Friday, July 18, 2014
Brown Gets Some Help On Top
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).