Outside of going to Court, he suggested sitting down and working out the problem with the Administration, something that Council Solicitor Phil Lauer reported he has already been doing. If that fails, he provided a second option, which he called the hard road. That would be to simply eliminate all positions that have been awarded improper raises. "That's your hammer," he stated. "That brings them back to the table."
Council Solicitor Phil Lauer agreed with Seyfried. "You're in control of the pay plan. You can take whatever action you choose to take."
|L to R: Brown, Luis Campos, Jeffrey Durkin|
"Absolutely not," responded Seyfried. He pulled out the thin, dog-earned copy of the Northampton County Home Rule Charter that he carries with him everywhere. He then pulled out copies of the Administrative Code and the Career Service Regulations, both of which are about the size of a magazine. Then he pulled out the Personnel Policies and Procedure Manual, which is about four inches thick, double-sided, and written in fine print.
"You've got to be kidding me!" he said of the lengthy treatise. "This was written by a bureaucrat."
At least three county employees have received payraises under this manual without the authority of Council . There may be more. Executive John Brown, who has refused to produce this information n the past after requests by both Bob Werner and Scott Parsons, stated last night that he would wait until Council decides what to do before responding.
"It takes my breath away," remarked Hayden Phillips. "It sounds like the Administration has this information and they're not going to release it."
Scott Parsons , who has previously questioned Brown's lack of transparency, state Council would likely have gone along with most of these payhikes had they simply been asked.
At one point, County Solicitor Ryan Durkin attempted to justify the payhike, but was quickly shot down by McClure, who himself is a practicing attorney.
"Frankly, sir, your advice has not just been suspect. It's been wrong. You did not do your research. It's basic competence."
Durkin did no favor for himself when Scott Parsons revealed that Durkin had failed to send a lawyer to a hearing last week in which the County is a party. Parsons said this failure indicates the need for a full-time solicitor on staff. Durkin was also unable to provide a litigation status report despite a specific request from Parsons just two weeks before.
The only real question among Council members was whether to suspend these payhikes immediately or wait two weeks for a written resolution, something that is required by the Home Rule Charter.Unanimously, Council signaled their intention to suspend Brown's payhikes at their next meeting with a written resolution. This would affect any person who was awarded a payhike by Brown under a provision of the Policies and procedures Manual that Council Solicitor Phil Lauer has deemed illegal. They also have agreed to reach out to the Administration and attempt to settle the dispute amicably, and selected Peg Ferraro to join Phil Lauer in peace talks.