Saturday, May 23, 2015

What Does Partisan Mean? (2)

Picking up where I left off...

Image result for northampton pa county council working pics...After the appointment vote, Council President Peg Ferraro expressed; next they would go into executive session. Councilman Robert Werner respectfully interjected. The floor was turn over to the Councilman. He respectfully spoke of an employee matter dealing with DA John Morganelli. Mr. Werner formed the opinion that Mr. Morganelli followed proper processes dealing with a similar matter. The matter involved the salaries of three of the DA's staff's members. 

Image result for bob werner county council working picsMr. Werner informed council that he had complimented Mr. Morganelli for openly providing personnel financial information during the personnel and finance committee meeting the day before, as part of a salary increase the DA was requesting. Also, that Morganelli acknowledged salaries paid for using tax dollars are simply a matter of public record. 

Image result for bob werner county council working picsMr. Werner then respectfully requested County Executive John Brown follow the example set by Mr. Morganelli. He also expressed that if the Executive would do so. He (Mr. Werner) would also compliment the Executive too.

Image result for peg ferraro county council working picsMs. Ferraro, becoming somewhat impatient stated again: she desired to go into executive session. She was clearly seeking a motion to do so. However, none came. Instead, another interjection came, this time from Councilman Ken Kraft. Mr. Kraft wanted to know exactly what they would be discussing in the closed session. The interjection led to some well mannered back and forth discussion, eventually leading to a motion to go into executive session. The motion passed by a 6-3 vote.

Image result for solution picsI would also like to add that Ms. Ferraro made it crystal clear she had a solution. However, it was equally clear that she did not want to discuss it openly. So off they went after the motion passed, to discuss the matter further - behind closed doors. I can honestly say I wasn't sure why they (or Ms. Ferraro) desired to discuss an established public matter behind closed doors.

Image result for bob werner county council working picsTake note please, that of the nine members of council present, one, Mr. McClure, was present via telephone. He chose not to be part of the close session, expressing that it was not necessary to transfer his line to the closed session.

Image result for old state of affairs picsIt certainly appeared at this point that perhaps something wasn't right! For a moment I felt we were going back to the old "state of affairs" on council. You know, the secretive back-room negotiations days.

Image result for praying hands picsI did not become angry or excited as I watched, instead I prayed for council. And then, about 58 minutes later they came out. Were my prayers answered? Absolutely! 

Image result for phil lauer picsTwo minutes shy of an hour later. They (council) showed for all to see, just how well bi-partisanship can work. Ms. Ferraro asked Council Solicitor Phil Lauer to provide the time of councils return and the nature of their discussion for the record.

Mr. Lauer, after saying the time, explained the nature of the closed session to be: 1) a series of personnel matters, 2) Possible litigation, and 3) a resolution to (possibly) resolve the two matters discussed.

Image result for councilman Ken Kraft picsThe floor was then turn over to Mr. Kraft, who read the resolution into the record. The resolution offered four parts as follows:

1) Councils conclusion that the pay raises and step advances granted by the Executive are unlawful.

2) Direct the Executive to present to the Personnel committee justification for the pay raises and step advances during the June 17, 2015 Personnel and Finance meeting.

3) During the Council meeting to be held on June 18, 2015, Council will determine if the pay raises should be approved, and, if disapproved, council will determine the remedy that should be imposed.

4) In the event that the Executive shall fail to comply with the directive, Council instructs their solicitor to file an action against the County Executive, in the nature of a declaratory judgment, seeking to have the raises nullified, and a surcharge imposed against the County Executive.

To Be Continued...

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