|Hayden "the Colonel" Phillips|
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.