Friday, August 07, 2020

Seyfried Loses Battle, But Did He Win the War?

Jerry (far left) posing with several former Council members.
Ron Heckman is to Jerry's left.  
At last night's meeting of Northampton County Council, all nine members voted in favor of an ordinance authorizing a referendum in which voters will be asked to approve a name change from Council member to Commissioner. Lori Vargo-Heffner, the driving force behind this, said County Council would remain County Council. Wha? Tara Zrinski said that "Commissioner" is more "gender neutral" than Council member. Wha? It's pretty clear to me that this is nothing more than an effort by these so-called public servants to make themselves sound more important than they really are. I hope voters see and reject this measure as nothing more than an exercise in narcissism. Nine politicians even rejected the sage advice given by former Executive and Council President Gerald E "Jerry" Seyfried. So he lost this battle. But he may have won the war.

During his presentation (you can read it below), Jerry suggested it's time to give the 42-year old Home Rule Charter a serious overhaul. Some might even want to scrap it and return to three Commissioners. Others might want an appointed manager as opposed to an elected Executive. Still others think our Sheriff is one row officer who should be elected. Almost all would agree that nearly every section needs improvement. But this can only happen with a home rule charter study commission.

So far, Council has shied away from that option, mostly because individual members are afraid that the County will revert to three-Commissioner rule. But last night, they listened. At least some of them.

Speaking of being called names, Council President Ron Heckman took exception to the photo you see above, which also appeared in yesterday's story. "I was referred to as the big fish that Jerry had caught when he went on one of his recent fishing trips. You can't be called worse than Councilman Ron Heckman, a big ... What fish was that?"

"Sucker!" was the answer from an unidentified voice in the peanut gallery who sounded suspiciously like Seyfried.


Anonymous said...

Why three commissioners? Is that a rule? Boards of three, councils of three, anything in government sucks in my opinion. Two people are a majority - and that is too few. More ripe for corruption and a corrupted process. Or is there a method to this madness, where three is seen as an advantage that I am missing?

ps I thought you were between Jerry and Ron until I looked closer at who I thought was Ron.

peterjcochran said...

Authorizing a referendum- So this will be on a machine, and on absentee ballots. In my humble opinion, When these questions occur , I think the the way a question is posed and possibly it’s placement in the form or machine will make a difference in the outcome . Am I wrong? I think it would be interesting to do an analysis of who voted for or against after the election. R or D ,machine and paper. I’m an R ,Mr.Seyfried is a D . I’m walking in and vote, and I trust Mr.Seyfried’s judgement on topics like this.

Anonymous said...

Zrinski might be on to something.

But they all act like a bunch of big "members", if you know what I mean.

So the name does fit, and shouldn't be changed.

Anonymous said...

I thought "Peanut Gallery" was a racist term, and to be abolished?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Zrinski might be on to something."

She's not. The word "commissioner" is inherently masculine. I refer to all members of NorCo Council as "Council member" and find it is much easier to be gender neutral with that than with the word "commissioner."

"I thought "Peanut Gallery" was a racist term, and to be abolished?

No. This expression originates from the cheaper seats in vaudeville, where blacks were probably not allowed to sit at all.

But if Council wanted to make the Charter gender neutral it could ask voters to do so by changing pronouns.

Anonymous said...

Such important work getting done by the council.

Anonymous said...

I guess we need to ask at a council meeting why their title is more important than the real issues. Let's start with restructuring gracedale!