Friday, October 07, 2016
NorCo Council Meets at PBS-39, Goes Into 45-Minute Exec Session
For their October 6 meeting, Northampton County Council took the show on the road. They met at PBS-39's studio, located at the Steelstacks in South Bethlehem. Presumably, the goal was to be more transparent. A television studio equipped to videotape and broadcast the meeting is perfect for that purpose. But three minutes after the meeting started, Executive John Brown asked for an executive session. As a result, the public was excluded for the first 45 minutes.
Northampton County Council is required to conduct its meetings in public. There are exceptions for some matters that may be discussed behind closed doors, One of these exceptions is to discuss litigation, and Council voted to go behind closed doors to discuss litigation over the objections of Council members Ken Kraft and Bob Werner. But when General Purpose Authority officials attempted to join the private conversation, Controller Steve Barron loudly complained. Pennsylvania's Sunshine Act does permit lawyers and other professional advisers to attend executive sessions concerning litigation, but no one was taking any chances. General Purpose Authority officials returned to their seats.
Starting a meeting at a new venue with a 45-minute executive session does little to demonstrate transparency
If you've ever been to Steelstacks, you know the parking is a hike away from ArtsQuest and PBS.That's something I ordinarily can do pretty easily, but not with sciatica,even if it is slowly getting better. Right outside PBS, I ran into three guys who were doing pushups,situps and lifting weights. They told me they were the Lehigh Valley GymGuys.
"Do you think you could help me?" I asked.
"There's only so much we can do," they told me.
I also got a shot of five Chinese guys who were passing the time while waiting for a bus to take them from the casino and back to New York City. Nobody was bothering them and they weren't bothering anyone either.