When Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure was first asked to deliver a “State of the County” address, he wondered what he’d be able to say because he’s been in office for two months. So he decided instead to speak about the challenges he’s facing. In conversational style, he made his focus pretty clear in his March 2 address to a packed house of at least 150 people at Historic Hotel Bethlehem.
“We all work for the people of Northampton County,” he said after introducing his staff.
Richard “Bucky” Szulborski, who served on Bethlehem City Council for 12 years before voluntarily stepping down in 1995, is now Northampton County’s controller. He was appointed Feb. 15 in a 6-2-1 vote by council. Steve Barron resigned in January after being confirmed as Fiscal Affairs Director.
Voting for Szuloborski were Ken Kraft, Ron Heckman, Tara Zrinski, Bill McGee, Lori Vargo Heffner and Peg Ferraro. Voting no were John Cusick and Bob Werner. Matt Dietz abstained.
Morganellli’s nine-step common sense plan to reduce gun violence.
1) Pass “The Parents Responsible Gun Ownership Act.” - This would require gun owners to secure their firearms if they live with minors, violent criminals or the mentally ill. One of every three firearms is loaded and unsecured, even though most children know where their parents keep their guns.
2) Ban Bump Stocks, which make it easy to turn a semi-automatic weapon into one that fires continuously.
3) Require background checks on all sales of long guns.
By a 7-2 vote, Northampton County Council voted Feb. 15 to revoke a $10 million grant of hotel taxes to the DaVinci Science Center proposed in Easton. The ordinance passed by a lame duck council in December would have committed the county to annual payments of $250,000 over the next 40 years.
John Morganelli may be a candidate for Congress, but he’s also Pennsylvania’s most senior district attorney. He sees firsthand what guns can do.
The most recent mass shooting of students at a Florida high school has prompted him to once again propose legislation he originally advocated back in the 1990s. It’s part of a nine-step agenda that he wants the law enforcement community to consider and advocate in Harrisburg and, if necessary, in Washington. He is also requesting that immediate steps be taken in Northampton County to reduce gun violence.
In December, a lame duck Northampton County Council voted 5-4 to kick in $10 million toward a $130 million tourist attraction proposed in downtown Easton. The DaVinci Science Center’s Lin Erickson claimed that her project was educational, but its real draw was a shark-infested 500,000 gallon salt-water aquarium.
On JaN. 4, just two days after being sworn into office, Executive Lamont McClure nominated eight people to serve on his cabinet. He even introduced them to the public from the courthouse rotunda. Exactly two weeks later, on January 18, McClure’s cabinet picks were confirmed with almost no muss or fuss.
For years, good government groups like the League of Women Voters have lobbied state legislators to end the gerrymandering that occurs every ten years when state and Congressional districts are redrawn. This has been attacked as a rigged system by which our legislators pick the voters instead of the other way around. It provides incumbent protection, providing job job security for legislators who toe the line with party leaders while punishing any who dare rebel. It is also partisan, slanted in favor of whichever party - Democrat or Republican - is in power.
One incumbent and two newly elected Bethlehem Township Commissioners were sworn in on Jan. 2 by Magisterial District Judge Pat Broscius. They are Mike Hudak, John Gallagher and John Merhottein. Hudak was also re-elected President of the board in a 3-2 vote, with Malissa Davis and Tom Nolan dissenting. Tom Nolan was unanimously elected Vice President.
Gallagher is a retired architect who became interested in Bethlehem Township government when developer Traditions of America sought approval of a senior community at Green Pond. He is a Democrat.
Lamont McClure was sworn into office Jan. 2 at 3:30 pm Over the next two days, he nominated most of his cabinet. In addition, he filled most of the Deputy positions. He announced these appointments in his county council report on Jan. 4. And in a sign that he will be a very different executive than his predecessor, McClure also announced these appointments in a very public news conference earlier in the day. Every one of his nominees was present, too.