Open Letter to All Lehigh County Commissioners: A humble request to please publish this letter. Meeting is on Oct 14th
Open Letter to All Commissioners:
I am writing to all Commissioners of Lehigh County to express my extreme concern over the looming budget amendments put forward by Dave Harrington. Since the county commissioners are close to approving the budget it is prudent to approve the amendments put forth by Commissioner Dave Harrington
Budgets going forward for any programs or department including District Attorney in the future must measure performance over time and to ensure more accountability and transparency.
The County Commissioners’ responsibility is to provide overall organizational leadership, accountability and create transparency for a pathway toward better management. The budget is also a management tool; it is the only mechanism for managing the many activities of county government. Commissioners should effectively contribute in building safe and healthy communities for all Lehigh County resident.
Budgets are more than just numbers on a page. The County budgets should be a reflection of the values and vision for the kinds of outcomes we want to see in our communities. Commissioner are the face of Lehigh County. However, examining just the District Attorney Budget, the values and vision is murky at best in the absence of transparency.
Over past three months I have attended numerous Commissioners meetings. What I see is lack of cooperation in providing data when requested. I believe the Lehigh County Commissioners should set a higher bar for the performance measures embedded in the DA budget. The District attorney’s budget should not be judged by quantity of prosecution, but the quality of the outcomes that are achieved.
The current budget framework is totally insufficient for effectively assessing and guiding the impact of the work and resources of the district attorney office and the money it spends. The stakes are too high to let this continue. There is a growing dissatisfaction with the criminal justice system’s status quo. In many places, our policies and practices have not kept up with the research on what delivers the best public safety outcomes, and patience has run out on a system that continues to treat people of color more harshly.
Approximately $8.9 million is spent by the DA’s Office, the most powerful criminal justice office in the county, and meaningful benchmarks that are based on data and other evidence are needed to reduce racial disparity, reduce recidivism, improve the treatment of youths in the justice system and show cost benefits of the practices by the DA office.
Commissioners have a duty to save tax dollars to encourage reform of our criminal justice system. Please support Commissioner Harrington’s Amendments to save tax dollars while improving our criminal justice system.
A concern Lehigh County Resident
Call to action: there’s a petition that we will present to the commissioners on the 14th!
Please sign and circulate!