Thursday, August 28, 2008

Put A Cork In It?

"Oh, put a cork in it"

So says King James the Turd when Commissioner Castor questioned the hiring of an employee that he had not been informed about. Red Margaret Gibbons Times Herald article below:

Hiring Vote Spurs Spat Between Two County Commissioners
By: MARGARET GIBBONS, Times Herald Staff

COURTHOUSE - A new clerical position added to the county clerk of courts roster sparked the latest flare-up between Montgomery County's two Republican county commissioners
Clerk of Courts Ann Thornburg Weiss, one of the newly elected Democratic row officers who took office in January, earlier this year had proposed hiring an additional two or three employees for her office.

The office handles all criminal filings.

At the time, she was directed to wait until budget hearings got under way in the fall to make her request. (Read on after the jump:)

However, said Weiss, the backlog in the office continued to grow as a result of an increase in criminal filings.

"I had to expedite my request," Weiss explained last week at a meeting of the county salary board on which all three commissioners sit.

Weiss said she subsequently got the nod from Commissioners' Chairman James R. Matthews for one new position to help ease the workload.

Weiss provided this information under the grilling of Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr., Matthews' fellow Republican on the three-member board of commissioners, who said he was not aware Weiss had been given approval to add personnel.

Reluctant running mates in last year's commissioners' elections, Castor and Matthews have long been at odds. Castor found himself to be the odd man out in the current administration after Matthews entered into an unprecedented power-sharing pact with Democratic Commissioner Joseph M. Hoeffel III.

Matthews directed Castor to back off from his cross-examination of Weiss, explaining he granted the request after a visit from President Judge Richard J. Hodgson, who reinforced the need for additional personnel in Weiss's office.

Hodgson is a close personal friend of both Matthews and county Solicitor Barry M. Miller.

"When the president judge, who heads the judicial branch of this government, says there is a need to get this work done, we answer that need," said Matthews. "That is one of our jobs."

"If you want to add all this political nonsense, go right ahead," said Matthews. "I will continue to do the county's business as I am sure the president judge will."

"I think the people's business is watching how we spend their money," responded Castor.

"Oh, put a cork in it," replied Matthews.

Matthews and Hoeffel then voted for the salary board action that clears the way for the new hiring while Castor voted against it.

"I will convey your vote to the president judge," Matthews told Castor after the vote.

"Oooww, I'm intimidated," Castor, the county's former district attorney, answered.

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