Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hector Is Out at BPA

Late last month, I told you that Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan was trying to squeeze Hector Nemes out as Executive Director at the Bethlehem Parking Authority. According to today's Express Times, it's happened.

Callahan and Nemes have been butting heads over numerous issues that essentially boil down to control. Callahan thinks he should be calling the shots. For example, Callahan wants to double meter rates, but Nemes has resisted.

What's leaking out with Nemes' departure are questions concerning the Bethlehem Parking Authority's 2009 decision to purchase the parking deck behind the Main Street Commons, a decision opposed by Nemes..

The property was purchased from cash-strapped Lou Pektor. According to Northampton County assessment records, the property was sold to Bethlehem Parking Authority in 2009 for $1.6 million. But what has some City insiders concerned is a pre-purchase appraisal, valuing the property for much less than what was ultimately paid. Some say it only appraised at $600,000.

Callahan was able to persuade board members to go along with what might be a sweetheart deal. Chairman Joe Hoffmeier is a Callahan acolyte who contributed $1,000 to the Mayor's congressional quest. Vice Chair Dino P. Cantelmi just happens to be the Mayor's brother-in-law, and is the very person who crashed into a Bethlehem police cruiser nearly four years ago. He sent an officer to the hospital with negligible legal consequences and no publicity. Board member Michael D. Recchiuti is running for City Council and is reputedly a member of the "better than you" crowd after Council meetings.

At the time of the sale, Pektor was given a 20-year lease for an undisclosed number of parking spots, with an option to extend for another 20.

Pennoni Associates was hired to do the renovations, might be over budget.

I have filed a Right to Know Request to look at the records, and will be there Monday.

Interestingly, Pennoni just happens to be the outfit doing Northampton County's parking deck. It bid $1.7 million, and currently is somewhere around $500,000 over budget. "Whenever there's a government project, we get waxed up," complained NorCo Council Prez Ron Angle. Looks like Bethlehem is getting waxed up, too.

Pennoni employees contributed $7,500 to Callahan in his failed Congressional bid.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bernie-
Thanks for keeping us informed. What doesn't make sense is why Callahan thinks he can get away with stuff ilke this. Doesn't he think taxpayers eventually will find out?

Anonymous said...

These jokers that did the parking deck at the courthouse took months to finish the job. Every time I walked past the parking deck the machines were sitting and no one was working. I think the company was just milking the county for all it was worth.

Anonymous said...

Hectors reign is over... move on. The board made the decision, bet your blaming the mayor for the bad weather too. If the Mayor of bethlehem is as powerful as you seem to always imply he must be one hell of a leader. I for one want to see the cost of the entity, how do we know if rates should be raised? Are we currently getting return on our money? You have all the answers Bern, tell us.

Bernie O'Hare said...

First, Callahan controls the Board. Second, the BPA is losing money, and that's bc of this Main Street Commons debacle. Third, I'll have more after I look at the records on Monday.

Anonymous said...

Great Information Bernie!
Thanks for keeping us informed.

Anonymous said...

Why is Callahan still mayor? Hector was the only city official we could go to! Now Callahan wants to raise the rates? Maybe next time he's illegally parked in front the Edge they'll give his drunken a** a ticket.

Alan Earnshaw said...

Most government projects are done on a fixed bid basis, so the only way the NorCo parking deck project can be over budget is through change orders. Who did the engineering work and wrote the bid specifications? They are at least partly to blame for any cost overruns unless the project is being completely mismanaged by the county's clerk of the works, owner's rep, or project manager.

Anonymous said...

The majority of parking at the Commons is taken up by patrons of the Brew Works, who stay there for hours on end, when I believe there is a 3 hour parking limit. With parking being so tight there, it is a wonder that any of the
other businesses can survive there.

I like the Commons and patronize several of the businesses there, but that is only becuase I can find parking because I can parked in the handicapped parking, I feel bad for others who try to get parking places there, it is too difficult at certain times of the day and the parking lot is so tight, if you pull into the upper deck and there is no spaces availalbe, you are screwed.

Don't understand why the lower lot is private parking, certianly wasn't when I was a kid and shopped at Orr's. Parking problems are the biggest reason I do not shop regularly in the city.

Larry Kisslinger said...

My opinion is a very sad situation for BPA and Bethlehem in general! Hector had on the job training but always used common sense God gave him to serve us very well. Ain't politics great?

Anonymous said...

Bernie:

Do a title search on the property located at One East Broad Street. See what you find.

Anonymous said...

The term governmental "surcharge" comes to mind. If the City paid vastly more than the appraised value, those approving the purchase may be subject to paying the taxpayers the difference!! That means, those who voted on the purchase could personally owe the City Taxpayers $1million!

Anonymous said...

Who is this Kisslinger (my opinion) guy?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Who is this Kisslinger (my opinion) guy?

"Opinions are like belly buttons..."

He's a former player on the local political level. He has faded from view into the abyss of insignificance, is my opinion.

Larry Kisslinger said...

Anonymous said...
Who is this Kisslinger (my opinion) guy? 3:22 PM

4:21 PM Anonymous said..."Opinions are like belly buttons..." He's a former player on the local political level. He has faded from view into the abyss of insignificance, is my opinion.
**********
If I'm so insignificant (click on my name to visit my web site), why do so many call on me for my thoughts, opinions and advice? FYI, ALL former elected officials are called on for same as long as they live if they were a decent public servant! Therefore, I'm still a "player", in my opinion. On the other hand, are anons real "players" of any significance? You decide.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Larry, They're jealous of what you've done, so they attack you anonymously like cowards.

Anonymous said...

Larry served the residents of Bethlehem in several capacities.

Youngest city councilman at the time and Bethlehem School Board member.

He served with honor and treated everyone with respect.

Just because he is a "R" has nothing to do with who he is as a public servant.

Keep your voice heard Larry, thanks.

Anonymous...

Anonymous said...

Larry is honest. At least he is an open an honest R. Unlike Stoffa, the closet Republican who wants everyone to think he is a Democrat. Of course the Republican Chairman Shuman knows better and endorsed his candidacy.

After the election, wow, Stoffa says lets sell Gracedale.

Amazing how those things just work out like that.

The Third Eye

Anonymous said...

1st Mr Kisslinger is one of the finest individuals I have come in contact with He speaks the truth and thats what most of the callahan cronies dont like the TRUTH

2nd It should be known that Hector Nemes was in fact forced outby Mayor Callahan... He did not retire It was simple GET OUT or I'll do whatevev it takes to get You out!!!! Simple huh! Sounds familiar for callahan wasnt it just recent he told the City Council..I dont need to review people I can appoint who I want...Callahan is nothing more than an arrogant little child with pwer..When will the good citizens of Bethlehem stand up to him!!!! It's time HE GOES!

Richfrom pawlumpski town . said...

Anonymous said...
Who is this Kisslinger (my opinion) guy?

Larry,Your a great man.Mr. Anonymous can't even give his name,Perhaps it's callahoon or Pawlumpski. Like you told me Larry their opinion means nothing besides look how many jumped in to tell Mr.Whoever they are about you all sounds positive to me. Don't change and remember to tell the Aholes to have a nice day, politics are great and not one among them are liars .

Rich from pawlumpski town said...

More regarding Larry. Larry is a class act.I'm not into politics and do not agree with most politicts as usual crap.I do however know Larry the man.I met Larry several years ago.We have been and stayed friends.I love Larry as he will always provide you with his honest opinion and do it within a most caring way. Larry will always take into concideration ones feelings rep or dem has zero to do with anything is my opinion.I'm speaking on Larry the man . Larry has helped countless not just in politics . How about giving Larry a call and let him know you are greatful for his endless assistance

Anonymous said...

getting back to the subject...

Is this a case of Mr. Nemes being one of those employees who "serve at at the will of the mayor?" It appears that in this case, it's live by politics, die by politics. Some have said that he owed the original appointment to friendship with a former pol, and now with a different pol, he would be expendable. Not that that's right, just that it seems that is what happened here.

The funny thing is that he was brought in ostensibly to be a nicer guy than Mr. Spitzer. Mission accomplished there. But a new broom sweeps clean. Mr. Kisslinger is correct about politics - it can cut two ways.

PS- What I know about Larry, he tried to help people regardless of political affiliation.


VOR