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Bucks County, Pennsylvania

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Last reviewed: December 10, 2011

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Budget Y
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Meetings Y
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Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials Y
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Permits, zoning N
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Audits
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Contracts Y
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Lobbying N
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Public records Y
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Local taxes Y
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Transparency grading process


”’Bucks County”’ is a county in [Pennsylvania]. The county seat is Doylestown. The 2010 census reported the population at 625,249, making it the fourth most populous county in Pennsylvania and the 95th most populous county in the U.S. The county seat is Doylestown, Pennsylvania and is part of the Delaware Valley area. As of 2000, it is the 76th wealthiest county in the nation as measured by median family income.[1]

Website evaluation

Main article: Evaluation of Pennsylvania county websites Last rated on Jan. 21, 2012

The good

  • Council meetings and agendas are published.[2]
  • Elected Commissioners and Row Officers are published, including contact information.[3]
  • Administrative officials are published, including department information and contact information.[4]
  • Election information is published.[5]
  • Audits are available.[6]
  • Budget information is available.[7]
  • Permits and licensing information is available.[8]
  • Bids are published.[9]
  • Contracts and purchase receipts are published.[10]
  • Public records are complete and available online.[11]
  • Online services, including online forms and documents is an excellent resource for citizens.[12]

The bad

  • No lobbying information.
  • Building and zoning info not posted.

Elected Officials: Council Members

Name Title
Charles Martin Commissioner Chairman
Robert Loughery Commissioner Vice Chairman
Diane Ellis-Marseglia Commissioner
Mary Smithson Clerk of Courts
Ray McHugh Controller
Dr. Jones Campbell Coroner
David Heckler District Attorney
Theresa Farley & Debra DeBlasio Jury commissioners
Patricia Bachtle Prothonotary
Barbara Reilly Register of Wills
Edward Donnelly Sheriff
William Snyder Treasurer

Administrative Officials

Name Title
Lynn Bush Planning Commission Director of Community Services
William Plantier Director of Corrections
Harry McCann Director of Public Safety, Emergency Services
David Boscola Director of Finance and Administration
Joseph Funk Director of Human Services
Christopher Edwards Director Public Information
Glenn Hains Solicitor

Budget

The operating budget for 2011 is 455,388,900, a 3.2% increase from 2010.[13]

Stimulus

The county seat, Doylestown, received $3,372,899 in one contract and seven grants.[14]

Local taxes

Of the revenue collected in 2011, real estate taxes generated $148,298,100, a $2,233,300 (1.5%) increase from 2010.[15]

County In the News

  • In October 2011, following an eight-month investigation by a grand jury of the Register of Wills office concluded that the place was “run by intimidation and deception.” The report alleged that Register of Wills Barbara Reilly was running a patronage pit where employees were bullied into contributing to political work for the Republican party in exchange for off-the-books compensation. For the first time since 1976, Reilly will not run for re-election.[16]
  • In February 2009, in Scranton PA, two judges pled guilty to operating a kickback scheme involving juvenile offenders. The judges, Mark Ciavarella Jr. and Michael Conahan took more than $2.6 million in kickbacks to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers.[17] Later, Mark Ciavarella was additionally accused by a Wilkes-Barre, PA newspaper of fixing an unrelated defamation case and of having close ties to a reputed mobster at the heart of the defamation case.[18]

Public Records

The county has appointed an Open Records Officer as a central point of contact for all record requests. The ORO is guided by the state's new Open Records Law that went into effect on January 1, 2009.

The county's 911 documentation policy that went into effect November 1, 2008, has come under fire from a media lawyer. Melissa Melewsky, an attorney for the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association lists multiple problems with the policy, including "the policy’s unclear definition of 911 records to its restrictions regarding time response logs and the fees it sets." County spokepeople indicate that the policy is meant to get the county into compliance with the new Right to Know Law going into effect Jan. 1, 2009, but Melewsky believes that it will have the opposite effect, and suggests revision.[19]

Public employee salaries

Main article: Bucks County employee salaries

External links

References