Monday, August 08, 2016
Does Lisa Boscola Want to Become Next NorCo Court Administrator?
We've all heard rumors that State Senator Lisa Boscola intends to run for Northampton County Executive next year. If that were to happen, she would win and would ensure that five Democrats are elected to the at-large County Council seats. But Mat Benol should wait a little while before finding some other wall to hang his Ten Commandments plaque and shove his religion down our throats. Lisa Boscola may actually be eyeing up another office. Northampton County Court Administrator.
Last week, I told you that Jill Cicero, the County's popular and well-respected Court Administrator, had resigned. Her sudden departure led to all sorts of anonymous speculation. That only ended when Jill herself said, "My reasons for retiring and my leave are personal and known only to my family and close friends. I choose not to share them on any public forum. I have had a great 35+ year run with the Court and believe that I have served the Court, County, Commonwealth, and their constituents well."
I'm more than willing to drop this and wait for the courts to select a new court administrator. But over the weekend, I heard the Boscola rumor from two highly placed sources. It makes sense.
What many people don't know is that Boscola got her start as a NorCo Deputy Court Administrator after graduating from Villanova with a Bachelor's and Master's degree. She left the County in 1994 after being elected as State Representative.
According to these highly placed sources, Boscola recently made her interest known to the courts, and may have done so before Jill's resignation. She has also made her wishes known to a few local elected officials. One of these local officials has confirmed that Boscola spoke to him, but is unwilling to be identified until Boscola makes her interests known herself.
I have sent her an email asking her to confirm or deny the rumor. I am unable to file a Right-to-Know with the courts because their communications are exempt from public disclosure.
Boscola is a Democrat and Northampton County's bench is 5-4 Democratic. And though judges are supposed to divorce themselves from politics once they are elected, they remain very political. It's in their blood. They may even have mini party caucuses.
Whether Democrat or Republican, the judges do owe her.
Northampton County went from a six-judge to a nine-judge bench, thanks almost entirely to her. It is Boscola, the former Deputy Court Administrator, who rammed this though the state legislature, even though there are some who never thought we needed more than six judges. Boscola also played a huge role in getting Judge Leonard Zito appointed, and then clearing the field so that his daughter Alicia could be appointed Magisterial District Judge. She was also instrumental in seeking an increase in the mandatory retirement age for judges.
The pay is nice, too. Boscola would earn over $120,000 a year as Court Administrator, far more than the $85,000 she gets as a State Senator. This will increase her state pension because the court administrator is a state employee. If Boscola were to run for Exec, she'd only make $85,000 and would be unable to use that salary to jack up her state pension.
But will the Court hire her? Won't it look like more of the political cronyism that is so rampant everywhere? At a time when judges are being told to refrain from hiring relatives, is this any better? The reputation of the courts is in shreds, thanks to kids-for-cash and a Supreme Court Justice who was convicted of using employees to carry on her re-election campaign. Under these circumstances, it would be a mistake to play the political back-scratching game and hire Boscola.
It is also completely contrary to the high ethical standards that President Judge Stephen Baratta has set. So my guess is that if Lisa wants to come back to Northampton County, it will have to be as County Executive.