Want to watch how well candidates to become Lehigh County’s next executive do in their job interviews?
The four finalists for the position will be interviewed at a public meeting beginning at 6 p.m. next Wednesday – Aug. 1 – in the county’s government center, 17 S. 7th St., Allentown.
The candidates are being considered to complete the term of Don Cunningham, who resigned earlier this month, after more than six years as county executive, to become president and CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation.
Cunningham’s four-year-term continues through 2013. Like Cunningham, the person appointed to complete his term must be a Democrat who resides in Lehigh County.
The four candidates are:
• Matthew Croslis of Allentown, who owns a title insurance and real estate company. He ran for county executive in 2011.
• William Hansell of Lower Macungie Township, who consults for governments and associations. He is a former county commissioner and former manager of Catasauqua and South Whitehall.
• John Ingram II of Allentown, who owns a commercial real estate and consulting company. He previously served on the Allentown Planning Commission.
• Daniel McCarthy of Allentown, who is an attorney who serves as solicitor for the Allentown Parking Authority. McCarthy also is serving his third term as a county commissioner.
The candidates will be interviewed in alphabetical order by last name on Wednesday, explained county commissioner Scott Ott, who chairs the commissioners’ intergovernmental and appointments committee that will conduct those interviews.
Ott said each candidate will have about 20 minutes to answer “a fixed set of questions,” adding the candidates will not get those questions in advance. He added: “We’ll have an opportunity for commissioners to follow up and ask probing questions.”
Ott indicated he expects the entire board of commissioners will be at that meeting.
“Once the committee has heard from the candidates we’ll have an opportunity to make a recommendation,” explained Ott. “We could do that conceivably that night or we could do it the following week at our committee meeting, then that recommendation will go before the full board.”
Ott said his committee has 30 days to make a recommendation to the board of commissioners from July 9, the date Cunningham left office, adding the board has 45 days to vote on that “before it goes to the courts, which is something we are committed to not having happen.”
When explaining the interview process during the commissioners meeting Wednesday night, Ott said a fifth candidate voluntarily withdrew her name that day.
After the meeting, he said the candidate who withdrew is Ann Marie Ganchoso of Allentown.
During the meeting, Commissioner David Jones asked Ott if his committee will recommend one candidate for the board of commissioners to approve or if it will present the best two for the board to make the final selection.
Ott responded: “Once we’ve completed the interview process, we will entertain motions from the committee as to how we would like to make a recommendation to board.”
Ott said the idea of the committee recommending two candidates rather than one never occurred to him, but added someone on the committee could make such a motion.
Jones said only once did the intergovernmental and appointments committee recommend just one candidate to be appointed to fill an open position. He said “historically” that committee has always presented options for consideration by all the commissioners.
Ott said if his committee recommends one candidate to the board, and five commissioners do not vote to approve that candidate, “motions can be made from the floor to consider any of the other candidates or even conceivably somebody who wasn’t part of the process.”
Commissioners Thomas Creighton and Vic Mazziotti serve with Ott on the appointments committee.
McCarthy also serves on the committee but, as one of the four candidates, he will not participate in the deliberations.