Friday, July 17, 2015
NorCo Commissar and No-Smoking Ordinances Fail
Perhaps the low light to this waste of a beautiful Summer evening occurred immediately after the carpenters refused to get involved in the dispute between Executive Brown and 17 magisterial district judge over whether he really meant to give them that raise or had just made a mistake. It had been discussed at length the previous day at Ken Kraft's Personnel Committee, but Seth Vaughn missed it. Instead of viewing the video, Vaughn asked Council to fill him in. And they did, on a matter that was tabled.
Lamont McClure suggested tabling the Council to Commissioner ballot question, most likely because it was pretty clear that the votes were not there. Though McClure conceded this name change was not "sufficiently grave" to bring to voters, he nevertheless defended Kraft and Vaughn, insisting it is a "legitimate point of view to have."
Only Kraft and Mat Benol voted against the motion to table. Thankfully, Benol never explained his reasoning.
The smoking ordinance, by Vaughn's own admission, needed some work. He told Council that he was willing to remove the prohibition on smoking in county parks, but was the sole council member to vote against a table motion that essentially sent his ordinance up in smoke.
So people can still carry their bazookas into county parks and light one up.
Only one member of Council, Hayden Phillips, was willing to untable the resolution that would allow Executive Brown to reverse a payraise that he had proposed himself and Council unanimously approved.
Brown and Deputy Administrator Cathy Allen have insisted they never intended to grant raises to 17 Magisterial District Judge employees who are already at the top of their pay scale. But Council has been reluctant to inject themselves in this matter , preferring instead to see that Brown work things out with Bethlehem Attorney Chris Spadoni.
Administrators have suggested a cash payout, but it is reportedly only $500, and only for one year.
Peg Ferraro was distressed that "the people on the front lines of the justice system" are paid so poorly, and was upset that AFSCME representative Justus James was not assisting them.
There were highlights in this meeting. Becky Bradley, the Executive Director of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, had some interesting details about the Lehigh Valley, which i will share with you soon.
Another highlight of this meeting occurred after Scott Parsons correctly described the no-smoking and Commissioner ordinances as "really frivolous." Lamont McClure suggest it is time for a home rule charter study commission to overhaul or perhaps even trash the Home Rule Charter in favor of a return to a Commissioner form of government.