesn't Seyfried have enough paychecks coming in now , including a county pension. No, putting a former exec in would make the current exec's job alot harder..Seyfried would always be down at the courthouse telling Stoffa how to do the job. Stoffa needs him like he needs a root canal..

Bernie O'Hare said...

I smell a rat, too, and I think it's you. You are slamming Seyfried unfairly to make your prospect look good.

Angle supports Stoffa even though Stoffa believes in a bicounty health department. You have to have someone who believes in good government. Everything else is bullshit.

Council is a dysfunctional mess and there is no person who is more knowledgable about county government than Seyfried. If he makes himself a pain in the ass, good. That's what council is for, to serve as a watchdog.

As far as being a former exec is concerned, I'm much rather have a former exec with nothing to prove, than someone who is trying to position himself for a run later.

Anonymous said...

Again Bernie you slam people with a different point of view. If you don't want comments don't put up blogs. Not everyone is going to write kiss ass comments. Everyone one knows how passionate you get over people you love.

You are right that Jerry knows his way around the Courthouse. He does have an explosive temper and that may in combination with Angle make things worse than better, who knows, maybe not.

I think until all possible candidates are in no one should get slamed. Of course you did that in a backhand way when you responded to the other poster.

So who are you refering to?

Bernie O'Hare said...

You are the person who said you smelled a rat. You are the person who needlessly and unnecessarily slammed a former Democratic county exec, and one who served this county with distinction. You are the one who criticizes this person for taking a pension that he earned. You are the one who falsely depicted him as having an ego, which is ridiculous considering that Dertinger sits on council. I will continue to defend my opinions, and that's what really bothers you.

Seyfried is not trying to leverage himself ionto the exec seat or council position. He just wants to serve the county. He's already been there. He's already served as exec and on council. He has served as administrator, too. He has nothing left to prove.

Oh no! Not again! He's back! said...

There is nothing more dysfunctional than the local back room deal politics. Someone makes a comment or writes an opinion, (and a b.s. comment none-the-less) and it gets challenged. You believe it's the end of the world.

Come on! Accept the fact that you are going to get put to the task when you post. If not, do not read this blog or any other blog. And most especially, don't post.

If you were anywhere else other than the valley, you wouldn't make an argument of such. Because if you did; they wouldn't even have enough respect for your opinion to even make a comment.

It seems every time someone has something of value to add, the same ten 10 b.s. anonymous comments get made. I pity myself and the county residents that are forced to deal with such ignorance.

This time the adjective 'angry' is very befitting to my moniker.

Peace, ~~Alex

Anonymous said...

Can you explain the picture? Is he hunting wild boars with bows and arrows or am standing too close to the Elmer's Glue bottle?

Bernie O'Hare said...

No, that's Jerry and me at the courthouse.

Anonymous said...

O'Hare you have really lost it on this one. You should have put up your thread and asked for no comments. Why all the hate? It is even more than your normal level.

The only problem County council may have is if it listens to a lunatic like you. Good Lord get a grip man.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I lost nothing. I properly took you to task for your needless and vicious slam at a person who dedicated many years of his life to the county. It is assholes like you, who anonymously smear good people, who have helped create a dysfunctional council. But the voters have already made clear they are sick of hacks like you. Comments are welcome, but the usual Long Dem sleeze is getting old. Go post your hate on Lorraine Pasquali's Facebook page.

Anonymous said...

I think it's important that if for only a five month period, someone be chosen that can set an example of civility and adult behavior for the Council Hopefully, after he or she leaves, it will have an effect.

Anonymous said...

Careful friend, it doesn't matter if a hundred different people post, O'Hare will minialize all by cliaming it is one person. he does that when folks disagree with him.

Other than the first poster who was a bit mean, I don't quite get the outrage at the others. Just so I understand, anyone--anyone who puts in for the position other than Mr. Seyfried is a Long Dem? You realize that is a bit extreme, even for you. You are not doing Mr. Seyfried any favors with your hysteria

Certainly not enough to warrent the holy rage of O'Hater and his faithful sidekick angry Priest.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Don't call anyone here your friend. I properly took an asshole to task for slamming a good man. Council is a dysfunctional mess and the last thing we need is political knee breakers like you who come on here anonymously to post your garbage and disinformation.

Oh no! Heeeee's back! said...

It is amazing the way an anonymous poster can use such language to make lunacy almost appear relative.

You want to anonymously take Bernie or myself to task, that's fine. If I can speak for Bernie?

You want to smear somebody's good name: at least have the courage to sign a name to it. Make one up. Don't let facts stand in your way. It hasn't stopped you before.

But then again, that would give the dissenters something. Thus we can make connections, like you assume with a whole group of us, and on, and on, and on.

Please, I don't care who you support. Variety is good. But at least be honorable enough not to distort. The Valley is small. And memories are large. Maybe that's why you don't sign your name??? We don't need your big city politics.

Enjoy the rest of your evening and may the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you, ~~Alex

Oh no! Heeeee's back! said...

Et all:

I just received an email, backdoor. The sender, who will remain nameless, inquires:

"Why would a seminarian be interested in politics?"

My answer:

"You obviously don't know Rome. Or Antioch, for that matter!"

Peace out, ~~Alex

Anonymous said...

I'm cheering for Jerry. I'm hoping he knocks Angle down.

Anonymous said...

Ron Heckman will get it !

Bernie O'Hare said...

The Rs are not going to appoint someone who intends to run for exec or council. Try again.

Anonymous said...

This is a five month interim spot, hardly a great political leg up for someone who may or may not do something four years from now. I mean that is a pretty thin stretch. Is Heckman in this thing? When is the deadline and who are all the people?

I don't think Heckman will get it because the R's will be intimidated by Angle.

By the same token I don't think Seyfried will get it because of his being a mirror image of Angle. They don't want that.

I would guess a third option will emerge. However, I am sure Bill White will opine on this and I will be more interested in his opinion.

Bernie O'Hare said...

In case you haven't noticed, Bill White is on strike. He only writes about American Idol, Mark Trail, Eddie Murphy and endangered animals. Plus, he's going on vacation.

Seyfrioed is no mirror image of Angle. That's ridiculous. He's very much his own man. What bothers you us that he is not a Long Dem.

Unless this third choice is Mother Teresa, this seat will go to Seyfried. It's time for council to stop playing games. It's time for a grown up. Seyfried should have been appointed three years ago and there would not be this dysfunctional mess.

Anonymous said...


Your passion for Jerry is killing his chances to get appointed. You need to keep calm..You do know that half of council despises you so he lost all of those votes already. Peg is sane so she won't vote for Jerry.. Who's that leave you?

Anonymous said...

Dan says,
Joe Cap seems to be doing a good job. He acts civil. Hasn't made personal remarks (although some have been made towards him). He also attends most of the meetings. The one meeting he missed was the first health dept mess. If he had attended that meeting, it would have been shot down 4-1.

Now I will wait for all the criticism Joe will receive.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I like Joe Cap. I do not agree w/ all of his votes and he does not agree w/ all of my opinions, but he's a reasonable guy.

But this post is not about him. This is about appointing someone to the vacancy created by Neiper's resignation. I can think of no person more qualified than Jerry. My passion for him now is no different than it was when I urged him to run against Lamont McClure, who he would have crushed. My passion is no different than it was when he was passed over for county council appointments.

If the Long Dems on council had any brains, they's select him. In five months, Jerry can do much to improve a bad council. That will only help Dertinger. But not if Dertinger votes against him.

As far as half of council hating me is concerned, there are only three who would like to boil me in oil. I believe Peg will support Jerry bc she is, as you note, sane. The way I see it, he gets five votes. Long Dems would be smart to join them and make it unanimous.

Anonymous said...

HOw can we get Donald Trump's THE APPRENTICE interested in this County Council position? YOU"RE FIRED!

Anonymous said...

What about a Republican candidate. There is nothing in writing that says Jack Bradt can't apply and be appointed..

Bernie O'Hare said...

A Democrat should be replaced by a Democrat. When the LongDems refused to appoint a Republican to a republican vacancy, they created some of the partisanship and divisiveness we witnessed in the years since. besides, Bradt never served on Council.

Anonymous said...

Hey jackass I'm anon 1:33 and I was coming off shift. I know both
Seyfried and Heckman and gave my opinion. I never even met Joe Long.

You are an idiot, why don't you disable comments, since you falsely attack anyone who offers an opinion you don't like. Again. Jackass.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 5:14,

What's the matter? We already know you're afraid to identify yourself, but are you afraid to engage in dialogue, too? "LongDem" is a term I use to describe people who may be Democrats, but engage in back room politics and attempt to bully people ewho stray from the party line. I stated an opinion and defended a good man from an anonymous asshole who viciously slammed him. The reason you want no comments here is bc you can't really defend your opinions, which consist largely of personal attacks. I can't help it that you look bad.

Anonymous said...

Jerry Seyfried is not the most learned person in Northampton County governemnt. Very ambitious, cut-throat but not that bright. Come on O'Hare. This guy barely got out of High School. He is like Angle, a mean-spirited hothead who along with Angle will provide countless hours of entertainment on Council.

I hope he gets it, it will be a hoot. He and angle will fight for the last word on everything. If the County wants another dumb dutch, Jerry is your man.