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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Brown's 2016 State of Northampton County

Brown announces improvements to central booking
Northampton County Executive John Brown delivered his "State of the County" last week at Northampton Community College to a sparser crowd than usual. The Controller was absent, as were the judges, DA and most Council members. I received no invitation, either.

Ordinarily, I'd say this is just another example of Brown's lack of transparency. But as it happens, the County had nothing to do with extending invitations. Since Brown is running for Auditor General, it would be against his own self-interest to snub so many.

I asked Administrative Director Luis Campos to provide a copy of his address, which is below in outline form  Brown identifies flat revenues and growing expenses as the County's two chief problems.

The cost of County personnel is increasing $3.9 million per year, but county revenues are only increasing $1 million per year. This in turn leads to deficit spending, with the general fund dropping from a year-end balance of $68.3 million in 2008 to $30.2 million last year.

Brown claims to have reversed a seven-year downward trend, but his own statistics belie that assertion.

His extremely unpopular health care reductions, which led to a record number of retirements, only applies to 1/3 of the workforce. Brown found this out the hard way as a result of adverse union rulings.But he predicts his reductions will cover 87% of the workforce by the end of this year. It's unclear how much this will save. I saw no indication on his outline claiming any real savings.

His two biggest successes are at Gracedale and in central booking. Changes that first started under Executive John Stoffa are beginning to have an impact. The nursing home lost $2.1 million last year instead of the $7.7 million projected. But the nursing home also needs at least $10 million in capital improvements. Central Booking changes get police officers back on patrol as quickly as possible. This may not save any money for the County, but it helps the bottom line of municipal police forces and increases public safety.  


Anonymous said...

John Brown has a dream. Now go off somewere and ponder reality.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that Baratta in the background? Or is the pic from last year?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yes, Judge Baratta is in the background. The pic is from Brown's announcement of changes to central booking, made earlier this year. I was not at the State of the County and have no photographs of the event.

Anonymous said...

H He was supposed to have a big event with the Slate Belt Chamber, but those invited declined to attend. So they cancelled it. If he can't get a crowd in his own backyard,he's doomed.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have deleted two anonymous attacks at John Stoffa. He is retired, and is someone wants to go after him, identify yourself.

Anonymous said...

Brown has done nothing for the area that spawned him. He is an ungrateful child. No wonder the SB Chamber told him to go pound sand.