Cusick elected for a third term
Northampton County Councilman John Cusick will serve a third term as council's president.
Schedule conflicts, vacations and illness resulted in a five-person council reelecting Cusick by a 3-1 vote with one abstention from Councilman Scott Parsons.
As required by the county's Home Rule Charter, county council held its reorganization meeting Jan. 7, the first Monday of the new year. The early afternoon Monday rather than Thursday evening meeting caused some scheduling conflicts for the nine-member council.
Councilwoman Peg Ferraro voted by speakerphone while on vacation, which brought an objection by Councilman Lamont McClure who said that Councilman Ken Kraft would have voted by phone as well but the meeting room's technology only had one phone line available. McClure had nominated Kraft for the president's position. Kraft was unable to attend the reorganization meeting due to illness.
Parsons withheld his vote because he said everyone had an equal vote on council: "It doesn't matter to me who is president."
Council also reelected Ferraro as vice president. Ferraro was first elected to serve on council in 1989.
As one of the five at-large seats on council set to expire this year, Ferraro said she will be running for reelection in the May primary.
In accepting the presidency, Cusick outlined his priorities: consolidate the Human Services department so that its employees were not in two different aging buildings, increase grant money for municipal parks and reduce the county's contribution to the county-owned nursing home's operating budget.
The once Republican-led council now only slightly favors the Republicans with a 5-4 majority.
At the conclusion of the meeting, McClure requested that council's solicitor review previous reorganization meetings to determine how many times council's president and vice president were elected by three votes.
At council's Jan. 10 meeting, the recovered Kraft said he had watched the Jan. 7 reorganization meeting as it was videostreamed from the county's Web site into his computer. Kraft advised council to rethink its use of technology so that in the future council members can vote on issues by phone and the computer.
Council's next regular meeting is at 6:30 p.m., Jan. 24 on the third floor of Northampton County Courthouse at 669 Washington St., Easton.