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Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Bethlehem Tp Appoints Howard Kutzler Interim Comm'r

Howard Kutzler was Bethlehem Tp Manager,
but was succeeded by Melissa Shafer
On July 5, Kim Jenkins resigned as a Bethlehem Township Commissioner for the third ward after just 18 months in office. She said her decision was for personal reasons. At a special meeting on July 31, the remaining four Commissioners appointed Howard Kutzler, 52, to succeed her until the end of the year.

In November, voters will decide who represents them in an election in which the county parties name the candidates.

Kutzler is a Republican,while Jenkins is a Democrat. Nothing in the First Class Township Code requires that an appointed Commissioner be a member of he same party as the person who was elected.

Kutzler was selected from among four candidates. The remaining three include business consultant Gene DePalma, Seafarers' union official Joe Sorei and Upper Macungie Tp Administrative Assistant Sheri Eichlin.

Kutzler, who with his wife raised his son and daughter in the Township, should know Bethlehem Township government very well. He worked there 14 years, both as Planning Director and Manager. In 2013, he accepted a position in South Whitehall Township as Director of Administration, and was named Township Manager in 2015.

Earlier this year, he took on a new challenge as a planner for David Jaindl. Noting he spent 27 years in the public sector, he said he'd like to work in the private sector.

But not completely. He still is hooked on local government, an interest he gets from his father, a police officer, and his grandfather, a former Northampton Mayor. His first job was as a basket boy at the Northampton pool.

He said that serving as interim Commissioner is "an opportunity to give back to this community, which has been so generous to me."

Kutzler is the first Township Commissioner to be appointed to the Board since 1985. Tom Nolan pointed out that's when he was appointed, but he was defeated in the election that year.

Kutzler, who graduated from the University of West Virginia with a degree in Planning, said he expects to run as the Republican nominee.

"Howard, God help you!" said President Mike Hudak after the appointment.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

You have to wonder why regular people even bother to apply for these openings. It is always a deep insider that gets the nod. This is the story of local politics. No wonder people are disinterested. The game is fixed.

Anonymous said...

@12:09,
It's not like it is forever. This is a temporary appointment until the November general elections. If you are so interested in public service, run for office. Schmooze the Dem leadership into putting you on the ballot in November.

Anonymous said...

They needed someone who could hit the ground running. Howard fits that bill.

Anonymous said...

Actually, it is giving the insider an unfair advantage by putting him in now. He stated he is running in November. They should have picked someone that would not have run. However, that is not how things are done as you well know.

Anonymous said...

12:09: "regular people" "the game is fixed"? Why are you so pessimistic? You've got a great municipality and Kutzler is a great choice. As an Allentown resident, I envy you, our game truly is fixed and having a smart, ethical, competent person get appointed to City Council would be a pipe dream for us. Here's a guy who knows local government, understands the perspective of the staff, takes great pride in his community and has no selfish motivation. You should try looking at the bright side.

Anonymous said...

@12:16AM,
Why would you not expect the appointee, regardless of who was chosen, to run? It would have been a disservice to the people of BT to appoint someone who was only interested in serving 5 months.

Anonymous said...

He's feeling guilty for all the wrongdoing he did as planner and manager, give back my ass!

Anonymous said...

The fremnansburg ave & rt 33 fiasco has his name all over it as does the worst parking lot shopping center where shop rite is located, terrible planning!

Anonymous said...

"He's feeling guilty for all the wrongdoing he did as planner and manager, give back my ass!"

Are you crazy? Bethlehem Township is an outstanding community, you must be taking that for granted. I'd love to live there. You ought to see the type of management and planning at the bulk of municipalities around here. Kutzler is a professional guy and Bethlehem Township is a great place to live, you should be thankful for what you have and not always look to take potshots at everyone in the public.

Anonymous said...

Howard has done a tremendous job for Bethlehem Township. Be thankful when you have an emergency that St. Lukes Hospital is right in your back yard. Without Howard you wouldn't have options like Lowes, Best Buy, TGIF, Chipotle, Shop-Rite, plus beautiful home developments like Madison Farms, Maple Shade, etc..... Easy to hide behind your keyboard but truth be told Howard is a great addition to the Board!

When he wins in November, expect him to be President because he is miles ahead of anyone that sits at that table. Congratulations again Howard!

Anonymous said...

How much boss jandl land is in Bethlehem twp?

Anonymous said...

Howard and family are commenting up a storm. Relax, he got the appointment and he will get the win in November. Insiders always win.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It kills me that someone anonymously accuses Howard of posting anonymously. I highly doubt that is the case. Also, I have to point out that I ALWAYS found him to be accessible and transparent when he was Manager. A lot of what he has done has made the Township better. I suspect that is why he received unanimous support. Also, there is an election in November, and any person who wants to be a nominee should contact his party chair. The three other candidates who applied for this vacancy all seem very well suited. The voters will make the call, as both Tom Nolan and Mike Hudak observed.

Anonymous said...

"and any person who wants to be a nominee should contact his party chair. The three other candidates who applied for this vacancy all seem very well suited."

BS! They put him in and he is also running. Usually you don't like that but its OK for this guy. You know full well the party will give it to him. Insider smoke.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The Democratic Party will not be naming him. They might name one of the other applicants. I suspect the R party will name Walter as Lee Snover, a BT resident and party chair, has high regard for Howard. But any person who thinks he or she can be a better candidate can lobby the party. Even if not named as party nominee, a person who wants the position can wage a write-in campaign.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Bernie. Could you type that with straight face?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am signing my name and am quite sincere while you are anonymously bashing someone's integrity. Several years ago, Paul Weiss just missed when he waged a write-in. This is the people's call. Contrary to what you seem to think, democracy is no spectator sport. If you really think the way you do, get out there and disclose your identity and wage a campaign.

Ovem Lupo Commitere said...

I knew a few of the names that were considered. Those that I did are good folks.

Congratulations to Howard. He brings an obvious wealth of knowledge and expertise to step right into the role. He will do quite well. Having been staff, management, and now BOC, the hardest part initially will likely just be everyone along that same chain of command being mindful of everyone's current roles. But I don't see that as a problem. Howard has long invested in our/his community on a personal level, not just employment, and cares very much for Bethlehem Township. I see this as a natural progression for him.

Re some of criticisms, to be short: in the big picture of planning some areas are mapped out to be residential, some areas should be conserved, and other areas--like the Rte 33 corridor-- are appropriate for development to broaden the tax base and enhance amenities available to residents. Once the temporary inconveniences of construction are finished most will admit they enjoy the proximity of those developments (but I'll give you that Shop Rite's parking is too tight). Re the implied conflict of interest with his current employer, I believe that really is a non-issue. The only two tracts I can think of related to Jaindls (and perhaps not even the same direct entity of his employment): one has long been approved for a bank by Southmont, but never built; and the other is land north of Route 22 that very few Twp residents probably even realize is in the Twp. If ever developed and Mr. Kutlzer would simply need to recuse himself. That comment really was a red herring.

That all said, if any have concerns the solution, as suggested, is simple--RUN yourself. As TR once said, "...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic--the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to done." (1891)

Bernie O'Hare said...

Howard told me last night that he would recuse himself, and in writing, in the event of a conflict.

Anonymous said...

A "planner for Jaindl" tells us a lot. Gee, I wonder how he feels about Traditions of America getting ready to plow Green Pond?

Anonymous said...

Good question, Howard?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I saw him this evening at BT's National Night Out. He said he'd be happy to meet with you and answer all your questions. His email is kutzler@yahoo.com . But my guess is you won't do that.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
michael molovinsky said...

this comment will have a short shelf life, when bernie sees it. he criticizes anonymous comments, but then deletes signed ones he disagrees with? mr. kutzler became South Whitehall manager by default, when jon hammer left. when you had that position, then take a job with the biggest developer in the township, it raised more than a few eyebrows. while that statement is innuendo, here's a fact. under his tenure the township continues to attempt to sidestep the residents desire to keep wehr's dam and accommodate the wildlands conservancy, which essentially dictates their park policy, and wants the dam demolished.

furthermore, the morning call refuses to print my expose on this controversy.

this post will be deleted by o'hare

Anonymous said...

A "planner for Jaindl" tells us a lot. Gee, I wonder how he feels about Traditions of America getting ready to plow Green Pond?

I am curious about this. Do you prefer that Traditions builds on the northern tract of land and the golf course stays open or would you prefer that another developer close the gold course and build on the entire northern and southern tracts. Those are the options as I understand it. Unless the Township or County buy the land you can't stop a landowner from selling the property.

Anonymous said...

Textbook BT politics. All the players and power brokers tweeting in and everything. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck.

Wondering how long until there is friction with the manager and staff. I see a couple of retirements and resignations coming up.

Business as usual in that township.

Anonymous said...

To the person "curious" about why I am concerned about a "planner for Jaindl" being appointed commissioner and the impact on Green Pond: First, Jaindl is a DEVELOPER. Anyone who works for him wants to DEVELOP. Forget about "open space." My hope for Green Pond is that it remains Green Pond. I prefer that Traditions respects a crucial environmental area (I think you know that already). I realize I sound ridiculous - it's about money. North, south, golf course, ponds, they don't care. Don't get me wrong, I love money. I'm actually a Republican. I have a dream that a "Tradition of America" could actually mean respect for natural resources. I know, I know, I'm dreaming...

Bernie O'Hare said...

MM, In case you haven't noticed , the primary objective of this post is to provide the reader with actual facts based on attendance at a meeting. I make no pretense at objectivity, preferring to be honest. The primary objective of most of your posts is to provide readers with opinions based on misinformation from meetings you no longer attend and research you fail to do. While disguising yourself as nonpartisan or objective, the reality is much different. i allowed you one comment but no more.you will be deleted from this point.

Anonymous said...

It is West Virginia University to be correct. Just had to point out the minor mistake, but not to be a wiseguy.