Friday, February 18, 2011

Meltdown at Northampton County Courthouse

Three judges - Steve Baratta, Kim McFadden and Lenny Zito - convened an "emergency" hearing today to complain about a litany of problems caused by Executive John Stoffa's hiring freeze. As a Court Reporter dutifully took down every word uttered, judges complained primarily about vacancies and high turnover in the Criminal Division, according to reports in The Express Times and Morning Call.

At last night's Council meeting, Stoffa told Council he's approved filling every vacancy in both Criminal and Civil Divisions. Councilman Ron Angle today stated that the Criminal Division is down only one FT and one PT staffer. Personnel in the Criminal Division have been embroiled in office squabbles since the arrest of a Deputy for embezzlement, several years ago.

Interestingly, at 2:30 PM today, only one judge's car was still in the parking lot.

70 comments:

David Caines said...

If you don't mind brother, I'm going to go a bit off topic.
I love the monty python shot BTW...
Still, I wonder about national trends towards union killing.
Granted I get it with things like the Easton teachers union, and yet we have half dozen or more states openly vying to undermine the union concept. See my posts on Neighbors of Easton and Home owners of Easton.
You seem a kindred soul, I wonder why the skipping of a huge national issue? One that will impact our valley if not addressed.
Peace and blessings,
David
A side note, I am talking about the Wisconsin issue but only as it has gained national attention, several other similar attacks exist in several other states.
Sorry to go off topic, but it seems worth doing.

Anonymous said...

Bernie....I think you need to find a REAL job. Anyone who knows the judges cars and then looks to see if they are in the parking lot either needs a REAL job or A LIFE!

Anonymous said...

bo has no life except to lust after dent, angle and cunningham.he is a fool's fool ate up with himself. his blogs only importance is the comedy factor. He will rail against my anon comment and protect his non straight alliances with the fools formally cited. the only thing bigger then his bloated ego is his fat butt. he is a ledgend in his own mind - but onlt if he had one

Anonymous said...

do not feel sorry for the pervert bo . he chooses to live in squalor, supported by the pettiness of his dream man angle. this is one sick degenerate

Anonymous said...

agreed this blood sucker cares about nothing but his self preservation so he uses people and his own family, if you can call it that, to achieve his little and waning self esteem, he must vomit as he looks himself in the mirror

Anonymous said...

What bo fails to mention is his buddy stoffa is he one to blame for this mess not the judges

Anonymous said...

to Anyonymous 7:47, give Bernie a break, the judges'cars are parked in clearly marked spaces no one else is allowed to use. It does not take much to see how many of the spaces are filled at any given moment in time, when one is trudging far past these conveniently located spaces into the outer reaches of the parking deck to one's own vehicle.

Bernie O'Hare said...

To the cowardly anons afraid to ID themselves to a man they claim is a nothing:

If I'm such a waste of time, why the hell are you here, and on a Friday night no less? Shouldn't you be taking your weekly bath.

I know what is happening, and it is the fault of neither the judges nor Stoffa. The people who work in the Criminal Division have had a bad attitude since one of their own was caught stealing. They hate Leigh Ann Fisher and purposely work slowly so they can get OT.

Because they are union, you can't fire them, but what you can do is put both criminal and civil divisions under the courts' control. At that point, the employees there will be judicial employees who can be fired if they don't do their job. The Courts will have a better handle on what goes on in those offices as well.

Angle has proposed this change several times, and usually is overwhelmingly outvoted bc it is seen as a personal affront to Archie D'Isidore.

So the solution is to appoint an independent committee with people like Jerry to review a possible transfer and meet with the courts and report back very quickly.

Union Goon said...

Honestly when I read the headline I assumed you were talking about the McHale/Angle battles that have taken place lately.

This is off topic, but are you concerned at all that the animosity between them affects the decisions that are being made?

Honestly it was an embarrassment to the County and all the people of the County. They are both way out of line when they get going at each other.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like we are going to create another job or two. Sign me up but only if the job pays benefits. By the way, is that featherbedder job still open for the judges. You know the one they call "tipstaff".

Anonymous said...

What it boils down to is what has the stoffa admin done for northampton county it seems to me the stoffa should have been addressing the issues a long time ago hell he could not even do his job and do the budget had to have angle do that

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of whiners...did they mention they are going to circulate a petition for more staff ? I think it should go on the ballot to determine if more staff are needed and let the voters decide . While we`re at it we should also determine if they should work all day Friday as well or just Friday morning....

Bernie O'Hare said...

Union Goon,

You are absolutely right. Wednesday afternoon was an embarrassment.

Anonymous said...

The hiring freeze has nothing to do with the productivity of the clerk's in the criminal division. The personnel are down right rude and lazy. They all sit and look at the counter while the public waits to be served. The county should install cameras in that office to see what goes on. It is clearly the worst office in the county. The director of that office, Lee Ann Fischer, is very helpful and knowlegeable but her staff is worthless.

Anonymous said...

It is sad the judges have to deal with such an incompetent Administration. Mayne after the successful resolution of the Gracedale petition a new drive can start asking for a recall of John Stoffa.

Hopefully he will resign first so a special election can take place and Northampton county can progress forward.

Concerned Citizen

Anonymous said...

Stay on this, Bernie. These judges are essentially stealing half their salaries by not showing to do their jobs. They compound their theft by covering for staffs that receive full pay for the same part-time work. They are all thieves.

Anonymous said...

Bernie it's funny how you come into the courthouse everyday and all those people help you with your work. Some I know even I say hi to you in passing then you come to your blog and say such negative things about them on a daily basis.

Anonymous said...

anon 7:02 - that's because bo is such a jerk and hate monger

brenda said...

Wow, seems like the criminal division needs to clean house.

Bernie, everyone is STILL insisting we are one in the same.

I did not email you yet, still concerned about the identity problem. It really doesnt bother me that I get shouted down in here so much

Speaking of crimes, is Weiss getting charged?

Ty Webb said...

When the obituary of the American labor movement is written, chief among the reasons for its downfall will be overextending its ranks to sectors that need not have been unionized. Public employees being the prime example. Public sector unions have created workers who enjoy superior pay, working conditions, hours, and benefits including pensions than the vast majority of the constituents they serve. This has bred arrogance among workers whose prime directive is to serve the public, thereby warping the mission of government. It has led to perversity, such as early retirement with outrageous pension payments calculated using nefarious methodologies. In certain cases, it has resulted in out and out thievery, embezzlement, kickbacks and abuses. Paradoxically, if the public sector employees did not bargain collectively for their employment, salary and benefits would be in line with what people in the community have, thus eliminating the sense of entitlement.

Pesky Facts said...

Public sector unions are an alliance between Democrats and a reliable pool of votes. Voters should understand the huge difference between them and legitimate labor organizations representing private sector workers. Public service unions have nearly destroyed private sector unions. Now, public sector unions are about to endure their own crash. Once they are weakened, they should be made illegal. Even FDR understood this.

Anonymous said...

"When the obituary of the American labor movement is written, chief among the reasons for its downfall will be overextending its ranks to sectors that need not have been unionized"


bravo

Anonymous said...

If there are any open positions, they are not posted on the county website?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'm sorry, but I don;'t know where vacancies are posted.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh the poor public employees have to learn to do more with less. Now they may have to work 6 hours a day instead of 4. Get over it and let's cut the size of governmernt. The first thing tghe Administration should cut are the Judge's tipstaff. Now there is a position long overdue to be eliminated

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Once they are weakened, they should be made illegal. Even FDR understood this."

With career service regs, there really is no need for unions in the public sector and I'd support a move to eliminate them. Private sector is a much different story.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" is Weiss getting charged?"

I seriously doubt anyone will be charged. I have filed a RTKL request for a list of the duplicate signers.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Bernie it's funny how you come into the courthouse everyday and all those people help you with your work. Some I know even I say hi to you in passing "

First, The Criminal Division does not say Hi to me since I called them out for what they are 2 years ago. Second, my work usually does not require a visit there, but on those very rare occasions when it does, there is no help. Instead there are dagger eyes and surliness.

They should be placed under courts because that is the one place where lazy, shiftless union workers can be fired.

They engineered this most recent slowdown to make Stoffa look bad. They got what they wanted, butas Angle has argued for years, those offices should belong to the courts.

If the employees remain shiftless and lazy and screw up work for the judges again, they'll be out the door. Most of them belong out the door now.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Concerned Citizen, aka 3 AM troll,

1) Recalls are illegal in HRC counties.

2) There is no provision for "special elections" of county execs. You can't just make this shot up as you go along.

brenda said...

I understand that unions have a right to bargain for acceptable wages and benefits. Having said that, I also believe that unions have had their hay day, and have outpaced the private sector in terms of pay and benefits.

I think the first step would be to reduce the pension obligations by enacting legislation to provide for defined contribution plans for new hires to eradicate the ponzi scheme pay out system that is currently in place.

I understand that most private sector employers in PA pay lousy wages, and benefits for those jobs are among the few and lucky.

PA has a big problem here. If you belong to a union, public or private, the employer has to play by the rules. In many ways, there is nothing wrong with this because those who are not unionized are subject to horrid working conditions, the need to carry more than one part time job, and pay for most if not the entire cost of ones health benefits.

I see that PA wants to change the way that they do business, to make this state attractive to large employers who will pay decent, livable wages. But this is a long way off, and companies are not going to flock to PA unless major efforts are made in the legislature. Tort reform and reduction of the CNI are a first step, but there is much more to be done .

I really do not see unions going away any time soon. If Gracedale is sold, I assume it will be a private sector union instead.In the criminal division, It is a real shame that lazy, incompetent people get to retain their jobs because of union shop rules.

Something must change, but its going to be an uphill feat. I think it is safe to say that the once all-powerful AFSCME has begun to crumble.

Anonymous said...

Public Sector Unions = the new Labor Aristocracy. The public has had with this group of workers. Look what is happening in Wisconsin. The Governor took a hardline stand and told all of those public workers they are lucky to have a job!! This guy and Christie need to run in 2012 with the mission to remove Collective Bargaining from ALL public sector employees. As far as the Judges complaining, not sure what to say there. The work needs to get done. Not sure adding one more employee will make a difference when most in that Department work basically half time.

Union Goon said...

"Public sector unions have created workers who enjoy superior pay, working conditions, hours, and benefits including pensions than the vast majority of the constituents they serve."

Contracts are negotiated, meaning both sides have a say in what the benefits are. If the two sides don't agree they go TOGETHER to arbitration, in which case the decision is most times binding. Seems like a reasonable process to me.

Let's face it, if anyone can enjoy superior wages and working conditions it is a plus.

Union Goon said...

"It is a real shame that lazy, incompetent people get to retain their jobs because of union shop rules."

The union is obligated only to assure they are treated fairly and properly throughout the disciplinary process. The do not however decide who keeps their job, and who does not.

"Something must change, but its going to be an uphill feat. I think it is safe to say that the once all-powerful AFSCME has begun to crumble."

To that I disagree.

Union Goon said...

"Look what is happening in Wisconsin."

The only thing happening in Wisconsin is a long court battle that will no doubt go on for years.

Anonymous said...

If what you say is true Bernie, the Criminal Division belongs under the courts. Several workers in that office have a toxic attitude and distain for the public. They fail to truly understand who they work for. They pick on Leigh Ann for every little inconvenience. They are sad, unhappy people who run to the union any time management tries to get them to work harder. If the only way to fire these malcontents is to put them under court control, then do it!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

How sad has it become when land barrons, like most that have the time to post on this board, pick on county employees for kicks. Bunch of low life inbreds need to get a real job, instead of talking crap about the few that work hard to keep services running in this county. The criminal division are the lowest paid employees in the county and probably do more in one day than most of you lepers do in a year. What a disgrace.

Anonymous said...

Well said 4:46. I feel for you guys. I know Stoffa and Angle have made sure the word is out that County employees better do whatever Bernie wants or face the consequences but that doesn't make it right.

Hang in there this nonsense won't go on forever. One day we will have a real County Executive with a real Administration and Angle will be a never forgotten County government nightmare once out of office.

Many people feel for you folks, we really do.

The Sane amongst us

Bernie O'Hare said...

" The criminal division are the lowest paid employees in the county and probably do more in one day than most of you lepers do in a year. What a disgrace."

This is far from true. They are far from the lowest aid. They earn the same as other clerks in other offices. Thy have been fighting amongst each other the embezzlement. They deliberately drag their feet to make their boss look bad and get OT. Nobody in any other department is willing to go to that hell hole. Because they are union, it is hard to fire them. But once they get put under the judges, they will have to straighten up bc a judge can fire a worker , union or nonunion, for any reason.

"I know Stoffa and Angle have made sure the word is out that County employees better do whatever Bernie wants or face the consequences"

This is a complete fabrication. I get no benefits or breaks that are unavailable to any member of the general public. If I played that kind of game, I would not be a friend to Stoffa or Angle for very long.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, you're delusional if you think 13 bucks an hour is good pay. You get what you pay for county residents. You want exceptional service? Pay a little bit more than "a tad" over minimum wage. Its easy to point the finger at a disgruntled employee, instead of dealing with the real issue at hand. I agree that there are county divisions that need a magnifying glass, I.E tipstaff. But NOT the criminal division.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I know plenty of County employees who make that or less and actually do their jobs. In fact, most of them. This has nothing to do with pay. This has everything to do with a bunch of disgruntled and lazy workers out to hurt their own boss as well as each other. Well, I think Council will now listen to a motion to change the charter and place your office under the Courts. Try sniping at Onembo or a judge and see how long you last.

Anonymous said...

tsk tsk tsk what a shame. looks like criminal division is in store for a shake-up by the B O goon squad. now that's really criminal. Try making a case against some of these slackers and fire one or two of them before we do something drastic. They'll get the message

Ty Webb said...

Union Goon said:

"Contracts are negotiated, meaning both sides have a say in what the benefits are. If the two sides don't agree they go TOGETHER to arbitration, in which case the decision is most times binding. Seems like a reasonable process to me."

Just because the process for resolving arguments is reasonable doesn't make one or more of the arguments themselves reasonable. As you well know, if the union wants a 3% raise and the employer can only afford a 1% raise, an arbitrator's decision to award a 2% raise is reasonable, but it still results in the employer paying more than what it can afford in labor costs. Is the end result, namely the employer outsourcing or going out of business reasonable?

Anonymous said...

I have a perfect way to solve this problem: let's ask the criminals not to commit any crimes until this situation is resolved.

Union Goon said...

"Just because the process for resolving arguments is reasonable doesn't make one or more of the arguments themselves reasonable. As you well know, if the union wants a 3% raise and the employer can only afford a 1% raise, an arbitrator's decision to award a 2% raise is reasonable, but it still results in the employer paying more than what it can afford in labor costs. Is the end result, namely the employer outsourcing or going out of business reasonable?"


If the Union comes in at 3% and the employer at 1% then chances are they both wanted 2% to begin with.

If the employer will go broke paying more than the 1% they can plead their case at the arbitration. If the facts are correct the arbitrator will find in their favor. I have been there, believe me.

My main point is at least there is a process, which is reasonable. We may not all agree with the process, but at least there is on in place.

On the other side, non union workers can be let go for no reason, and forced to work for less than fair wages, and in less than fair conditions. There is no process when it comes to that, and the companies are reaping the benefits, leaving the worker to fend for itself. So it is the worker that has to outsource, or go bankrupt, and that is not reasonable either.

I will agree that in these times concessions need to be made, and I know for a fact that there are unions willing to make them.

Anonymous said...

Once again O'Hare is pushing the Angle agenda. Angle wanted to cut a deal to put this under the Courts. county council wisely bypassed Angle's stupid idea.

Of course just like Gracedale and the petitions, O'Hare is paid to fight on Angles war.

Everyone in Northampton County will be glad when the long county Nightmare known as Angle/Stoffa is over.

Anonymous said...

In these discussions, the term, "union," should be properly modified/clarified to describe either public service or private sector unions. They are two completely different things.

Private sector unions provide an essential check to business and balance for individual workers in this country. I've never belonged to one. But I don't want to live in a country that doesn't permit private sector unions.

Public sector unions are a costly political tool used largely by one party to obtain a reliable voter base. They are a bastardized version of legitimate organized labor whose alliance with its benefactor party has gone largely unchecked. They are economically unnecessary and unsustainable. I don't want to live in a country that permits public service unions.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Unions and disgruntled employees.....Mike Krill for Mayor in Easton. Seriously?

Anonymous said...

Bernie why no blog about the personel comittee meeting.I do believe you were there.It had to be the worst display of elected officials officials anyone has ever seen!First off you have officials seconding motions that are not even on the comittee,yeah they really know whats going on,then you have the disrupter Ronny thats another story!

Anonymous said...

Bernie why all the union bashing now,when the economy was good nobody gave a dam who was union and who was not,now when times are tough everyone cares about the public unions and the disbanding of them.Did everyone forget that taxes went up just as bad when the economy was good yeah lets blame everyones misfortunes on the public sector unions.BULLSHIT!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:40 AM, It was an ugly display by both Angle AND McHale. Ron is being Ron, but McHale was never like that until she lost the Exec race. So do you want me to write about it?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:52, There are quite a few people who were having problems with public sector unions when times were good. Now that we are trying to break free from your shackles, you don't like it.

Anonymous said...

"Everyone in Northampton County will be glad when the long county Nightmare known as Angle/Stoffa is over."

Keep dreaming. Angle will be unopposed in May (where he might have been vulnerable) and a Democrat cannot win in this seat November.

Union Goon said...

"Public sector unions are a costly political tool used largely by one party to obtain a reliable voter base."

Much like the pharmaceutical, oil, and any other large corporations.

Anonymous said...

I must admit what with the illegal alien jail fiasco and the dump Gracedale shenanigans, I am surprised some Republican didn't challenge Angle in District four.

Angle is beatable, now more than ever. A Republican must step forward and finally make a change for the better for District four.

No one can or wants to work with Angle. What District four gets is a lot of hot air, revisionist history and no real help.

Too bad.

Bernie O'Hare said...

To have inspired so much hate is proof that people like Ron are needed. You would love to return to the days of Michael Solomon and 15-minute meetings.

Anonymous said...

Bernie-Krill for Mayor?

Anonymous said...

I am soooooo tired of people saying "Ron is Ron". NO ONE has the right to act disrespectful to fellow council members or constituents that wish to speak at meetings. I say touche' to Ann McHale....you can tell she has had enough and has finally been one of the few council members that has finally begun to stand up to Ron Angle! This is ALL you see anymore is Ron Angle's display of bad behavior and everyone just simply says....."Ron is Ron". Well hopefully the voters will say we have had enough of Ron is Ron and get him out of ANY public office. I'm sure Pen Argyl School Board is glad he is gone and most residents of Northampton County will be glad when he is gone from council also. Northampton County has been the laughing stock for the past couple of years and this past year has risen to a whole new level of of a 3 ring circus!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Ron is Ron. He has his flaws, as he himself admits, but he gets the job done.

Ann McHale is a bitter person eho can't over the fact that she lost an election to someone she deems her social inferior.

By the way, Ron never sat on Pen Argyl School Board. You can't get that simple fact right but want Slate Belt voters to remove him.

Last year, NC Council was no laughing stock. It was a body that accomplished many things, and it will get better once McHale and no-show McClure are shown the exits.

Anonymous said...

Ron is Ron, is true. he is a sociopath who cares only about Ron and who or what can help Ron. He revises history to make himself look like a hero.

O'Hare you r goofy remark that if so many people hate him he must be doing something good is the kind of middle-school logic we have come to expect from you regarding Angle.

Stalin inspired so much hate the Russians expunged him from history. I guess that means he must have really been a great leader.

Spare us the bullshit. Ever since Angle came on the scene, Northampton County has gotten more and more of a laughing stock of Pennsylvania.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It is the native Americans who said you can judge a man by his enemies. Who detests Ron? Joe Long Dems, blue blood Rs, public sector unions, people who are looking to build themselves up. By that standard, I'll side with Ron an day of the weekk over flat out liars like Ferraro, uppity snobs like McHale, or complete idiots like Dietrich.

brenda said...

In my opinion Ron has a bad rapp only because he is a change agent. Its takes alot of will, motivation and where-with-all to stand up for the tax-paying public. Ron is serving the best interests of all citizens and pays no mind to the greedy, insensitive and self serving interests of certain people involved in county government.

Public sector unions are bankrupting states, counties and municipalities. Leaving that whole issue out of it, he stands for the true intentions of what government is supposed to do...that is, to protect the taxpayers from union tyranny, financial hardship, waste, fraud and abuse that is paid for by all of us.

Give this man a break for heavens sake! Without Ron, it would be business as usual in Northampton County. In case anyone hasnt noticed, business as usual is NOT WORKING!!!!!!

Union Goon said...

"Ron is serving the best interests of all citizens and pays no mind to the greedy, insensitive and self serving interests of certain people involved in county government."

As history has shown...some of Angles motives have been self serving and insensitive. That aside both Angle and McHale need to make amends, or at least learn to work together and respect each other.

It is an embarrassment!!

Anonymous said...

It takes great courage to stand in front of an angry mob of taxpayers who want blood and agree.

Angle the opportunity has always been just that.

In the world of O'Hare where black is white and white is black, Angle is a cross between St. Thomas Aquinas and Mother Theresa. Of course in the real world he is an egotistical sociopath who would forge a will before letting his mentally challenged nephew see a penny from his grandfathers will.

He is one Hell of a guy.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It takes great courage to stand in front of a mob of public sector union members and say No, and Angle has done that, more than once. And you are an anonymous coward unwilling to accept responsibility for the venom you spew.

Anonymous said...

During the Reibman Administration he played to those very same public employee groups when it suited his interests.

O'Hare by now many people know the real bullshit artist Angle is and that is why he can never win county wide.

some have said he may run for Controller. I am sure Steve would be thrilled.

Even if Angle survives his re-election bid, a new Executive probably Mr. Barron won't be making him look good like Stoffa does.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Steve Barron is the biggest disappointment I have seen over the last 4 years.

Anonymous said...

BO all this union bashing why dont you tell your readers about the Wagner act of 1935?

Anonymous said...

Bernie can you shed any light on a persistent rumor. Word is that Barron is hoping Angle is the Republican candidate fro Controller. he claims Angle can't win countywide.

Once he wins re-election as Controller that will make him unbeatable as the County Executive candidate in 2013.

Have you heard anything about this.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Barron will learn who he's facing any day. The question is not whether Angle can win county-wide, but whether Barron can.