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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, January 10, 2014

Meet Northampton County's Legal Brains

Phil Lauer (L) and Vic Scomillio (R) will provide legal advice to Council and the Executive

Though it's a 5-4 divided body with a new president, things were both smooth and fast at the first real meeting of Northampton County Council on January 9. In her new role as President, Peg Ferraro started things off with a prayer. It appears her prayer was answered. Executive John Brown's choice for County Solicitor, Bethlehem Attorney Victor E. Scomillio, was unanimously confirmed. In addition, Council unanimously agreed to hang on to their own lawyer, Phil Lauer.

Scomillio, who has been practicing law since 1997, is a partner at the Boyer, Holzinger Harack and Scomillio law firm on Linden Street. An avid Lacrosse player and coach, Vic got his start as a clerk to Judge Robert E. Simpson. He is a past President of the Northampton County Bar Association. He will be paid $58,060 per year for this part-time position

The only assistant solicitor Scomillio will retain is David Backenstoe. He intends to run the office entirely with part-time staff, in contrast to the approach taken under former executive John Stoffa.

In addition to being Solicitor, Brown has designated Scomillio as Acting Executive in the event some emergency prevents Brown from serving.

Lauer, who like Scomillio is a graduate of Dickinson Law School, has been practicing law for over forty years, and is reputed to be among the top criminal defense attorneys in the state. He has been County Council's Solicitor since 2010. He will be paid $52,405 per year for this part-time position.

After they were confirmed, Council member Mat Benol noted that he just saw a memo concerning a lawsuit involving Council and the Executive, and suggested they "put it to rest." He noted that when different branches of the government sue each other, the taxpayers lose.

One nomination that interestingly was not discussed at this meeting was Brown's pick for Chief Public Defender, Bob Sletvold. He is married to Jennifer Sletvold, who was elected Judge in November. President Judge Stephen Baratta has determined that, to avoid the appearance of impropriety, she will be unable to hear any matter involving the Public Defender's office.

In her first day on the bench, Judge Sletvold was unable to hear several Protection From Abuse (PFA) Contempt petitions, in which indigent defendants have the right to a public defender. Those natters were heard by a different judge.


Anonymous said...

brown blew this just as he blew the sheriff decision. What horrors lie ahead for Norco?

Anonymous said...

Did Brown attend the meeting?

Anonymous said...

Now that we have this new council and new executor maybe the lawsuit should go away. Under Brown he may not take the stand Stoffa took so why sue? This is a learning curve for him and he is going to do just fine. Then again we elected a community organizer twice and look where we are. Yes some will defend him no matter what but their hatred comes out when we defend ours. We get them and they will never get us. Doesn't matter, Brown is here and we now have some sanity in the country. Don't think gays will see benefits either. There are so many reasons the left won't give this guy the time df day. Bernie he may not fit In to the box you want him to but happily he is a far cry from Callahan. It will be his way until he figures out where he needs to be. The county wanted this change and now we will deal with it. The media is not in charge here nor should they be. They can wait like everyone else. I know they think they run the country but in little NC they do not. I am concerned about the judge deal like you but I am not so sure it won't be worked out.
And Miller while I like him he dug his own grave. How stupid was he to be so political and supportive of Callahan. He did this to himself and maybe the others should be weary. There are too many milking their jobs and fleecing us. Brown can now start the weeding Stoffa put up with. I only sympathize with the people who come to work and do their job 8 hours a day. Not 4. Only taxpayers get to put up with this. Private companies would be out of business.
Next problems are the benefits like retirement packages. Go Brown.....
There was a time when married men worked 2 jobs so their wife's could raise good kids. Singles worked 2 jobs to get ahead. Now we think 40 hours is plenty. Then we hate those who work 2 jobs and have more. What a bunch of victims we now have. Thank u to the bad parents. And a few good ones who at least tried.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:33, Take your meds. What a rambling, OT, rant.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:26, Brown was there.

Anonymous said...

Is Phil really tall or is Vic really short? (No offense intended from this short guy, btw)

Bernie O'Hare said...

Phil is slightly taller than average and Vic is slightly shorter than average.