District Judge Jackie Taschner has stepped down as President of the Northampton County Magisterial District Judges Association. She cites family obligations. Her District includes Tatamy as well as Palmer and ForksTownship.
Her decision comes after the Association voted, on August 20, to submit a new, controversial, redistricting proposal to the Supreme Court. Under a plan already approved by the Supreme Court, two magisterial districts in the northwestern corner of the County will be consolidated. This will force a run-off election between District Judges Diane Marakovits and Robert Hawke. Under the plan proposed by District Judges, Joseph Barner's seat in Bethlehem Township will instead be eliminated. Barner intends to retire, so a run-off election would be unnecessary.
Though the District Judge Plan avoids an election contest, it has been criticized by police chiefs, Hanover Township and State Senator Lisa Boscola as an exaltation of political considerations over the best interests of the public. President Judge Stephen Baratta told the Supreme Court it comes at "the expense of convenience, rationality and gerrymandering."
Judge Taschner also confirmed that the redistricting plan approved on August 20 was done by secret ballot. All fifteen District Judges either appeared personally or by proxy. Their new redistricting plan passed by a bare majority, 8-7.
Judge Taschner's duties will be assumed by District Judge Diane Marakovits, who currently serves as Vice President.