Council wants voters to decide if sheriff should be elected or appointed

Ex-sheriff Miller, meanwhile, is suing to get his job back

EASTON, Pa. - Voters in the November election will be asked if they want the sheriff of Northampton County to be elected rather than appointed.

The decision to put the choice in the hands of voters was made Thursday night by Northampton County Council.

The sheriff is currently appointed, not elected.

Councilman Ken Kraft, one of the sponsors of the resolution, said the November ballot will include a question asking voters if they want the sheriff to be elected.

The resolution required an amendment to the county Home Rule Charter.

The sheriff normally performs his duties quietly in the background, but in Northampton County the post has recently generated a lot of attention, starting with County Executive John Brown's decision to fire Sheriff Randy Miller in January and appoint Chief Deputy Christopher Zieger acting sheriff.

Miller, who was appointed to the job in 2009 by then-County Executive John Stoffa, a Democrat, is suing to get his job back. Brown, who took office in January, is a Republican.

In another vote, council rejected a move by Brown to appoint Catherine E. Allen to the position of Director of Administration, at $87.838 a year, to fill the vacancy being created by the retirement of Tom Harp.

Allen, who  is Harp's assistant, is also president of Bangor Borough Council. Brown is the former mayor of Bangor.

Council also approved contracts to replace and repair about 12 bridges throughout the county.

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