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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, July 18, 2014

Brown Gets Some Help On Top

(L to R: Sheriff David Dalrymple, Director of Finance Jim Hunter, Executive John Brown and Director of Administration Luis Campos)

Practice makes perfect. Although Northampton County Executive John Brown stumbled in some of his initial cabinet appointments, he may have hit a home run with his three most recent choices. On a beautiful July evening, while most people watered flowers or went for walks, the Council chambers was packed with vocal supporters from the Latino, law endorsement and banking industries. They were there to ask Council to confirm Louis Campos as Director of Administration, Jim Hunter as Director of Fiscal Affairs and David Dalrymple as Sheriff.

Wilson Borough Police Chief Steven Parkansky. He was there for Dalrymple, a retired Major from the New Jersey State police. "The County Executive could not have picked a better man than this one," declared this cop, who worked with Dalrymple on several cases. Thomas Fisher, Dalrymple's basketball coach at Phillipsburg High School, spoke on behalf of his former player. Noting that Dalrymple's father and sister were also New Jersey state troopers, he "can't imagine a more qualified person."

Jim Hunter had lots of support from fellow bankers. Rocco Del Vecchio, the President and COO of Lafayette Ambassador Bank, praised Hunter's work ethic. Upper Mount Bethel Township manager Bob Cartwright drove 25 miles to urge Council to confirm Hunter, pledging that he'll give 150%, not 100%. He credited Hunter with finding the financing for a local food pantry that feeds 400 people.

Maria Montero, the Executive Director of the PA Commission for Women as well as The Governor's Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs, addressing Council with both English and Spanish salutations, spoke glowingly of Campos as an important addition for the Latino community. She was echoed by Allentown City Council President Julio Guridy, who told Council he first met Campos when the nominee was studying for his master's degree at Lehigh. "I am proud to call him my friend and peer," he remarked.

Aside from a few jabs at Hunter's golf game, there were no negative remarks about any of the nominees.

Some questions were raised about Dalrymple's ability to follow Pennsylvania's firearms laws, which are for less restrictive than those in New Jersey. Second Amendment advocate Ed Reagan remarked that a Sheriff should not be appointed by an Executive and council but elected.

Northampton and Luzerne County are the only two counties in the state that appoint, rather than elect, their Sheriff.

During his confirmation hearing, Dalrympke had stated, "It's not my job to interpret or make laws. It's to follow laws."

Council member Scott Parsons asked Executive Brown whether state law required a Sheriff to reside within the state and was assured there is no such requirement.

Brown was also asked whether the courts agreed with his selection, and he answered that they both interviewed Dalrymple together, and believes he was President Judge Baratta's first choice as well. Council president Peg Ferraro stated she spoke to Judge Baratta and he was "fully in favor of his appointment.

Council member Mat Benol, who grew up near Dalrymple and delivered newspapers to him in Phillipsburg, told those concerned about his residency in New Jersey that Phillipsburg and Easton are basically the same town, separated by a river.

The Hunter and Campos nominations passed by an 8-0 vote. Sheriff Dalrymple was confirmed by a 7-1 vote with Lamont McClure voting No by phone. He did not elaborate on the reasons for his vote, but is an advocate of an elected Sheriff.

Council member Ken Kraft, another advocate of an elected Sheriff, was absent as a result of a business conflict.

Both Hunter and Campos will receive an annual salary of $87,838, while Dalrymple will start slightly higher, at $91,422.

After the meeting, a relieved John Brown called an unusual news conference to express his appreciation to his new cabinet members and their supporters. He explained he took his time "to ensure we had the best candidates for the positions, and i look forward to working closely with them. The citizens of Northampton County can be confident in the leadership of these individuals."

(L to R: Jim Hunter, Dave Dalrymple and Luis Compos).


Anonymous said...

The only one with qualifications that even come close is the Sheriff. That looks like a good pick. the others, politics as usual.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I agree that Dalrymple is a cut above anything I've ever seen in Northampton County. ironically, he's the only one who had a dissenting vote.

I though Hunter the weakest bc he is no accountant and has no government experience, but he is the Executive's choice and had outstanding support from people who know him. I doubt very much that Rocco Del Vecchio would go to bat for this guy if he thought he'd fail. Cartwright drove 25 miles from Portland, without anyone asking him, to speak on Hunter's behalf. Scott Parsons thinks it an excellent choice. Those are three people who are pretty solid. Any one of them might be off from time to time, but not all three.

As for Campos, I could not get over all the support he had, especially from the Latino community. Just yesterday, I was talking to another searcher who told be that Latinos don't care and that is why they don't vote. I wish he could have seen the support.

I have shied away from Campos' ethnicity bc i consider it irrelevant to the basic question of qualification. Stressing it would be unfair to him. he should get the nod bc he is qualified, not because he is Latino.

But it was nice to see something that is not seen much in NC - diversity. If this appointment empowers latnos and makes them feel as though they matter enough to vote, we'll all be better off.

And on paper, Campos is qualified. I agree that his resume is a bit overblown, and that he is basically a salesman who got his start in the Governor's Office of Budget. But if I look at myself critically, I should fire myself as a blogger.

Anonymous said...

Good picks. Shouldn't have taken 8 months though.

Anonymous said...

These picks are newsworthy after the crap Brown tried to pull a few months ago. It's almost like he had a revelation. It's good to see something positive happening, with the exception of the dolt who phoned in his "no" vote instead of appearing, and voted because he doesn't like the fact we appoint sheriffs.

Anonymous said...

Finally and these are good picks. I hope they now that they need to work with county council as well. That said, the new sheriif is very qualified but should have to move in to the county within a year. Every police officer must at least live in Pennsylvania. Why should our sheriff be any different. Question: do employees in the sheriff's office have to live in the state?

Anonymous said...

The banker Hunter has already called tech support complaining that his computer screen is not a green screen like the one at the bank and needs it fixed ASAP.

Anonymous said...

Both Hunter and Campos are really not qualified for the responsibilities of their positions. They may be nice guys and wonderful people but seriously, no.

However, county council had to approve them or they would have had to wait another year.

The real proof is in the performance. Let us see how they handle the day to day operations, union negotiations and the budget.

Anonymous said...

Campos will have to grow a backbone to deal with the unions and labor issues. He seems competent, but his "consensus building" qualities will be put to the test. He is still far and away a better pick than Allen. let's hope he can keep her under control.

Anonymous said...

Allen is already deep into the union negotiations. Campos will have to get up to speed. She has that ability and did union deals in Bangor with the police and public workers union both the past two years under Brown.

Anonymous said...

5:26 pm IS Deb Allen. Stop posting crap about how good of a negotiator you think u are.

Anonymous said...

It's CATHY Allen. But yes, it is surely her that is crowing about her imaginary negotiating skills. Management has a TEAM engaged in contract talks and she may be on the team, but she is certainly not the leader. Her ego was wounded when her nomination for county administrator was shot down, so now she will try to become a legend in her own mind.

Anonymous said...

Wow- police and public workers unions in Bangor. What are we talking about- 10 employees? As exaggerated as her vast supervisory experience with two workers.

Anonymous said...

Yes timid Cathy Allen is not.

Anonymous said...

Nearly 8 months to pick a team....Mr Brown's leadership is audaciously absent. No County Executive in either County has been so blatantly unprepared to hold the office. Whatever is said of John Callahan, he would have had his top picks confirmed in January.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely! As soon as he won the election last November Brown should have been lining up candidates for key cabinet positions. It made sense to keep Harp until the DHS building was open. But that gave him 4 months to recruit a qualified Director of Administration. Instead, he tried to groom an obviously unqualified pick and it blew up in his face. If this was a business, as CEO he would be fired.

Anonymous said...

Where are the women ?

Bernie O'Hare said...

His Director of Human Resourced, DECED, Human Services. All women. 3 and 3.

Anonymous said...

Total cabinet -6 men and 3 women. Still, more women than previousadministrations.

Anonymous said...

9.34PM Ur wrong about your history. Reibman had 3 women in his cabinet-Beveryly Corkhill; Jean Lewis; Cindy Marakovits. So Brown does par. However he is the most sub-par Executive in the history of both counties and the least prepared since both Counties adopted Home Rule Charters creating the Executive position.

Let's just admit the obvious--John Brown is completely over his head. John Callahan would have been ready on day one.

Anonymous said...

People like to say that Easton and Phillipsburg are one town divided by a river. No, they're not. The laws are significantly different. Besides, Easton is but one town within a much larger Northampton County. What this retired NJ trooper does affects the entire county, not just Easton

Unknown said...

I spoke at the meeting regarding the actions of former Sheriffs in Northampton County that were not in compliance with the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act. My main concern as a taxpayer was any deviation from the preemptive state laws by the county opens them up for civil action. This is especially a concern with a new sheriff that is a resident of NJ, a 25 year veteran of the NJ State Police and is not as familiar with Pennsylvania's laws as he is with New Jersey's laws.

With the Northampton County Sheriff's office deviating in the past from the state laws regarding the issuance of licenses to carry firearms (LTCF. Specifically the past disclosure of confidential information about LTCF applicants to politicians and the applicant's employers.

The impacts of these transgressions have not yet come back to roost.

Today's settlement dealing with similar issues in Philadelphia County, with its $1.425 million award, is something the Northampton County Executive, Council, Solicitor, District Attorney and Sheriff should be concerned with. Since they need to follow state law to the letter otherwise the taxpayers of Northampton County will need to foot the bill for the legal transgressions of the county employees.


Unknown said...

I also mentioned at the meeting the fact that Northampton County seems to think that they can pass their own firearms ordinances, like the one prohibiting firearms from county parks, in direct violation of state preemption.

The City of Erie also though they could do the same thing, they were wrong and the Commonwealth Court told them so earlier this year (see link).

Lets get this corrected too, before this violation of state law has a financial impact on the taxpayers of Northampton County.


Bernie O'Hare said...

Ed Reagan, you were there and you did speak. You say you had found out an hour before from Prince Law offices. What is your connection to that firm? Are you an employee? I gathered from your remarks that you feel passionately about guns rights.

You note that in Philly, the Sheriff has been held accountable for releasing information concerning rejected LTCF applications. That Sheriff is a Pa. resident, so this basically disproves your point. The question is not where someone lives, but whether he or she will follow the law.

Sheriff Dalrymple was asked and answered that question, quite eloquently I might add, the previous day. He stated his jib is to enforce the law, not make or interpret it. He is by far the most qualified Sheriff I have seen in NC. He graduated from Seton Hall and Rutgers. Don't assume he's an idiot unable to tell the difference between Pa and NJ.

You also point to some old ordinances that prohibit firearms in county buildings and parks. That ordinance was adopted in the '70s, long before recent decisions concerning the possession of firearms in municipal parks. The County will follow the law. It did not adopt these ordinances after those cases.

I do think changes are needed statewide, however, to ban the carrying of any firearm inside any municipal building.

Unknown said...

Bernie I do not subscribe to the local news papers, and found out about the meeting due to Joshua Prince posting a link to this letter to the editor to his personal Facebook wall. (http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/07/letter_northampton_county_sher.html)

I do not work with any law firms, but as I stated the other night I am a members of the Judicial Committee of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania. I am also a patron life member of the NRA, a life member of the Second Amendment Foundation, a member of Firearms Owners Against Crime and a NRA certified firearms instructor.

My posting comments today has nothing to do with the hiring of the new Sheriff. It was prompted by the $1.4 million dollar settlement in Philadelphia due to the City/County of Philadelphia not keeping the information of LTCF applicants confidential.

The Northampton County Sheriffs in the recent past have violated that confidentiality law when a staff member of the Sheriff's department release information about a LTCF holder.

Former Sheriffs have violated that confidentiality law when the Sheriff directed his staff to call the references and employers of LTCF applicants. Since calling references and employers and disclosing why they are calling breaches that confidentiality law.

In 2010 when County Council vote unanimously to support the Sheriff's staff calling an applicant's employer. (http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/northampton-county/index.ssf?/base/sports-0/1276833952243570.xml&coll=3)

Thus you had past Sheriffs breaking the state law, specifically Title 18
Pa.C.S. § 6111(i) and County Council voting unanimously to support the Sheriff breaking that law.

This is the exact same statue the Philadelphia was sued for violating that cost the taxpayer so Philadelphia $1.4 million yesterday.

The text of Title 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(i) is: Confidentiality.--All information provided by the potential purchaser, transferee or applicant, including, but not limited to, the potential purchaser, transferee or applicant's name or identity, furnished by a potential purchaser or transferee under this section or any applicant for a license to carry a firearm as provided by section 6109 shall be confidential and not subject to public disclosure. In addition to any other sanction or penalty imposed by this chapter, any person, licensed dealer, State or local governmental agency or department that violates this subsection shall be liable in civil damages in the amount of $1,000 per occurrence or three times the actual damages incurred as a result of the violation, whichever is greater, as well as reasonable attorney fees.

Hopefully the new Sheriff will direct his staff to follow the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as he has stated.

My concern now, in light of the Philadelphia settlement, is how much will the past transgressions by the former Sheriff, which were unanimously affirmed by County Council's vote, will cost the taxpayers of Northampton County.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why Pennsylvania does not have qualified candidates to fill the sheriff's position. It looks like its not What you know, But who you Know. Someone with Policing AND corrections experience should have been selected, along with an understanding of commonwealth laws. It is demoralizing to the present staff within the county, has no qualified candidates. If Dalyrumple was qualified, why didn't he seek the sheriff's position in Warren county last year when he was retired and that position was up for election, not appointment, maybe he would not have qualified, or been elected on his resume and skill.