Thursday, August 20, 2015
The Colonel is Running for Controller
(Incumbent Controller Steve Barron, far left; challenger Hayden Phillips, far right; and referee Dean Browning in the middle. Though Barron and Phillips oppose each other, they were kind enough to pose for a picture together.)
As expected, Northampton County Council member Hayden Phillips, filed the paperwork on August 19 to make official his candidacy as the Republican nominee for County Controller. Ron Angle, who won the primary election on the basis of a write-in vote, withdrew from the race on August 7 for personal reasons. Phillips was the unanimous choice of the County GOP Executive Committee. In fact, Angle nominated Phillips as his successor.
Phillips, who refers to himself with some pride as a tea party conservative, has established a reputation for thoughtfulness and independence in his two years on Council. His capital improvements committee has focused on establishing maintenance plans for long-neglected county property. "Say what you're going to do, do it, and prove that you did it," has been his simple but effective mantra.
He sided with Democrats over contracts proposed by Executive John Brown for both business and press relations consultants.
He also spearheaded the one-mill tax hike narrowly approved by Council last year.
Phillips is held in high regard by his fellow Council members. In fact, Democrat Ken Kraft is the one who gave Phillips his nickname as The Colonel. Phillips wears no white suits, but served in the U.S, Marine Corps, and retired as a Colonel in 2003.
Phillips has a bachelor's degree from Mansfield University and a master's in Business Administration from Lehigh. He recently retired as a project manager in the information technology industry.
Incumbent Steve Barron is the Democratic nominee. He is seeking a third term. He is a graduate of Widener University and its School of Law. He is also a certified fraud examiner who occasionally assists the District Attorney in white collar crime.
Barron has the distinction of drawing the ire of both Republican Executive John Brown as well as his predecessor, Democratic Executive John Stoffa. His recent audit of a treatment program at the jail refuted boasts that it was ending recidivism,.One of his audit findings showed that two persons who were supposedly free of new offenses were in fact residents at the jail. This led to the termination of a $5 million contract.
You can read more about this race in a story written by Tom Shortell for The Morning Call.