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`PRIVATE’ PHONE CALLS ARE ANYTHING BUT

SHARE `PRIVATE’ PHONE CALLS ARE ANYTHING BUT

Northampton County has given new meaning to the term "open government."

Workers at the Gov. Wolf Building were shocked to find that for nearly an hour Thursday, their telephone conversations were broadcast over the public address system eight blocks away at the Government Center."I had about 15 minutes where I wasn't sure what was going on," said J. Alan Fowler, county director of support services. "We're still not entirely sure. I can kid about it now, but I was pretty worried there for a while."

Paul Albert, an auditor, was on the phone when the lines got tangled. Now, the entire courthouse staff and anyone else in the building at 8:30 a.m. knows the date of his next doctor's checkup.

"I was kind of upset about it at first," Albert said, "but then I realized how lucky it was that I wasn't talking about anything sensitive."

The Wolf Building is home to several departments dealing with highly sensitive matters that involve abusive parents, mental health patients, disturbed children and addicts.