Miller was told to take all the time he wanted, but the Human Relations office later told him he has two weeks.
Bethlehem's former police commissioner, Sheriff Miller has served as Sheriff since 2009. He was the unanimous pick of former Executive John Stoffa, the Courts and County Council.
A graduate of Madison University, Miller supervised approximately 70 deputies, as well as civilian staff. He chairs the Northampton County Chiefs of Police Association, and prides himself on the use of law enforcement technology. He implemented 37 uses of technology in his years at Bethlehem, from GPS tracking to covert and overt camera systems.
The Sheriff is considered an at-will employee who serves at the pleasure of the Executive. During the campaign leading up to Brown's election, Miller supported Brown's opponent, John Callahan.
Who will succeed Miller? That's unclear. Brown failed to answer a phone call and several emails from The Bethlehem Press. Brown told County Council at their January 9 meeting that he will advertise for candidates, which is required by the Administrative Code. But he told The Express Times that he has several candidates in mind.
Brown has named Chief Deputy Chris Zieger as Acting Sheriff, effective January 10.
Northampton and Luzerne County are the only two counties in Pennsylvania with appointed, as opposed to elected, Sheriffs.
In Luzerne County, which recently adopted a Home Rule Charter, the Sheriff is selected as a result of a merit-based hiring procedure.
In Northampton County, the Administrative Code requires the Executive to advertise for qualified candidates, after which he must consult with the Court. The final choice must then be confirmed by County Council.
Miller's dismissal has prompted Council member Lamont McClure to urge Council to consider a referendum that will enable the people to decide whether they want to return to elected Sheriffs. "Almost all Pennsylvania counties give the people the right to decide who their Sheriff is going to be," he argued. Echoing McClure, Council member Ken Kraft said it would make sense to have a Sheriff who could run concurrently with the District Attorney, and a time when people have law enforcement on their minds.
Blogger's Note: This story, which first published on Tuesday, has been updated as a result of last night's County Council meeting.