Bucks Writs - Spring 2018 - 22

committed to doing the necessary research on the issues at
hand in order to succeed. By devoting the hours and days
necessary, Neale feels he leads by example. He similarly
enjoyed his previous "very satisfying" four-year tenure on
the New Hope-Solebury School Board. There, he served
three years as chair of the Finance Committee and the
fourth as President. This followed the aforementioned
career in commercial insurance. Why the change? He saw
the need and wanted to get involved.
The work of the thirty-person Controller's office is almost
entirely deadline driven. The volume of work comes from
many sources in the form of daily, weekly, and monthly
responsibilities, and must be completed. Kim Doran has
been First Deputy to the office (and occasionally acting
Controller) for more than a quarter century. Her vast
experience is invaluable.

Controller Neale
By Scott L. Feldman

Neale is often tasked with reassigning and changing
individual co-workers' responsibilities in order to maximize
overall effectiveness. Among the initial challenges has
been "making sure practices comply with the policy at a
minimum." Neale discovered that certain longstanding
practices have unfortunately followed the "that's the way
we've always done it around here" credo rather than a
stated policy or best practice. One example cited was the
untimeliness of expense reports. Neale looks forward to
gently reeling in some of these practices and the office
becoming more efficient.

On the one hand, Neale Dougherty could not be more
proud of the fact that he was part of the wave of the first
Democratic row officers elected to serve Bucks County in
some 35 years. On the other hand, he quickly volunteered
that the Controller's office is perhaps the least political
office in Doylestown. On the one hand, Neale's calm
demeanor and soft spoken-ness are indicative of one who
spent eighteen years in commercial insurance (yawn). On
the other hand, he is an avid black diamond skier whose
children are champion level age group ski racers themselves.

The Controller's office web page, http://www.buckscounty.
org/government/RowOfficers/Controller, contains a treasure
trove of reports and information. A comprehensive 100+
page Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is available.
The fiscal 2017 report is presently being audited and will
similarly be available to the public by the end of May.

A recent chat with the new Controller revealed these and
other interesting dichotomies.
Neale readily explained that "our core mission is to make
sure Bucks County tax dollars are spent appropriately." The
Controller is ultimately responsible for the overall County
annual budget of some $420,000,000, and is authorized
to examine the accounts and official acts of all officers or
other persons who collect, receive, or disperse the County's
money. The office thus has auditing responsibilities for
the nineteen Magisterial District Courts, all of the local
municipal tax collectors and the various County offices
(such as District Attorney, Recorder of Deeds, Sheriff, and
Prothonotary). It turns out some of these offices have
not been audited in a decade or more. These will be
prioritized. In addition, thousands of vendors serve the
County; the office reviews the individual contracts and the
adherence to them.

The Controller also serves on the County retirement board,
salary board and prison oversight board.
The Dougherty home in Solebury Township is sports and
animal driven. Neale and Lorraine, a private practice
oncologist and hematologist, are very involved with their
childrens' varied academic and athletic pursuits. In addition
to ski racing, twelve-year-old James and ten-year-old Lizzie
also play lacrosse and soccer. Neale founded the local youth
lacrosse program and remains very active as a coach. The
family has two Newfoundlands, a large breed known for
its pleasant disposition, as well as two cats. Neale is well
read, absorbing several newspapers each day. He enjoys
reading biographies, and recently read Skydog, the Duane
Allman Story. 

Neale was sworn in on January 2, and attended a salary
board meeting the same day. In all, the transition was
smooth and professional. He likes to keep busy and is

http://www.buckscounty.org/government/RowOfficers/Controller http://www.buckscounty.org/government/RowOfficers/Controller

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Bucks Writs - Spring 2018

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