Monday, February 17, 2014

Mr. Brown To Meet the Press

Up until now, Northampton County Executive John Brown's administration has been marred by a lack of transparency. He has been unavailable for phone calls from the press, has declined comment when directly asked and has ignored emails. That attitude, however might change soon.

Brown has scheduled a news conference in his office for 1:30 pm tomorrow to discuss his "media policy" as well as general topics of interest. There will be a 15-minute presentation, followed by 15 minutes of Q&A. .

Even I am invited.

Post your questions in the comments (no personal attacks), and I will try to ask them.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

1. Gracedale ran a $5 million deficit last year. Is that acceptable? What will he be doing to address this issue?

2. The fund balance took a big hit and is again being used to balance the budget. What has to be done to avoid a substantial tax increase? Should taxes have been raised?

3. Several additional positions were added to the budget. Have they been filled?

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to learn his policy concerning bottom feeding bloggers.

Anonymous said...

What will he do about the multi-million dollar triple met lease on that albatross in Bethlehem twp.? Will he get out of the lease in five years? Will he sell that building if possible and consolidate all non-court offices into one in Easton as should have been done?

Bernie O'Hare said...

There are some good questions here. I will ask as many as I can in the 15 minutes alotted to the people.

Anonymous said...

Will he attempt to hire at least one qualified person to his cabinet?

So far his two picks have been rather poor to say the least.

Anonymous said...

Good timing JB as we will be under a half a foot of new snow by news conference time..geez.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, your first question should be, "Mr. Brown, don't you know who I am?"

Peter J. Cochran said...

Bernie , Does he have a plan to educate and eradicate the need for many social services that individual's families should be responsible for.as they end up with the assets? -- Also Domestic Relations dead beats- dads mostly , need to trim this , lots of transients file here and put it on our tax payers. In fact it is out of hand when it should be filed in New Jersey or New York State but the male seed was here basically as a vagrant.Need new rules at domestic.OLD PETER!!!

Anonymous said...

I voted for Brown because I thought he had the smarts in the right areas and where he lacked the smarts I figured had the smarts to pick good people for the appointed positions. He has not done this. Now he needs to spend over $700,000.00 in the next 4 years for advise. Why so much money and why for 4 years and for a part time position. As a conservative and an active party member, I oppose this. Let's hope council is smarter then this. Now that he has had time to get a handle on this new position, he has disappointed me. It's just so hard to find good people. They can't be politicians and they need to be so much more. I am sick of all of these people both locally and nationally.

Peter J.Cochran said...

One more ; Sheriff's Dept. business, they need charge more for process services. They can not send a uniformed officer in a county car anywhere for the fee they charge. They do a great job now and they should charge according for it.See many of these deputies are really committed ,eventually that portion of service will held a looser financially ,and it should not be this group.My hat off to them.

Peter J.Cochran said...

I.m with you Anon 5;36 100% Bernie ,ad you not exposed this.....

Anonymous said...

I'm with 5:36 and Pistol Pete. This lesser-of-two-evils, Brown-voting, Shiite Republican, super-voter wants to know WTF he's doing blowing $700K on something so ridiculous. If I wanted an exec to waste money like that, I would have voted for (fill in the blank Democrat).

Anonymous said...

I contend this is a red herring issue. It is meant to distract you all from the fact that JB is having a devil of a time finding anyone to work in his administration. The pool is dry and that's a fact unless he wants to hang on to some of Stoffa's peep's for a bit.

Bernie O'Hare said...

While i don't think this is a red herring, I do think you are absolutely right to note how difficult it has become to find people willing to work for local government. Who wants to open up an online news story ans see all kinds of anonymous personal attacks? Then there's bottom feeding bloggers.

Anonymous said...

Due to the possible collapse of Coloniel Regional, and the lack of police coverage in some parts of north county what would cause him to start exploration of a county run police force.

Hank_Hill

Anonymous said...

Mr Brown: Are you in over your head?

Anonymous said...

Peter, the Sheriff's Department has drastically lost process service for the last three years, and the lost revenue is well documented. This despite the hiring of more deputies. An increase in fees will result in more lost work and less revenue for the County. And an increase in taxes. The civil division is grossly mismanaged and a reflection of those who run the department. Lehigh County has deputies who work during the evening hours to serve papers on a regular basis, something Brown should implement.

Anonymous said...

From the National County Information Officers Assn:

By taking proactive steps to get ahead of the story, commissioners can make sure citizens have all the facts that went into the decision. You may not get the citizens to agree with your decision, but at least they will know why you made it and what your intentions were.

There are simple steps an elected official can take to help ensure their side of a story gets out. The most important step is to develop a professional relationship with the local media. This doesn’t mean you have to become Facebook friends, send them holiday cards or invite them to your child’s birthday party. But it does mean that you should treat the reporter with respect, understand what your role is in the process, and always be responsive to their requests for information and comments.

There are several guidelines to follow when developing your message. A message should communicate a benefit and describe a shared value. This is important because it enables you to make the connection with your citizens, to let them know how this decision will directly benefit them and the community at large.

Bernie O'Hare said...

As Mayor of Bangor, Brown pretty much ignored the newspapers. I can't speak for other reporters or information gatherers, but let me say that when an elected official ignores me or my questions, I immediately conclude he has something to hide. He does not get the benefit of the doubt. I also hate game players who speak to one news reporter while ignoring others. Or politicians who call me up and tell me I need to cover a story bc another paper will do so if I don't. That happened as recently as this morning, when some pol who wants to embarrass another pol asked me to run a story that i think is a nonstory.

The bottom line here is transparency. They don't have to be my pal or like me, but have an obligation to be as open as possible when governing.

Democracy dies behind closed doors.

Anonymous said...

Peter, et all. The real problem is you tea party types and your blind allegiance to a brand. You al voted straight ticket Republican due to your ideology. You did not consider whether all the business buzzwords even mean anything in government. All the ramblings that sound good at your anti-government meetings are usually unworkable in real life governing. Your hatred of all things public(until you need it) created this mess.

You now have people who will take money from public services and hand it over to politically connected Republicans. So much for YOUR hope and change.

In this past election you all ignored the candidates and voted for labels and buzzwords.

Now we all suffer from your blind allegiance to the tea party nonsense.

The only question for John Brown at this point is, what the Hell are you doing??

Bernie O'Hare said...

First, anonymous attacks at my readers will be deleted. Second, I am asking for questions to pose to Brown, not your barely coherent rants. Act like a grown up or you will be deleted.

Anonymous said...

Question: John you ran on your experience as a "business Consultant" if we hire Deena what will you be doing?
I hear Brown is going to announce the sole sourcing contract to a big media firm to do his public relations for him. Lets say $750,000 for 3 yrs.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, be [prepared for the double ruse. Brown and his blue blood republican pals are not stupid. The outrageous terms of the contract may be just that, a ruse. He may end up claiming he negotiated a much lower rate with better terms.

So she may end up with a two or three year deal for $300-400,000.

Question; will you hire anyone with real experience to any top positions?

HelenP said...

Please ask about the proposal to hire consultants (more than $700k) to provide county budget ideas.

Anonymous said...

Question: Do you have any explanation for governing like the guy we voted against?

-Clem

Anonymous said...

You Bernie, be fair to anon 8:01. I think his comments are no more OT than the other pro-teaparty comments he/she responded to. What's good for the goose and all that.

Besides he at least ended with a question, which is more than the tea party loyalists did. How are you going to get a good discussion going if you only allow one half of the discussion?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'm not interested in a good discussion in this thread. Read my post. I'm interested in good questions. Is that so hard?

Anonymous said...

OK, Great question for you. Just look at Brown, take a second and ask, "Why?"

Anonymous said...

Why is he not looking to tap into the broad experience of the local NORCO Municipal Managers for help? Christopher Christman comes to mind as leading the pack. He is a proven Manager at Palmer Township. A young and upcoming fellow that could do wonders at NORCO. David Woglom at Lafayette College. Howard Kutzler in Bethlehem Township. Jack Cahalan in Lower Saucon Township. Jay Finnegan in Hanover Township. Throwing politics aside, Dennis Reichard of Bethlehem all to name a few people. I am not aware that any of these fellows have been contacted. There is plenty of talent in NORCO with gobs of public sector experience and proven resumes, all Brown has to do is look a little instead of turning to politicos and offering sweetheart deals.

Anonymous said...

Good idea but many township mangers are making more money in their current jobs with less scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

Brown has been in charge for more than a month. He needs to hire a "Director of Administration" with leadership skills. When will he do that?
Will he get the communities invlolved in resolving some local problems. He can do that by reinstituting the "Municipal Conference" as outlined in the Home Rule Charter. They can address a County wide Police Department and numerous other regional issues.
Will he appoint a Bi-patisan Home Rule Charter Study group to address short falls and needed changes to the County's Home Rule Charter?
Will he take a look at the inequities of the present tax system and have a study done to determine if a reassessment is needed?
How many more ideas do you need? I have plenty more ideas. These things can be done without any funds from the County. If you want more address your comments to me and I'll add to the list.
sign me
HOKIE JOE

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:26, so true. They make over $90 K in most instances and only have to answer to a usually sane board of supervisors v. the egomaniacs on county council. Dont fish in that pool, they arent biting. l

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Good idea but many township mangers are making more money in their current jobs with less scrutiny."

Bingo.

Anonymous said...

I want to know if he is done choosing his cabinet members? I am still wondering about certain members that are still here...

Anonymous said...

Comparing a township manager to a county Director of Admisntration is like comparing a trout to a shark. They thrive n their insular little kingdoms getting paid far more than the should. the county needs a specific skill set most of these guys just don't have.
Also he really needs a county government veteran, not another newbie.

No offense intended.