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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cabinet Appointments May Have to Wait

Hayden "the Colonel" Phillips
John Brown has probably been Northampton County's least transparent Executive since the inception of home rule in 1978. In his first year in office, he actually posted armed guards outside his office when making an announcement to the press. He failed to return calls or respond to emails and even kept his fellow Republicans in Council in the dark. Brown became known for the "5 o'clock special," in which he waited to the last minute to tell Council what he was doing. he did that with several cabinet moments, leaving Council with no time for due diligence.

Brown is less opaque now than he was during his first year. One reason for this is that County Council, in March 2015, unanimously adopted a county law requiring the Executive to give them seven working days notice of any Cabinet level position he wants them to confirm. This also applies to boards and authorities.

On November 10, right before the long weekend including the Veterans' Day Holiday, Brown sought Council's approval for the cabinet level appointments of Cathy Allen (Administration)  and Tim Herrlinger (Community and Economic Development). Brown called this a "housekeeping" move and said both appointments are "well deserved."

Council President John Cusick, who was standing on the sidelines when the 2015 law was enacted, listed the appointments on the Council agenda for tonight, which would give Council only four working days for review.  After being informed that this would violate Council's own law, he may postpone consideration until December.

It seems he has no choice.

Hayden Phillips, who sponsored this seven working day ordinance, agreed it applies. But he stated at a Finance Committee yesterday that he's leaning in favor of confirming Allen. He admits he is "still struggling" with Allen's financial problems and her refusal to discuss them. But "she has done the job and done it well." He said it would hurt the County to leave this slot open.

No council member spoke in opposition to Allen.

Ken Kraft, who previously expressed concerns, was out of the state on business and was absent.

Herrlinger received several key endorsements from Council members. John Cusick said he was impressed at how Herrlinger handled hotel tax and CIPP grants. "I wholeheartedly will be voting for you tomorrow night," Cusick told Herrlinger, before being aware that Council might have to wait. .

Mat Benol and Hayden Phillips also added their endorsements. "Very professional, very knowledgeable," was Phillips' assessment

In other business, Council intends to revisit that $5 increase in vehicle registration fees it can now impose, so long as the $1.4 million in annual revenue is used for bridges and highways.

Phillips was originally opposed to the fee, but now supports it so long as it is tied to the P3 bridge project. This provides for repairs and replacements at 33 county-owned bridges. He also stated that this fee would enable the County to reduce the millage rate, hinting that a slight tax cut is on the horizon.


Anonymous said...

The two new Republicans must approve Mr. Brown's appointments. It is his right to pick his people. The others on Council should do their job and stop playing politics with the government.

Peter J.Cochran said...

I don't know this lady but I will tell you that her credit history is a 'mirror image' of one s ethics or lack of selflessness in many cases. Gambling-not the caceno kind ,the credit kind in some cases and I mean with use of other peoples money for self interest.SO WHAT. If this credit history and judgements were entered on any military officer or NCO in some cases they would be put out to the curb.Fiduciary risk come in many forms.

Anonymous said...

County Council - You are just as bad as Allen if you vote her in. What could you possibly be thinking. $91K - Give it to the employees who deserve it. When Council would not let Brown appoint her, he hired Campos. He kept Campos until near the end of running for Auditor General. Then he gets Allen in as Acting Director of Administration for 6 months. This way if he wins, she can go with him. If he lost, he would move her as Director of Administration since there was only 1 year left and no one would want it for 1 year. Come on Council - DON'T let her have the position. Will not vote for you when your re-election is up!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

smoke and mirrors - trading a fee increase for a tax cut

Anonymous said...

Republicans on council are gearing up for a yes vote on Allen. These gutless, no-balls politicos have to go with Brown in 2017. She is a Brown hack, an incompetent administrator, TAX EVADING CHEAT, and tremendously unqualified for the position. A vote for her should be a political nail in your coffins.

Anonymous said...

I say let her hang herself. She will if given enough rope. Dem's on council can vote no and still feel good about it..in the end. It is a lame duck appointment for lame duck Brown. Think positive! Power to the people!

Anonymous said...

The swap of the fee for a tax cut isn't pragmatic.

Why not keep the tax and combine it with the fee to get the bridges repaired faster?

Doesn't 2.8 million go farther than 1.4? Plus, it means corporations and companies that may not necessarily register any vehicles in Northampton County are contributing to the bridge fixes as well.

Anonymous said...

The County Employees put this council and executive in office. They are all mouth and always have been., Complain, complain.

Brown will be re-elected and so will this county council so do the right thing an don't be intimidated by the trough feeders.

Also stop with the tax and fee increases. I thought you guys were fiscal conservatives.

Anonymous said...

If most Management positions require a Bachelors Degree why doesn't this position. Appointed or not you should have the right credentials like everyone else has to.

Anonymous said...

This Northampton Co thig is just as entertaining as Allentowns city counsil meetings lateley! We all have had the honor to be blessed with the mayor's presiance latley because of the impass of the budget. It has not been approved by counsil members as of yet! That day at the end of this month will be a very colurful and entertaining evening! I would hope that you will be able to find time to attend as the passing of the infamous bottle of Snakeoil by one of Fed Ed's thugs that attacked you and forced you into drinking it as a energy drink!

This is ofcourse if you did not sell this entiquty on ebay or craigslist in the triboro?
REpublican redd
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