Thursday, June 21, 2012

Barron Charges Secret Plan to Sell Gracedale

Northampton County's full-time Controller, Steve Barron, is supposed to audit County departments, followed by recommendations to improve their efficiency and strengthen internal controls. Barron, who has no background in accounting, has never performed a single audit. But he does lots of other things, Mostly, he causes trouble. Yesterday, he was at the top of his game.

Barron is the union organizer who, along with then Allentown City Council Prez Michael D'Amore, decided to march on T-Mobile. When its national VP refused to see him without an appointment, Barron engaged in what can only be called a veiled threat.
"Please remind him [T-Mobile VP Brueckman] that if he needs anything from Northampton or Lehigh County, we're going to remember this day and we'll make sure that it will be part of the negotiations."
Instead of asking Northampton or Lehigh County for anything, T-Mobile decided to close shop here in the Lehigh Valley.

That little stunt earned Barron both an Express Times turkey and a County Council condemnation.

In addition to his union activities, Barron is an asbestos whistle blower. He reported the County to the state DEP for violations that occurred about twenty years ago. Never mind that the Stoffa administration has spent over $1 million in remediation and removal. The result was an investigation and certain fines until the EPA investigator himself passed away.

That got Barron another Express Times turkey.

Barron is also a junior detective. Instead of auditing the DA's office, Barron acts as an expert witness for white collar crime. Except he's no expert. In a recent prosecution of Easton's NAACP Prez, the defense objected to Barron's qualifications. He was reduced to acting as a summary witness. Aside from numerous lunch breaks, he still spent a week in the courtroom instead of doing the job he is paid $65,000 a year to perform.

Barron was awarded no Express Times turkey. Instead, the Defendant was awarded a NOT GUILTY verdict.

Now, on top of his many other skills, Barron apparently is also a nursing home administrator.

Yesterday's finance committee reviewed the County's independent audit. But Barron had no time for that minor exercise. He chose instead to focus on a "mistake of catastrophic proportion," the disbanding of Gracedale's wound team.

Although Gracedale's administrator already explained what was happening at a Council meeting a few weeks ago, he forgot to clear it with Barron. Barron told Council the County was opening itself up to lawsuit. "The vultures are already circling," he warned.

Reading from a consultant's letter, Barron told Council he was "appalled" that the consultant was not brought into the "decision-making process."

Some Council members were appalled that Barron would question Gracedale's administrator without giving him an opportunity to respond.

Then Barron told Council what is really going on. "It's an attack, and it's an end-around to try to sell the place again," he charged.

Council President John Cusick was a bit incredulous. He pointed to the massive GESA project for capital improvements. He reminded Barron that Council established an advisory board, too, and even adopted an Ordinance that prevents the administration from moving money out of the nursing home. Later tht evening, the County discussed $1.5 million in computer upgrades at the nursing home.

Strange way to try to make something fail, don't you think?

Council member Bruce Gilbert rejected Barron's theory.
"We have to be careful with what we say. There's no one sitting around at the poker table deciding on how to sell Gracedale. 'Hey, I know how we can get rid of this thing. Let's self destruct.' ... you're going to self-perpetuaute failure just to help thse who want to sell Gracedale, sell Gracedale. Why would you say that?'
"It's my opinion," responded union organizer, asbestos whistle blower, junior detective Barron.

"You should make that clear," said Gilbert, who is only a member of Council.

Barron went on to complain that Premier, the administrator, has taken its time hiring a nurse to market Gracedale at local hospitals.

Gilbert told Barron he could ask them. "I'm sure those folks would have answers for you. and those answers wouldn't include the conjecture of  'there's people plotting to sell Gracedale.' There's no need to do that."

Council member Scott Parsons questioned Barron's thinking, too. "If this organization thinks they can keep that quality of care, I think we have to give them that chance. That's what we hired them to do."

Parsons stated he wants no jobs sacrificed, nor does he want a decrease in quality of care. But "somewhere along the line, you gotta' give somebody a chance."

Council member Bob Werner, who stated he might ultimately decide that a wound treatment team is necessary, agreed that we "need to give the people in control a chance to speak. That's only fair."

Barron is also investigating Stoffa for the supposed misappropriation of county monies to pay a law firm to help me in my Gracedale ballot challenge.

He claimed to be in discussions with their "chief counsel."
"But I don't know how it's gonna' go, so I don't want to comment any further on that."
Top secret.

Maybe Barron should do a little less talking and a little more of the job he was elected to perform.


Anonymous said...

Hang in there Steve, you are one of the good guys. You are damned for telling people the Stoffa Administration wanted to hide the asbestos problem. He didn't do a thing until you blew the whistle.

Everyone knows O'Hare and the Express are Stoffa promoters. The people appreciate your watching these guys. You know them for what they are.

It is no wonder that O'Hare and Stoffa attack good people like yourself, Mr. McClure and Ron Heckman, all good people who came out early to expose the big Gracedale lies and fight the good fight.

Of course you all incur the wrath of O'Hare for that but people know the score. You were there from the beginning trying to get the word out to the public and didn't wait till things were settled to score some, "hey I support it too" political points.

Its called leadership, something the county is lacking. We are fortunate to have you.

Anonymous said...

There is no bigger idiot in the Lehigh Valley than this clown.

Anonymous said...

I dont recall anyone attacking heckman?

Anonymous said...

how is the controller of a major state county not specialized in accounting or auditing?

The controller position by definition is an accounting oriented position.

Anonymous said...

6:42 we have only ourselves to blame.

Anonymous said...

Let's stop the kabuki dance. The referendum was passed a year ago. Gracedale has four more years before being sold at a price significantly below the original $35M offer. The resolution was poorly written and allows council and the executive to do what they want in the mean time. A minimal effort should, and is, being made to keep the place's market value from completely collapsing in the next four years. Any planning beyond a four-year future is fiscally irresponsible. No amount of stomped shrubs can change that.

Anonymous said...

Nothing in Northampton County's Home Rule Charter mandates that the County Controller be learned in the area of finance or financial Acoountability. Therefore, he is qualified for the office of Controller solely on the fact that he has no criminal record, is registered to vote, and he wakes up every morning. If there were restrictions on seeking and holding public office based solely on specific educational criteria, we would indeed impair and hamper the right for individuals to seek public office. We have had morons as County Executives, idiots on County Council, and now a clown as Controller. Having a college degree does not mean you will be a good office holder. I believe we have had only two Executives without College degrees. How many Council people have not had degrees? I believe I could count them on one hand and there must be at least forty or fifty men and women who have served on Council. Unfortunately Mr. Barron serves as a perfect example that just because you have a college education, that does not make you a good elected official.

Anonymous said...

@ 2:09, in weight he is the biggest idiot but there are plenty more to choose from that he surrounds himself with.

The breeder is that there Joe Long!

Anonymous said...

Good point, 7:52. Simply observe a Lafayette or Lehigh beer bash to prove the educated-idiot theorem.

Anonymous said...

Little Stevie Blunder is at it again! Now he can add "conspiracy theorist" to his list of mentally derranged credentials. He is an attention-seeking goofball and the worst controller the county has ever had.

Anonymous said...

Actually he is the best controller the county has ever had why else would you be trashing him?

Anonymous said...

"Best controller the county ever had" ??? In what parallel universe do you live in? Ask his staff if he is the best controller they ever worked for. But you already know the answer to that one.

Bernie O'Hare said...

He's the best Controller AFSCME ever had.

Anonymous said...

He's the best controller a corporate campus landscaping company ever had. His lisp is priceless and he' s very handsome. He looks ticklish.

Jerry S.

Anonymous said...

This reads like we're living in the times of Henry VIII. How could the County sell Gracedale again after a referendum was passed and even if it were happening how is it possible that no one is aware of such a huge undertaking but Barron who is rarely ever at the Courthouse anyway?

Anonymous said...

The wound treatment team may be a very good idea, but I wonder how many other nursing homes utilize this approach and if not what is their wound breakdown rate? Barron loves to bring up litigation to justify why he as controller is concerned about the county being sued and losing millions. Yet he is the first one to encourage workers and others to sue the county or report it to the EPA. He is a big fat fraud.

Anonymous said...

The wound treatment team may be a very good idea, but I wonder how many other nursing homes utilize this approach and if not what is their wound breakdown rate? Barron loves to bring up litigation to justify why he as controller is concerned about the county being sued and losing millions. Yet he is the first one to encourage workers and others to sue the county or report it to the EPA. He is a big fat fraud.

Anonymous said...

"Good point, 7:52. Simply observe a Lafayette or Lehigh beer bash to prove the educated-idiot theorem."

I'm not sure, Barron has never been invited to a party in his life...

Anonymous said...

Barron is a fool but at least he is not county executive and never uttered the words, "I never knew worldwide economics affected Northampton County", by John Stoffa.

O'Hare printed this slam piece to cover up the sheer idiocy of our worthless county executive. That has to be the most inane comment ever made by a county executive. Thank you very much Morning Call and Easton Express for pushing this incompetent goof on the county.

He is the most clueless county official I have ever seen and I have seen some dull ones.

He should announce his resignation no later than the end of the year and please, please don't let him touch anything until he leaves.

Deflect on Barron all you want Bernie, he is a clown in search of a car but Stoffa once again has shown himself to be just a buffoon that proves the entire premise of the "Peter Principle", and then some!

Frustrated Voter

Anonymous said...

Agree. Barron's a douche bag. But Stoffa's quote, if not taken out of context by the E-T, invites legitimate concerns about his mental faculties. He may be losing his marbles.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Let's see. Barron came to a Finance Committee and then began spouting off about a wound treatment team. He then accused unnamed persons, presumably Stoffa, of setting up Gracedale to fail, to the bewilderment of Council. That is what happened. If anyone is trying to deflect, it is you and your irrational hatred. And I've got news for you. World economies rarely have had an impact on County government.

Mark Baker said...

u norco dems r such a trip.u keep electing fools, and presumingly will in the future with callahan.
obviously only the uneducated vote in ur so called elections.

at least u provide comic relief to the superior people of east jersey - read the drug induced dummies of phillipsburg.

Anonymous said...

Bake Marker said..

Nice to meet you Mark. Are we related?