Thursday, December 14, 2006

Northampton County Continues to Ignore its Workers

A week ago, over one hundred county workers stuffed into cramped council chambers to demand a fair wage. Some are on food stamps. Others need home heating assistance. The combined average salary for the row office, maintenance and 911 workers is nearly $12,000 below the $38,622 average earnings paid to people who worked in Northampton County over two years ago. Many feel Northampton County Executive John Stoffa has broken promises made before his election.

Although I don't believe that Stoffa intentionally misled anyone, he has clearly failed to give county workers the priority they so clearly deserve. He's not alone. They've been ignored by everyone, and for too long. It's simply inexcusable that, for nearly four years, their wages have been stagnant. And the problem actually started ten years ago, when the county stopped increasing its payscale.

Evidence of this neglect continues to mount. Last Thursday, as courthouse workers paraded the street outside Stoffa's office, he reputedly promised to contact union negotiators the very next day. But that hasn't happened. Once again, Northampton County is dissing its most valuable possession - its workforce. Here's a letter union negotiators mailed to Stoffa yesterday.


Dear Mr. Stoffa,

On the evening of Thursday, December 7th you and [Fiscal Affairs Director] Maziotti promised that you would respond to our request for continued negotiations on the Residual Unit "Final Offer" the following day, Friday, December 8th.

I received no communication from either of you as of Friday afternoon. I left a voice mail for Mr. Maziotti Friday morning requesting a response to our request and also requesting the County's cost analysis ... .

I received a voice mail reply from Mr. Maziotti the afternoon of December 11th stating that my inquiries and request for information should be directed to either you or [the Director of Human Resources].

I left a voice mail for you around noon on Tuesday, December 12th requesting the cost analysis and continued negotiations. As of 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, December 13th I have not heard back from you.

I am requesting continuation of negotiations and copies of the County's cost analysis.

Is this how you treat an unhappy workforce that already feels betrayed?

29 comments:

Ron Lobb said...

Thats dispicable, Im a tax payer and I would rather see my money go to a blue collar worker feeding his family, than to some fat cat wannabe, 3 martini lunch havin $90,000- $100,000 appointment with no real purpose.Im a tradesmen in Northampton county and the average wage is from $20.00-$25.00 AVERAGE.When are we going to get a politician in office who wont thumb his nose at the very people who put him in the position to collect HIS fat county taxpayer paycheck.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Well said, Ron. Thanks for your comment. I'll relay the substance this morning to county exec Stoffa.

Anonymous said...

THANKS FOR CONTINUING TO ADVANCE THE CAUSE FOR N.C. EMPLOYEES. UNION PEOPLE AND EMPLOYEES AT THE TOP OF THEIR SCALE WILL CONTINUE TO HIT THE WALL AS THE DULY ELECTED OFFICIALS AND THEIR LOYAL APPOINTEES CONTINUE TO RUN AND HIDE. MANY OF US ARE ALSO COUNTY RESIDENTS AND TAXPAYERS TAKING A TRIPLE HIT OF INCREASING TAXES, ESCALATING COSTS OF LIVING AND STAGNANT OR TOKEN INCREASES IN SALARY. KING JOHN AND HIS LEGISLATIVE COUNTER PARTS HAVE FAILED TO ADDRESS THE INDIGNITIES FORCED UPON THE COUNTY WORKFORCE FOR THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS. WORDS HAVE FAILED. THE NEXT STEP FOR EMPLOYEES IS BECOMING INCREASINGLY OBVIOUS. ACTION, WITHIN THE LAW.

Anonymous said...

35 meetings to negotiate? 191 people want a 10% raise. That's a little much!

Anonymous said...

Bernie, You are awful quiet today!

Anonymous said...

There goes Ron, once again taking credit!

Anonymous said...

Why does Ron have to call other people Snot nosed kids? I don't agree with some of them, but I don't talk disparagingly of them publicly!

Anonymous said...

Don't talk over Ron on his commercials, he likes to br able to hear himself!

Anonymous said...

The largest open space in Pennsylvania is between Ron Angle's ears.

Anonymous said...

Angle has children? are they human?

Anonymous said...

Ron doesn't think about open space, he doesn't think, period

Anonymous said...

Ron's plan? Make Ron feel important

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 8:34, Today was John Stoffa's day to talk and to hear from county employees. I'm glad he came. I'm glad that some of the employees receiving assistance did call in. I though it was actually a productive session.

EndAngle said...

Bernie, you promote that bastard Angle like he's a decent human. He's a bigot and a fool. He embarasses our county.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Endangle, This post is focused on NC workers, not Angle.

My blog focuses on Northampton County and its politics. In 300 posts, Angle's name has been mentioned 27 times. Most of the times it's just peripheral. I like Angle but have criticized his attempt to vote a payraise for himself before the county worker. I've ridiculed his views on illegal immigration. I've posted a picture of him with John Wayne Gacey. If I'm promoting him, he better fire me.

What you don't like is that I'll note that much of what Ron does on a local level is right. Ron needlessly launches personal attacks at times, and I've noted that as well. But what you've done is no better. You do your own namecalling but don't bother to ID yourself.

The anonymous poster who made disparaging comments earlier was at least being funny.

Anonymous said...

The commenter DID identify her/himself as "Anonymous." I see that as a choice of identification that YOU offer in your comments column ("Choose an identity"), Bernie.

So what's your beef with namecalling under an anonymous ID...an ID you clearly accept?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I allow anonymous comments and said that the comments were at least funny, even if they were disparaging. But I place little weight on personal attacks by anonymous posters. Some people must post anonymously because their position in life makes it inappropriate to ID themselves. And I like free and open exchange. But I don't like people who become anonymous just so they can attack another person. Attack the issue, not the person. If you want to be a troll, I won't stop you unless you threaten someone's life or something insane like that. But I won't pay much attention.

Anonymous said...

Are you insinuating that being a troll - a fairy dwarf - is a choice & that its "bad" to be a troll? I thought you were above such bigotry, Bernie. For shame!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 5:10, Now you're bustin' on me. Actually, and as I said before, I thought the anonymous comments were funny, especially in the context of today's radio show. And I'm no comment cop. So you're free to post what you want. But I place little weight on personal attacks. I place even less weight on them when they're anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I'm not bustin' on you, Bernie...I'm serious. I'm a 4-foot-short, effeminate, gay male - a fairy dwarf - or troll, if you will.

As you might well imagine, we fairy dwarfs have a rough enough go of it without being "labeled" by straight, hunky, tall, stud muffins like yourself, Bernie. So please...enough with the trollisms!

Anonymous said...

I listened to today's radio broadcast and before very long started to get sick at my stomach. I have known Mr Stoffa for quite a few years, but realize that he is vastly different now than when he was in Human Services.He is not the profssional that he was then and has become a backstabbing liar, which I know from persaonal experience. Please do not be taken in by his facade of integrity and honesty. Watch your back, because he will hit you when you least expect it. He will promise you the moon, while kicking the chair out from under you, when it is to his or a political croonie's advantage.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 5:56, My humblest apologies.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 7:04, You've got to go by your own experiences as I will go by mine. I criticized Stoffa for not having a contract yet, but I think he is one of thje most exceptional leaders the LV has ever seen.

Anonymous said...

You obviously didn't know some of the prior admimistration heads and therefore are not comparing apples to apples. I will go by my own experiences, as you say, and pray for you to wake up and realize the truth. Please, just protect your back, because, that is the only way you will learn who to trust and who not to trust.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I knew some of the prior county execs. Bechtel was the best, with Hartzell a close second and Seyfried a close third. Brackbill was bad, and Reibman was a joke. Stoffa is tryng to to restore a county that has capsized and has been on its side for 12 years.

Anonymous said...

By stabbing long-term, qualified employees in the back??? What are you smoking???

Bernie O'Hare said...

Stoffa has stabbed no one in the back. He should have had a contract with the residual unit by now, and deserves some of the blame for that. But there is plenty of blame to go all around. Unfortunately, morale is so bad in the county that some people will never be happy no matter what happens. You heard him on the radio. He sounded fair-minded and genuinely concerned, especially to objective listeners. You have to remember that you're not exactly impartial on this one.

Anonymous said...

I am a Northampton County worker and I have left comments here before........and even though I have only worked here a short while I'm sorry, I don't see how Stoffa "cares" about his underdog employees, especially hearing what I've heard at the union meetings and at our stand-off on December 7th. I was told the other day, by an employee who has worked here 20 years, that this was the first year the county executive hasn't come to all the offices to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. How pathetic.........and he has still not made a comment to us like he promised to do "the very next day" after our stand-off. We are still waiting---another lie and more proof he's just trying to dodge the issue. He has sent all of the residual unit employees a letter back in July of 2006, trying to make it look like the union was lying about him, when in fact it was his letter that was the lie. If in fact indeed Stoffa was concerned about morale and employees at the County, then he would approach us as individuals, visit our offices to see what we actually do, (which he has not--he is always shocked when learning new things that happen in our offices.......if it's that shocking and he doesn't know, then perhaps it would be in his best interest to go out of his way, leave his office, come see us and find out.) We are individuals, human beings, and we are frustrated, and in our office, severely overworked and underpayed. Boy, if Stoffa really knew how much work we are required to do in our office.......but he refuses to meet the employees and visit them in the offices, and continues to avoid employees pleas to come to a "fair" (which in my opinion I would still be underpaid for my experience, knowledge and required workload) contract. It appears to me Stoffa and the friends he gives the special jobs to think very little of the county employees---actions speak much louder than words, and not on a little occasional talk show, but on a daily basis right here on county level.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 11:43, I thank you for tyour comments and will post them separately. I think it's time to focus on this again.