His own reelection as local party chair is questionable. He was elected by committeemen chosen in the last primary. But his election occurred five days before certificates of election were actually mailed to the elected committeemen. And some elected committeemen were thus denied the opportunity to cast a vote for someone else. He was not democratically elected.
Long was part of the back-room deal that resulted in the appointment of Democrats Lamont McClure and Tony Branco to Northampton County Council, a violation of the state's Sunshine Act.
When I challenged Wally G, aka Walter Garvin, on a WGPA talk radio show over his dual involvement as Democratic area chair and local elections commission chair, it was Joe Long who immediately called the show to proclaim it's perfectly OK for a partisan party officer to head an elections commission. Garvin has since resigned his party positions.
And now, thanks to The Morning Call, we know that the Bethlehem Housing Authority is planning a private meeting tomorrow with Congressman Charlie Dent, a "clear violation" of the Sunshine Act in the view of both a media lawyer and the Authority's own solicitor. An email that BHA Commissioner Larry Kisslinger has sent to a large audience reveals Long as a chronic Sunshine Act offender.
In Kisslinger's own words,
"Chairman Long insisted that 'all' BHA commissioners shall be at the meeting with Congressman Dent, thereby, violating the Sunshine Law, in my opinion. Chairman Long in concert with BHA Executive Director Clara Kendy, has had many similar meetings in the past, repeatedly, ignoring my advice to the contrary....ie. audit reports, budget discussions, and the like. Regarding all said meetings, I have no idea if Chairman Long, and/or BHA Executive Director Clara Kendy ever sought the advice of our BHA Solicitor while doing so...but if he or she did so...and was approved by Solicitor....was wrong advice, in my strong opinion...as I always advised Chairman Long & others to no avail...he is Chairman and we all must listen, is all we are advised by Mr Long."
Kisslinger's email is a violation of a Long policy that bars other commission members from discussing their jobs without first getting his clearance. "Chairman Long ... declares that "any and all" communications from me and any other Commissioners "MUST FIRST CLEAR" any and all communications with him, and/or, our Executive Director, BEFORE any Commisssioner can ever communicate anything to anybody on the planet."
I'd like to know how many junkets Joe Long has taken as BHA chair at taxpayer expense. Long represents everything that is wrong, not with Democrats, but all politicians. He stands for government behind closed doors, and that's where democracy dies. According to the BHA website, commissioners serve at the will of the Mayor. If this is really so, it's time for Mayor Callahan to get rid of this troublemaker. Local Dems should dump him, too.
Update: Dent Refuses to Be Part of Sunshine Act Violation
Late this afternoon, Congressman Dent's office contacted yours truly to let us all know that Charlie Dent will gladly meet with executive director Clara Kendy, the only person he was scheduled to meet with in the first place. He won't be meeting Long or any other BHA commissioners. Dent has made the right call. He had every right to assume that a public board follows the law, and in any event, had no idea that the entire BHA was descending upon him. After reading that the entire BHA plans to appear, Dent has made clear he refuses to be a willing participant in a Sunshine Act violation.
I wonder if Joe Long can borrow some signs from the Dent Nine.
Free the Long Five!