EASTON, Pa. – Northampton County Council wrapped up an annual reorganization meeting Monday in five minutes, choosing Lori Vargo Heffner again as president.
The nine elected officials are members of county council but are now known as commissioners. A referendum last spring established the name change for individual members to commissioners, although the legislators are still often referred to as councilmembers.
That makes Vargo Heffner a commissioner who is president of a council. The change was designed to bring Northampton County into line with other Pennsylvania counties.
Regardless of the name, Vargo Heffner said her goal is to keep the council of commissioners focused on the same work it did last year: monitoring spending and helping the county get through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Council has worked with County Executive Lamont McClure to distribute more than $20 million to small businesses, and more to nonprofit groups and local governments, during the pandemic. Northampton County has also promoted vaccinations and COVID-19 testing.
"The more people we get vaccinated and boosted, the better off we will be," Vargo Heffner said after the meeting.
Last year's council had a 6-3 Democrat majority, now down to 5-4 with new Republican members John Goffredo and former county executive John Brown. Republican Margaret Ferraro retired from county government and Democrat William McGee lost in the fall election.
"I talked with the new commissioners today," Democrat Vargo Heffner said. "We need to work as a unit, put partisan politics aside, and do what's right on behalf of the people of Northampton County."
Democrat Kerry Myers was elected vice president of council. Myers, who prides himself on a plain-speaking approach to government, replaces McGee.
Council also chose Bethlehem attorney Chris Spadoni as solicitor for another year.
Other councilmembers include Republicans Thomas Giovanni and John Cusick, and Democrats Tara Zrinski, Kevin Lott and Ron Heckman.