Thursday, April 30, 2015
Brown Has Opened Pandora's Box
Northampton County has independently elected officials besides the Executive. DA John Morganelli and the judges are actually constitutional officers. Their positions are created by the Pennsylvania Constitution. Although there is some tensions between the competing powers of the Executive and these other officers, they mostly defer to the requirements of the Charter and Career Service Regulations. But why bother when the executive himself is thumbing his nose at them? Morganelli could easily justify a four or five step increase for half of his staff, and declare he has no obligation to go before Council, just like the Executive.
Similarly, the judges could just start issuing court orders awarding payhikes.
The same situation holds for the Controller. though his office lacks the constitutional luster that accompanies the judges and DA, he could pretty much decide to bump up all his auditors.
This was a bad move by an Executive who thinks he knows everything and is unwilling to account for anything.
Jerry Seyfried, who basically wrote the career service regulations, is the Council member who negotiated a settlement when a controversy between the competing powers of Council and Executive resulted in a lawsuit in 2008. He managed to work out a settlement, but that settlement required that all these policies would go to the personnel Commission and then to Council. That never happened.
I have asked Council to invite Jerry to explain to Council (only Peg Ferraro and Lamont McClure were on board when this problem arose) the best way to resolve this problem. He can speak about this much better than I. Peg Ferraro wants to hear from Jerry, but not until the second meeting in May.
This problem has existed since 2008, so I suppose another two weeks will make no difference.