Thursday, December 31, 2015
Norco Council: The 2015 Workhorses, Showhorses and No-Showhorses
This is my annual report card, something I have done since 2006.
Northampton County Council met 28 times last year, including four budget hearings.
In addition, its committees met 30 times. Each Council member is encouraged to attend those meetings, regardless whether he or she is a voting member. The committees that do meet are an indication of what issues concern Council members.
As might be expected, Finance and Personnel head that list. They each met 10 times last year. Human Services was a hot Committee, too, meeting eight times. Other committees doing a lot of heavy lifting were Economic Development (4), Open Space (3) and Capital Projects (6).
Some committees never got rolling. Despite the need to address regionalization and shared services like 911, Peg Ferraro failed to call a single Intergovernmental Committee Hearing this year. Also, though it is more than clear that both the Administrative Code and Home Rule Charter are in dire need of an overhaul, Mat Benol only conducted one or two meetings for what is now being called the Courts and Corrections Committee.
This year, Bob Werner is Northampton County Council's Workhorse of the Year with a perfect record, the first I've ever seen. He attended every meeting and will receive a Major Award from Lehigh Valley Ramblings at the beginning of next year.
A retired teacher, Werner has taken a bipartisan approach to government, even to the point of inviting all Republican Council members and Executive John Brown to his Christmas party. I'm told one of them refused to attend simply because Werner is a Democrat, and I hope that's untrue.
We have a tie for second place. Right behind Werner is last year's Workhorse, Scott Parsons and Council President Peg Ferraro. Both have a 93% attendance record. .
After receiving my award last year, Scott lost the election. He tells me he was too tired to campaign.
Peg's record is amazing, In addition to her 93% attendance, she also attended biweekly meetings with the Executive, and is the County's face at many functions.
This year's B students are Hayden Phillips (85%) and Mat Benol (83%). Phillips is weak on two committees, including open space and human services. He may not like those areas of government, but that's all the more reason to attend their meetings, especially since human services disposes of 2/3 of the County budget. Benol appears to be juggling the responsibility of his private sector job with his public employment.
This year's C students are Ken Kraft (78%) and Glenn Geissinger (76%). They were both slackers last year, getting by on their good looks. It's not working.
The two failures are Seth Vaughn (64%) and Lamont McClure (48%). McClure decided early in the ear that he was leaving public office, but his attendance this year is actually better than it has been in the past. But he still flunks.
Seth Vaughn misses these meetings and then has the gall to ask that the same matters presented in committee be repeated again, entirely for his benefit. Vaughn should really resign because he lacks the time to do anything except vote the way Brown tells him.