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Lehigh County town hall draws empty auditorium

By Cristiano Lima, WFMZ.com Reporter
Published On: Mar 31 2014 10:57:03 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 01 2014 06:05:47 AM CDT
Empty hall at Town Hall
ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

Lehigh County Executive Tom Muller’s first town hall meeting drew an empty audience as the event failed to spark community interest.

Not a single community member not affiliated with a media organization or the county staff was in attendance.

Scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at the Lehigh County Government Center in Allentown, officials said the event was more than adequately advertised but that the timing may have contributed to the lackluster attendance.

“We’ve got to find another formula to get to the citizens,” said Muller. “You just have to strike the right stride.”

The town hall was in stark contrast to another held this year to discuss Lower Macungie’s Costco, Whole Foods and Target shopping complex which drew a crowd of over 120.

“It’s really the issue-based stuff,” said Lehigh County Chief of Staff Frank Kane, of what tends to drive public engagement.

Executive Muller, who ran partially on the premise of increased transparency and communication through these town hall meetings, remained upbeat.

He plans to continue hosting them, with the next meeting expected in either April or early May.

“We’re going to change date, time and weekday” said Kane.

Muller also contemplated attending more municipal council meetings to interact more with citizens, but cautioned that this alone wouldn’t remedy the issue.

“I don’t learn when I’m the only one talking,” said Muller.