inaugural news conference on February 18, Northampton County Executive John Brown denied a plan to engage in government by consultant. But that's precisely what's happening. Instead of filling his cabinet in compliance with the Home Rule Charter, he's hiring consultants. And after the $715,200 Zosky consultant deal blew up in his face, he's keeping the amounts under $100,000 so he can avoid getting Council approval.
According to The Morning Call, he has two new consulting agreements. In response to a Right-to-Know, I learned there are three no-bid deals.
1. Integrity Personnel
This is a three-month $24,000 deal with Integrity Personnel, is for a "strategic assessment" of the County's workforce. This should be cause for concern in the County workforce. Does Brown plan to lay them county staff and replace them with low paid temps? That sounds like a question for his next news conference.
2. Donna Taggart
Her name pops up everywhere. She's wormed her way into the Brown administration with a $20,000, one-year deal to review various projects being done at the County.
3. Kim Plyler
This is a one-year, $84,000 agreement with Kim Plyler and her company, Sahl Communications, for public relations.
This historically has been a facet of the job done by the Director of Administration or a Deputy. It is simply outrageous to spend that kind of money for someone whose sole job is to spin the news.
Ironically, this news manager never bothered to tell anyone she's been hired.
What troubles me even more is that, in his news conference, Brown would only say the matter was "in discussion." The truth? He had inked a deal ten days earlier, on February 8. I can't escape the conclusion that Brown was dishonest with the press
But now that he has a propaganda minister, I suspect it will become increasingly difficult to learn the truth.
Incidentally, none of this money is part of the approved budget.
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