"Incumbent Charles Dertinger ... has given voters all the evidence they need to end his council career. He's been a divisive force on council, thwarting Stoffa's plans to expand the county juvenile center and build an inmate center without suggesting credible alternatives. The council needs more consensus-building and less obstructionism."
Whether you are Democrat or Republican, you'd be nUtZ to vote for this guy. A vote for Charles Dertinger is a vote for bad government. Let me give you ten reasons why Dertinger is bad for Northampton County.
1. He refuses to level with the voters about his dates with a statewide grand jury. - Dertinger has been hauled before a statewide grand jury ... twice ... to answer questions about deceptive campaign practices in Northampton County. When I asked him about it, during a debate before a slate belt audience, he responded by attacking me. Shouldn't he come clean with the voters?
2. He's a liar. - Four years ago, County Council candidate Charles Dertinger solemnly pledged he would vote to kill the funding for a $3 million road benefiting an industrial development owned by famous campaign contributor Nolan Perin. Perin wanted a Wal-Mart. Once elected, Dertinger went back on his word, repeatedly voting against killing the project. In the meantime the county wasted $440,000 in engineering studies.
Asked about his broken promise during a debate, he lied again, claiming he supported the road only because Wal-Mart was no longer part of the picture. Here's how he put it, in his exact words. "I voted not to withdraw the money for the industrial drive after the Wal-Mart was out. You know that, and you're trying to conflate something otherwise."
County council minutes tell a different tale. On June 15, 2006, when Wal-Mart was very much under consideration, Dertinger voted to support the road. On February 15, 2007, after Wal-Mart had already given hope, Dertinger still voted for the road.
3) He has been a divisive force on Council. = Northampton County Council is the laughing stock of local legislatures, largely because of him. Want some examples?
* In 2006, he launched an obscenity laced tirade as Ron Angle tried to leave council chambers. He cornered the more diminutive Angle, pointing fingers in his face, getting closer, louder and redder. I had to insert myself between the two of them.
* In 2007, he tried to have Angle barred from voting on a matter in his own district, which prompted the late Wayne Grube to accuse Dertinger of having an "agenda." "This is nothng more than vindictive stuff."
* In 2008. while numerous nominees to various boards were forced to stand in front of Council like schoolchildren, Dertinger directed a lengthy hissy fit at County Exec John Stoffa, insisting on calling him "Stoff-er" after being corrected.
* In 2008, blasted Stoffa administration for its cautious approach to expensive capital projects. "We have an administration that can't build a birdhouse."
* In 2008, he engineered a votes expelling Exec John Stoff-er from the Higher Education Authority. Stoff-er smiled at me and said, "Crushing defeat."
* If you want to hear how petty and divisive he can get during a council meeting, listen to the clip below. (Note: If you have an old dial up modem, click here, look for the 64Kbps M3U (Lo-Fi) at the left sidebar and you can stream the audio).
4) He's lazy. - In my annual review of Council attendance, Dertinger ties for last place in 2006, is third from the bottom in 2007 and is tied for last place in 2008.
5) He's a one-man tax increase. - His broken promises concerning the Wind Gap road to nowhere cost the County $440,000. Because it's borrowed money, his lie will actually l cost you twice that amount. But that's only part of a pattern over the last three years.
* He tried to shove an IT contract down the County's throat that was $1.8 million more than the one Stoff-er eventually negotiated. He even refused to accept Solicitor Zito's advice to resolve the matter because it might "set a precedent."
* He supported wasting $650 thousand for renovations to Council's star chamber, which includes his very own laptop, but completely failed to include a nickel to videotape or webcast council meetings.
* He called the County's $70 million and growing pension deficit, the main reason for the tax increase, a mere "paper problem."
6) Ruins Morale Among County Workers. -
* He voted to demand the resignation of the county's personnel director, without even giving her an opportunity to be heard, to placate a green T-shirted lynch mob of county union workers, his real constituents.
* Called the county's relatively flawless presidential election a "screw up of epic proportions," resulting in the resignation of the Voting Registrar.
7) Too Union Friendly. - Believes county should just cave in on union grievances because fighting them is too costly.
8) Too Partisan. - He routinely votes against cabinet level officials who belong to the "wrong" party, ignoring the bipartisan approach to government suggested by President Barack Obama. He helped eject a Democratic council candidate from a party meeting for complaining about primary endorsements.
9) Opposes Transparency. - He's claimed he does he best work "outside of committee hearings," behind closed doors. He opposes campaign finance reform because some "little citizen group" might actually get together and challenge his reports. Despite the clear language of the Home Rule Charter, which he calls "yellow cake uranium," he believes citizens who own no real estate have no right to be heard.
10) Opposes Open Space. - Despite his claims to the contrary, Dertinger actually voted against John Stoff-er's "pay as you go" open space program.