Friday, December 14, 2012

Centralized Human Services Bldg Proposed in Bethlehem Tp

With only Lamont McClure opposed, Northampton County Council last night gave Executive John Stoffa a green light to pursue a centralized human services facility at 2801 Emrick Boulevard in Bethlehem Township. Noting that the County currently serves 18,379 people, Stoffa argued that a centralized facility is sorely needed. "If we don't do this, I don't know what we will do," he told Council.

Consultant Ken Mohr laid out plans for a 3-story, 66,375 sq ft building on 5.36 acres, with 256 parking places. Located between Freemansburg Avenue and William Penn Highway, this "one stop" human services shopping center would replace two aging county-owned buildings in Easton and Bethlehem.

The Governor Wolf Building, located at 45 N 2d St in Easton, is a 52,171 sq ft schoolhouse, built in 1893. Purchased by the County in 1986 for $912,000, it is home to 173 human services workers. It needs $3.3 million in capital repairs and improvements over the next 5-10 years.

The Martin J. Bechtel Building, located at 520 E Broad Street in Bethlehem, is a 28,000 sq ft facility, built in 1962. Purchased by the County in 1993 for $763,000, it houses 70 human services workers. It needs $1 million in capital improvements and repairs over the next 5-10 years.

According to Mohr, the County can sell the Wolf and Bechtel buildings for $2.8 million. That money can be used for a lease and option to purchase at Emrick Boulevard. The facility would be built by Polaris Properties by the end of 2013.

Council member Scott Parsons told Mohr that he would need to know more details about the sale of the Wolf and Bechtel buildings, and Mohr told him he could answer those questions in an executive session. President John Cusick had similar concerns.

Ken Mohr
Mohr added that financially, this would be a wash for the County. Although it would not lose any money, it would not save any money, either. It would reduce operational costs. More importantly, it would provide easy access and a centralized location for the people being served. All consumers, as human services recipients are called, would be served on the first floor.

Because of uncertainties at the state level, Stoffa would prefer a lease with an option to purchase to an outright purchase.

The County will pay between $11.15 and $18.15 per sq ft per year, depending on what it wants. This translates to a maximum of $1.19 million per year, with annual rental increases of 2.5%. The lease would run 15 years, with renewals extending the lease to thirty years. Along the way, the County would keep an option to purchase. At the end of the lease, the County will be able to purchase the facility for $1, if I understood Mohr correctly.

In addition being a centralized location for human services, County officials are considering the relocation of District Judge Jospeh Barner to that site when his current lease expires. It can also function as a satellite government center for tax payments and some other limited county purposes.

Council member Bruce Gilbert was impressed by the 256 parking spaces. Lack of parking is currently a drawback in Bethlehem and Easton. Another Council member, peg Ferraro, agreed and stated that this has been "needed a long, long time."

Stoffa tried for a centralized facility in his first year as Executive, but was rebuffed by Council.

139 comments:

Anonymous said...

He should be rebuffed again. This is an idea straight oput of 1990. The State and Fed are cutting back Human Service money. Privitization of services is the wave of the future.

A building just for Human Srevices is backwards thinking at best.

The county needs a consolidated governemnt service building for all non-courtrelated services in Easton. This is extrememly poor planning. I didn;t think that after the Gracedale fiasco Stoffa was capable of doing anyhitng as stupid as that again, I was wrong. This is stupid times two.


This is nothing but a leagcy grab by Stoffa and once again an unknowlegable, ill-informed county council just bobs their heads. We may have elected new people but they are as bad as the ones they are replacing in their head bobbing to John Stoffa.

Do your homework. Also find out the relationship of Mohr to Polaris? Find out how many contracts Mohr has had over the past seven years with the ocunty through Stoffa, never reported to Coutny Council? What is Mohrs $$ take on this?

Why build a building to do things that you have no idea you will be doing in the future. Things that you will be most assuradly outsourcing more and more. Deos anybody on council do any homework?

I would like to say many more things about this but due to the sheer incompetency of county council, I will be begging people who actually know something about county governemnt and Human Services to run for office.

For this council to allow this executive to do this major deal in the last year of his mailed in tenure, is just sheer incompetence on their part.

Mickey Grollman said...

Time for your drug cocktail!

Anonymous said...

If you buy this multi-million dollar bullshit proposal, your drug coctail is better than anyhting I could hope to have!

Anonymous said...

Good luck getting it approved in Bethlehem Township. With their track record of working with the County it is amazing that this would be tried there. Hearing after hearing after money being paid on lawyers and engineers will lead to this pipe dream going into a black hole of uncontrolled expense before its even built. Did anyone even check if it is allowed? Lots of luck in this stupid endeavor.

Anonymous said...

Maybe all of the comnplainers should go down to Easton and tour the Wolf Building. Asbestos, mold and pealing lead paint rule the building. The roof leaks, the foundation is crumbling in one section and closed windows allow the rain to flow in freely depending upon which way the rain is coming. Then there is the parking lot filled with sinkholes. The $3.3 million estimate for repairs will be more like $10 million once work is begun.
So the County can take out a $10 million dollar loan to fix everything that has been neglected in the 100+ year old Wolf Building for over 20 years or they can spend a minimal amount of money on start-up costs to lease a new building.
Don't forget the benefits for the over 18,000 county residents being served by the human services departments either - everything in one centrally located building. Doesn't seem like such a bad idea after all does it?

Anonymous said...

ok, if that is the condition of the wolf building, how do you come up with a value greater than 100,000?

Anonymous said...

no carpet, no fancy funiture KISS

Anonymous said...

These schemes NEVER end well for taxpayers. We should be building nothing. This is Stoffa's monument to himself. Some politician's name will be put on it like a large middle finger to taxpayers. Inevitable cost overruns will be deemed "nice." There's a reason politicians are more poorly regarded than anal fissures.

Anonymous said...

This idea was obsolete ten yeasr ago but lets do it now. Boldly going into the past. A monument to old thinking and discontinuing policies. Don't spend scarce human service money on services, lets spend it on another county building, can't have too many county buildings.

The prison is falling apart. We are getting more and more lawsuits over its condition and overcrowding but yes, lets build an unnecessary building in the middle of an industrial park.

Is this the same countuy council that applauded the sale of Gracedale before they changed their minds and ran away from the incorrect facts and figures. Gee, maybe this time you might want to think it through before you nod your heads again.

I guess incompetenc is just another word for county governemnt.

Anonymous said...

The only thing I have to say about 2:02 is he or she has to be on drugs to think that moving all non-courtrelated services to EASTON is the best thing for the county. We need to move out of that antiquated Wolf Building once and for all.

Anonymous said...

@6:36 am -

The failure to maintain existing facilities is a prime example of why governments should not be purchasing or building new. They buy or build (always overpaying) and never plan for regular upkeep, mostly because every dollar is destined for the expansion of their realm and the fattening of their wallets.

Expensive new digs will be insurance against any move to privatize.

And, while leasing is the way if current facilities are truly unsalvageable, the County needs to play hardball. The existing office space market is still in the dumpers and the County has a strong hand.

KISS, indeed. Learn to live within our means. Most of us will not be insulted if we don't get the Taj Mahal. To the contrary, this a great opportunity for government to show a little respect to its benefactors and earn some in return.

My bet is on gubmint, once again, not missing the opportunity to miss an opportunity.

-Clem

Anonymous said...

1. Regarding the dilapdated, overcrowded prison, perhaps we should be thinking progressively and legalizing marijuana like Colorado and Washington and immediately releasing those held on possession charges and clear the docket of all marijuana court cases pending.

2. Regarding the "fattening of wallets" in government, that is a joke, unless you consider decent, middle class incomes "fat". Joke, Clemster.

3. As mentioned, why not look at existing office space which is in abundance already in the valley. How about Martin Towers or some of those old Steel office buildings on the South Side. I'm typically a proponent of government but I'm not a big fan of building boxes when boxes are in abundance.

4. It might be enlightening to hear the "human services" that will be administered.

Anonymous said...

Martin Towers is full of mold and will take a mint to rehab.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Good luck getting it approved in Bethlehem Township. With their track record of working with the County it is amazing that this would be tried there."

I don't think the ZHBs were rated. The question by a panel was what was the best location, and this one was the best. I am pretty sure that the ZHB will not be as fearful of a human services center as it was of a work release and treatment center. But you might be right. It is a strange board.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Did anyone even check if it is allowed?"

Why take all the fun out of it? My guess is that it is allowed.

Anonymous said...

John Stoffa was the proponent of regionalization of Human Services. He wanted the facility in Bethlehem, He wanted a facility in the Slate Belt, he wanted a facility in Easton. Now Stoffa wants a Centralized Human Service Center. One stop shopping. This is bordering on the ludicrous. I worked in Human Services during the Hartzell era and the Seyfried era. I guarantee you only one thing. They never saw one stop shopping and wanted people who lived in Bedlam and Eastown to have services at the easiest most convienient location. Check into this relationship with Mohr. This is a deadbeat Council. One of the worst we ever had. They don't do their homework. Go back and research why the building was bought in Bethlehem and Easton. Stoffa wanted it and now he wants something else. When I worked for John he couldn't make a decision and he still can't make right decisions. Good luck on this one.

Anonymous said...

Stoffa had no alternative to not building? What a pathetic, incompetent manager. We should put his name in a compost facility.

Let's build $186,000 parking spaces instead John.

Please take your bag of pensions and stop punishing taxpayers.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Let's see. A lease for a centralized facility that better serves the people versus holding onto two white elephants that will require $4.3 million in capital repairs over the next 5-10 years.

And in answer to the first commenter, the County will continue doing human services as long as it exists. It is a core function. You would have the County pour $4-7 million per year to keep a nursing home in business, even though that is not a core service and is being performed in the private sector. But you would deprive the elderly, the mentally challenged and children of protective services, something they can't get anywhere else.

Are you nuts? It would seem to me that you should be leading the charge for this instead of condemning it.

As for Mohr and Polaris and all those dirty little questions, I will be happy to look into them. John Stoffa is by no means perfect, but is a man of integrity.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"ok, if that is the condition of the wolf building, how do you come up with a value greater than 100,000?"

The fact that it will cost $3.3 MM in capital repairs over 5-10 yeas does not mean it has no value. It apparently has a great deal of value, and will be in a KOZ to attract development. I am not crazy about KOZ as a development tool.

Anonymous said...

John has integrity, but has been all over the place on fiscal management, alternately proposing cuts and lavish bond debt; selling assets and building new ones (that will suffer the same fate as all county properties, eventually). He's a nice guy and a schizophrenic public executive.

The mat, as detailed thus far, is sketchy at best. This smells very costly. But it's difficult to derail the train of good intentions.

Anonymous said...

*The math

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Bernie the math does not add up. If you own a building in Easton with over three million in deferred maintenance, you should seriously consider a wrecking ball. No way will an appraiser find a dollar's worth of value. Rule 1, Lenders do not lend on deferred maintenance "Fix First, Fund Second" "As Is" sales do not work for deferred maintenance. Rule 2, Deferred maintenance means full occupancy at market rates is delayed impacting cash flow and ability to service debt and make necessary repairs. If it is a pig in a poke, it will remain a pig in a poke. That does nothing for Easton but drop a lot of blight on the town. Rule 3, Deferred maintenance never fools insurance agents. They don't care to cover it. So, let's be BLUNT! This is not about integrity, it's about a STUPID business decision, something that seems to happen with more frequency around here every day. Stop fooling yourself and others with this continued ineptitude about how the real world works.

Anonymous said...

Outside of the merit of the proposal there is no way the County would get that much from the sale of the buildings. That's just not going to happen.

Anonymous said...

In your zeal to defend Stoffa you are again in error. The "core services" are being outsourced more and more. The Mentally Retarded, outsourced; Early Intervention, outsourced; Intensive Case Management, outsourced. The state is looking to outsource more. Stoffa tried to utsource foster care in Lehigh County but the state saoid no years ago. Word is Stoffa is working on thta now for Northampton County.

Most of the folks getting service never even come to the building. Most services are provided at the home or other "private" locations. People provide services not buildings.

There is absolutely no need for a stand alone human services building in 2013. It is a relic from the past.

So while this adminsttration
comntinues to cut service positions, the real part of human services, it plans to lock up the county in a lengthy and costly lease. They complain about Corbett but if you want to help people, fund the positions that are helping not a legacy building with another county officials name on it.

If this were part of an overall Governemnt Center building in Easton, it would make perfect sense and be cost effecient but as a stand alone "box" in an industrial park, it makes little sense except to the landlord builder.

Bitch, please! This has nothing to do with service to consumers and everything to do with ego. Unfortunately we have an unknowledgable group on county council who lap up everything they are told without a clue as to what to ask much less answer.

They forget this is the same Admisntration that fudged the numbers on Gracedale and played the "nmassive" tax increase keeping it, would happen this year. So do you really buy the "convenient" repair costs to Bechtel and Wolf? People want out of Wolf, that is understandable. But this is a bad plan playing on employee emotions to push through a costly boondoggle that will ultimately hurt services by draining needed revenue. Build or buy or lease a building but as part of a "real plan".

This Stoffa guy is like a two year old trying to piss in the toilet, he goes everywhere but in the toilet. His scattered buldings and plans will cost future taxpayerrs plenty while he is enjoying his multiple pensions.

Anonymous said...

If these numbers were put together by the public works director we are in real trouble. Remember his nonsense on the parking deck?
This guy is incompetent just like Archie.

Anonymous said...

Stoffa is a decent guy who's bad at math. It's well known that he can't count to eleven without lowering his trousers.

What's shocking is the Republican mathletes who can't understand the utter folly of the calculations. This is patently ridiculous. They should know better. This is going to be Stoffa's parting folly. We'll be mopping up this mess far longer than the Reibman bond disaster. These dopes never learn.

Anonymous said...

Where's RA on this. He'd call a spade a spade.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" This is going to be Stoffa's parting folly. We'll be mopping up this mess far longer than the Reibman bond disaster."

Let's assume you're right and this becomes a "disaster." It will still cost nothing near what the swaption cost or the $111 Million megabond cost.

And I think you're wrong.




Bernie O'Hare said...

"Where's RA on this. He'd call a spade a spade.."

I'm supposed to hook up with him Monday and will ask him what he thinks.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" Unfortunately we have an unknowledgable group on county council who lap up everything they are told without a clue as to what to ask much less answer."

Yeah. it's hard to believe they put no credibility in an what someone says anonymously on a blog. Instead of listening to people who identify themselves, they really should listen to anonymous you.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"This smells very costly. But it's difficult to derail the train of good intentions"

You could be right, but this train has not left the station. I'd be very careful, and council members like Parsons are wary. But I support the concept and completely disagree with the ridiculous argument that the county is getting out of the human services business. That ain't gonna' happen. Nobody will stand by and allow our children or seniors to be abused.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"So, let's be BLUNT! This is not about integrity, it's about a STUPID business decision, something that seems to happen with more frequency around here every day"

Let's see. You claim that a bldg with $3.1 MM in deferred maintenance needs a wrecking ball. OK, So if the County can instead sell the building and get something, isn't that WISE? You claim the County should keep a bldg that needs $3.1 MM in deferred maintenance. Isn't that STUPID?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"there is no way the County would get that much from the sale of the buildings. That's just not going to happen. "

Ken Mohr was insistent about that yesterday. If he is wrong, you just don't enter into the lease.

Anonymous said...

There are several concerns about this lease. So we are in two building s that the taxpayers OWN so we pay maintenance and utilities. Now we are moving everyone into a township that cost us taxpayers huge amounts of legal fees and we are going to pay a developer $1.9 million a year PLUS taxes, utilities and common area maintenance and insurance becasue it is a triple net lease. Someone please exdplain to me how this is efficient and cost effective?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Those are very legitimate concerns. I don't think Council or Stoffa will move ahead with answers to your very good questions.

Anonymous said...

From BLUNT, If the building truly needs 3.1 Million in deferred maintenance, then it has no value in Downtown Easton's real estate market. The sale of the building is related to the lease/purchase of a new building that is built on a formula consisting of a house of cards. The city and the county have been looking for a buyer for that building for years. One hair brain scheme after another. A culinary school for Italian chefs. A bus depot-parking garage-residential high rise. How about the proposed hotel and high end apartments. I keep laughing at every crazy idea. Now, because the county is going to abandon Easton, it suddenly makes sense. Let's see- we have not tried an indoor mall? maybe a retail outlet center? a downtown department store? All great ideas. Just see all those potential developers lining up. I'll give you 25,000 for it. Strip the insides and sell it as salvage for about $150,000. You can take that $25,000 and buy the Larry Marra empire and be next door to all of your social service clients.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'd prefer to wait and see what the actual numbers are before dismissing the idea outright. Then, if you are right, you can pat yourself on the back and we can all walk away. But it seems poor form to reject something before you even know for sure what the hell is going on.

Anonymous said...

Normally, I'd wait too, but there is something just absolutely wrong with the suggested approach. Look at this from another point of view. Buy a car ever? I would suppose so. Trust the salesman? Probably not. How bout if the salesman said to you that he was not going to give you money on your trade-in. He's going to let you sell it. And, the salesman is very convincing about how much money you will receive on the sale. Do you take the deal? The salesman has wisely transferred all of the risk of the transaction to you, the purchaser. The salesman is only interested in selling the new car, not your effort to sell your own trade-in. In this case only one person has suggested a value for the Wolf building-the salesman who is interested in selling the proposed Bethtwsp property. If he wants to guarantee a value, put up his own cash, I would want to dance. But, the only person suggesting value for the Wolf building is the salesman for the Bethtwnsp property. It's like those guys who marketed swaptions: "you'll never get hurt" We cannot continue to make these STUPID moves.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I respectfully suggest your analogy, though colorfully dirtying up Ken Mohr as a used car salesman, is flawed. We are not at the point where we've assumed any risk at all. The concerns mentioned are very real, and I give you or whoever noted them, credit for that. But it hurts nothing to hear this out a bit more before deciding anything.

I do reject two arguments as goofy.

1) The Stoffa legacy argument, i.e. John wants a building named after him, is nonsense. He's not the frickin' Pharaoh and doesn't think like that. The guy builds frickin' bird houses, for Christ's sake.

2) The don't build it and they won't come argument. - Human services are needed, whether funded by the state or not. As we just saw today, there are very sick people out there who will continue to hurt children and others.

But I get your points and we shall see.

Anonymous said...

Of course Human Services will continue Bernie, just more and more of it will be done by private contractors overseen by less and less county staff. I know you mean well and are stubborn as an mule but Christ O'Hare, no said the county is abandoning the old and children. Unless you count Gracedale, which you conviently cross out as an uneeded service even though the very reason for it, low medicade paynents in the future may bring us back to waiting lists to get in for the eelderly poor, as private facilities cherry pick the poor they take, as they do to this day. By the way Bernie, several provate vendors do foster care. the coununty contrcts with some. they do it cheaper. so why does th ecounty still do it itself. No law forces us to as long as "someone" provides it. We are competeing woith the "private sector. Alsways a bullshit argument. Also the reason the incumbents will be tossed out this coming Novermber.

Sticking to this issue. The new look of 'Human Services' is not the old Stoffa model. The new lookk will be lean and mean. Hell,even the County Commissioners organization will tell you that, and I encourage the council members to seek their advice privately.

Also why not do a piece on the loing realtionship betyween Mr. Mohr and Northampton County during the Stoffa years. Many contracts not reported to County Council. Council may want to look into that as well.

This plan is great, if you are the builder landlord and anyone else earning a few bucks puttting the deal together. How much is Mohr getting for all of his efforts?

Anonymous said...

By the way services are needed "whehter funded by the state or not", so why did the Adminstration cut all the service positions and instead propose a building?

Buildings don't provide services., staff do.

Are we knw becoming like a school distorct where every new Administration has to have their own "pyramid" in their memeory. That has worked well for school taxes, hasn't it. Kids still can't read but boy those buildings are nice.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Ok, so we agree that there will always be human services. Your point is that "more and more" of it will be done by private contractors overseen by the county. Let's assume you are right about that. That's no reason to just outright dismiss this idea of centralizing what human services remain, and in a growing county. It's premature. When plans become more definite, and numbers are known, this might be a basis to say no. But that is premature now. If we can spend $4-8 million per year for Gracedale, which is not a core county function, we can wait a bit to crunch the numbers on something that definitely is a core county function.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"so why did the Adminstration cut all the service positions and instead propose a building?"

Oh I agree and would still support the services and would pay for the tax hike. Even without those people, the services are still needed and that building provides a place for them.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" Also the reason the incumbents will be tossed out this coming Novermber."

Are you interested in doing the right thing or are you playing politics? And do you honestly think the voters will oust someone who argues that we need LESS human services? Good luck making those points.

Anonymous said...

Although I hate studies, I would recommend one for this or these issue(s). What the county should ultimately do with the Wolf building coupled with the demands and needs for a social services center deserves an independent inquiry. Too many assumptions are being made that need to be verified. Have an independent mind look at this and make suggestions with the understanding that the independent would not participate in sale or construction.

Anonymous said...

Jim Gregory the under achievng malcontent at it again i see.

Bernie O'Hare said...

What's he doing now?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Never mind. I just saw his LTE.

Anonymous said...

Stoffa had a secret meeting with the unions "urging them" to
go to council supporting this plan. Also apparently influenced a county council member promising "union" labor to be used on new building.

Not another Gracedale scandal,please, county council needs to shelve this until a full and independent inquriy can be done.

Bernie O'Hare said...

What is inappropriate about using union labor or asking unions to support his project? Please tell me.

Anonymous said...

Right on, Bernie! The union is ready to file a class action against the county for the deplorable conditions in the Wolf building. To their credit they have held off because the county is serious about getting them out of that house of horrows.

Anonymous said...

Since you condemed the union for protesting the dumnp Gracedale plan, I just figured you were opposed to using union manipulation to push a project through. Since you hate public sector unions for using their unfair clout to get their way, I figured you would also not like them being used to get something pushed though county council.

I guess if Stoffa does the pushing and manipulating with secret and behind the scene discussions it is OK.

Anonymous said...

Or horrors...

Bernie O'Hare said...

12:20, I generally disdain public sector unions, who collect dues from employees and then do nothing for them. But I generally like the trade unions, who pay their own pensions and health care. I have no problem with using the trade unions for construction. That way, the people doing the work are more likely to be local. This was pointed out during the presentation. So my position is consistent.

Jim Gregory said...

I was reading the debate about the building this morning. Interesting. I have made no comment to this point on this blog at all concerning this debate. I assume the moron at 10:57 PM decided that I had. So let me be clear on this. I spoke to Mr. Stoffa Thursday along with other Human Service workers. I made my reservations known. Although I disagree with John on this and other matters I have absolutely no reason to take annonymous shots at him on blogs and I get really aggravated an ignorant coward like Mr. 10:57 PM decides that I do..John asked at the meeting who was opposed and I raised my hand and let him know why. I could list the reasons here but you don't have the space. I personally think Council should take a deep breath on this and not rush into anything. However, I also realize that my friends in Children and Youth have suffered with a dilapidated building for years and, eventually, something needs to be done. So, let me say this once more for the record..I have nothing to do with the anti Stoffa blogs nor have I ever. I have not commented on this particular issue on your blog until now and only have now because some anonymous coward decided to bring me into this. You are misinformed if you think that I dislike John because I disagree with him on some issues.
That's just crazy..If I hated everyone who I disagreed with on one or another issue I wouldn't be speaking to many of my closest friends or relatives even, for that matter, lol. Actually, if you see John , ask him if he makes
birdhouses to order. There is this Hawk who keeps eating birds visiting my feeders. I need a multiple level house for them to hide in..

Jim Gregory said...

Oh , by the way Bernie, your comment about public sector unions is ridiculous..To say that they collect dues from the members and do nothing is just outlandishly off base. However, don't worry..It won't take long for Corbett and his Republican friends to push Right to work for less in our state..Then you should be thrilled..

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jim,

I do have the space. This is the Internet. So you could list your reasons if you wished. But your opposition is basically for one reason - this is a Stoffa idea. Contrary to your claims here, you are anti-Stoffa and have been that way since he took office.

I also am very leery of your claim that you have nothing to do with the ant-Stoffa blogs. As I have told you before, two union members have stated you are the author of the now defunct "Rumblings" blog, and you have participated in comments with some pretty hateful people on the other blogs.

But I am not interested in tagging you. I thought the comment was a reference to your LTE. I am interested in the issue.

I have heard (1) Stoffa just wants this as a legacy (2) We don't need it bc services are being reduced; and (3) there are too many uncertainties. Only the third of these arguments makes any sense at all. And the answer to that is to wait until uncertainties are certainties. That's all Council did. That's all Stoffa wanted.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"your comment about public sector unions is ridiculous..To say that they collect dues from the members and do nothing is just outlandishly off base"

Ask the two ladies who were fired over naughty emails. Justus James did nothing for them. He put a faint-hearted effort in at the grievance but that was it. He let them go down to put him in a better position on negotiations.

They initially declined to file for arbitration. It was not until these siingle mothers took my advice and got a lawyer that people began to realizze that what the County did was contrary to its own policies and was a retaliatory fighting. Now the union has stepped in, but they should have been there from the start. In fact, ther own union wasn't even present when they were fired.

Don't tell me about public sector unions. I see you in action, or should I say inaction, every day. And my reservations have NOTHING to do with Corbett or my Republican friends.

I have friends in private sector unions who are embarrassed by people like you.

Jim Gregory said...

If you had two union folks that told you that I had a part in that blog they are lying cowards..tell these ficticious union folks that I said that and tell them where they can find me cause it's all bullshit...To say I participate on a blog with people who you say make hateful comments you are right, if you are speaking about your blog..Yes, I am participating now. Yes, people make hateful comments on your blog. To try to tie the two is ridiculous..But that's you Bernie.
If I decide to debate the merits of the Human Service building I will take it to another forum at another time. I told Mr. Stoffa at the meeting and my fellow union stewards after the meeting that despite my opposition to the building I would do my best to accede to the majority opinion on this matter. I think I'll just follow the example of the great Thaddeus Stevens and not let fools draw you into a debate that can eventually hurt your cause..So, no thanks Bernie.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"tell these ficticious union folks that I said that"

These are not fictitous union folks. They are quite real, but I will pass along your message, calling them liars.

".To say I participate on a blog with people who you say make hateful comments you are right, if you are speaking about your blog..Yes, I am participating now. Yes, people make hateful comments on your blog. To try to tie the two is ridiculous..But that's you Bernie."

People do make hateful comments here and when they do so anonymously, they are dealt with here. You participate and revel in the outright hatred posted on other blogs. I have seen it. You have tied yourself to some very nasty people.

"If I decide to debate the merits of the Human Service building I will take it to another forum at another time."

Heaven forbid that you be forced to defend your thinking. You'll have none of that! This thread is specifically set up to discuss a centralized building and you pop on here first to say there's not enough space ... on the Internet. Then you add you're not here to talk about that. Then why the hell are you here? Oh yeah, to call this one and that one liars, take a shot at Republicans and generally make an ass out of yourself. That'll do, pig. That'll do.

And I would not compare you to Thaddeus Stevens on his worst day. More like Soupy Sales.

I think I saw Rendell's bus.

Jim Gregory said...

However Bernie on the union issue I do have to respond because your statement was so pathetically ignorant. First of all, I agree that these two woman should never have been fired..However, if employers could fire at will at anytime for any reason those two woman would have lots of company..If it werent for unions they'd most certainly have lots of company..Without union contracts most county human service folks would be getting the same pathetic wages and benefits that the private sector human service employees get. Their CEO's get exorbitant salaries and benefits and they get crap..Your attacks on Justus and myself are just personal..But I'll let Justus defend himself..I doubt however, that he'll waste his time here doing it..I am not a public sector union by the way, lol, I am a public sector union employee. Thank God!! The vast majority of union folks out there despise you and therefore you despise them..Life goes on..But to say they do nothing citing one lame example is just ignorant bernie..They didnt fire these girls, Stoffa did..He's your friend..Apparently you didnt even have a strong enough argument to sway him..Yet, you blame Justus..Be serious!!

Jim gregory said...

I didnt compare myself to Thaddeus Stevens you ignorant fool..Maybe you should learn how to read..I said I try to follow his example. I try to follow the example of many good folks, which doesnt include trolls Bernie...This is why I debate an issue on your hate blog..You make it personal and like most uniformed folks you soon debase yourself and others by your constant personal attacks..You make me laugh..You attack other blogs fordoing the same damn thing you do..Are you so ignorant that you can't see this..So again, if I choose to discuss the matter of the HUman Service building with anyone , it wont be you. Gotta go Bernie

Bernie O'Hare said...

Let's see. We need public sector unions to keep evil public employers from firing employees at any time for no reason or a bad reason? That's what happened. And if it were not for two evil Republican lawyers, they'd be getting no unemployment ... at Christmas.

The reality is that public sector employees are protected, with or without a union. Union morons like you just lull them into a false sense of complacency while you take their money. When they really need you, you're on vacation.

Before unions, there were career service regulations to protect employees. There was a merit system. There simply is no need for unions in the public sector. And if there is a need, people like you just go in the wrong direction.

Wanna' hop another fence at City hall?

Jim Gregory said...

That is why I do my best NOT to debate issues on your hate blog..You always make it personal, while you attack others for doing the same..Hilarious!

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I didnt compare myself to Thaddeus Stevens you ignorant fool..Maybe you should learn how to read..I said I try to follow his example. I try to follow the example of many good folks, which doesnt include trolls Bernie.."

OK, Soupy. Well Thaddeus Stevens was no troll and I am? I will finish with what Thaddeus, who is not a troll, said about someone exactly like you. "[I]t will not be expected of me to notice the thing which has crawled into this
[Blog] and adheres to one of the seats by its own slime."

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

I have to agree with Gregory. in a slime contest you win hands down. Most sane people would agree.

Anonymous said...

I don't think he called you a troll Bernie.You must have just assumed that.Again, read what he said. You make golum look handsome and you are less popular than skunks so even if he didn't say it ,he probably would have if he wasn't such a nice guy.

Anonymous said...

Bernie
It must suck being a lonely troll. Maybe you can try out for the next Lord of thenRings trilogy..Doesn't being so hateful make you feel miserable at Christmas. The Gracedale folks hate you, the union folks hate you and my guess is that you got left out a lot at family gatherings..You need to repent and stop being hateful Bernie..Life would be so much better

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jim's troll friends attempt to rescue him ... and prove they are assholes, too.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas and Peace on Earth!

Now back to the Gregory-O'Hare Friday Night Smack Down.

Anonymous said...

In 1994, Lehigh County spent $11M to acquire and renovate 170,000 sq ft Leh’s building for its Government services center.

Now Northampton wants to lease only 66,375 sq ft for 15 years and pay out approx. 18.3M over 15 years. Then they will be on hook for renovations? What about the Winn Dixie Building or some other Downtown Easton property. When the goal is to get more people to our downtowns, why does Northampton County want to move to Bethlehem Township?

Anonymous said...

It is amusing that the minute you disagree with an O'Hare opinion, you are an "asshole",or some other unpleasnt thing.

Well Bernie,like it or not, I guess 80% of the folks out there are assholes. Even the folks who pretend to like you do it to get good blog. In private they say you are nuts.

You really need tosee a therapist.

Anonymous said...

Another county executive another monument to poor planning. Nothing new to see here.

Anonymous said...

This building is sorely needed. Consolidating human services operations makes perfect sense. And the building will be designed for greater efficiency and security. Sell off the relic buildings to someone who can redevelop them rather than the county wasting money with bandaid repairs. The naysayers on this blog don't have to work in those buildings and could care less about the employees and clients.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"It is amusing that the minute you disagree with an O'Hare opinion, you are an "asshole",or some other unpleasnt thing."

Actually, most of them are assholes BEFORE they disagree, and when they do, they distinguish themselves as cowards as well.

Poor Jim Gregory had his head handed to him, so the anonymous attacks begin. What a shock.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous people condemn a man who then publically defends himself and the anonymous people are the hero's. Yet the anonymous people who call you out are assholes but not the other anonymous people but...

You know Bernie, trying to keep the heroe's seperated from the assholes using your rating system is difficlut.

One neat thing of note is when Stoffa was fighting employees over work conditions and asbestos you called them whiners, now that Stoffa want's a building with his pal Mohr, the emplyees are victims. Funny how that works.

Thing is as you once said, is the county to be run on the whims of the employees. Everyone agrees on consolidating services the discusssion is on the most cost efficient and effective way to do it. The employees don't give a shit about that. You have told us that for seven years.

So it is a dilema discusssing this issue. Hopefully a castrated county council will finally show some leadership and slow down the lets build another pyramid train.

We need a new governemnt center but not three of them all over the county. Just crazy

Bernie O'Hare said...

Here we go with the insinuations about Mohr again, which ware so easy to make when you can be anonymous. I can even say I fuck your wife. I have defended county workers when they are right and criticize them when they are wrong. When they form a lynch mob and attempt to get someone fired, i condemn them. When they are treated unfairly and fired, I defend them,. When they get ill from courthouse dust, I defend them. When a Controller uses asbestos for political purposed, I condemn him. When sheriffs complain about getting T during a hurricane, I call the idiots making these demands pigs. When they are paid lower than a living wage, I defend them.

It's called being fair. You ought to try it sometime instead of pretending to be pro-union.

I am also sure that Kraft, Parsons Weiner will agree they are a castrated council. This claim comes from someone who can't even sign his name. How brave you are!

Anonymous said...

A consolidated building is a good thing. A number of questions come to mind....

What would it cost for the County to build it vs the $18M 15 year payout to a private developer? Would it be more cost effective for the County to float a bond? Is locating such a structure close to Route 33 really beneficial to those that need the services the most? Is it in line with walk-to-work concepts if it is developed in a rural area outside a core community? Will the taxpayers be promoting more destruction of open space in exchange for more brownfield structures? Will we the taxpayer be asked for grants to renovate the vacated structures?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Those are actually good questions. Its site is centrally located. There were calculations done on the time it would take to get there from different areas of the County and this site was rated best. In addition, there is easy access to mass transit. Yes, it is a walkable are. In fact, it is connected to trails that go thru BT parks and from there to trails that go both to Beth and Easton.

It is in a former greenfield. But selecting one urban setting would shortchange others. I don't know how closely Nazareth Boro or Bath Bro were examined. They are centrally located and probably have space, but mass transit is much more problematic and cost may be higher.

But your questions are good.

Anonymous said...

The diference between Easton and this tract is a few miles. A consolidated Governemnt Service building in Easton is more cost efficient and makes more sense.

The plan as it also discounts the future of modern technology. An idea that was obsolete ten years ago.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Your comment makes no sense.

ohareisamoron said...

You make no sense

Anonymous said...

Mr. O'Hare comes from a place of hate. When one comments from a place of hate, that is what you get.

You are right, Bernie O'Hare, much like this proposal, makes no sense.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It's funny how, right after Jim Gregory makes an ass out of himself, all these anonymous attempts are made to shout me down. But he is not the author of that now defunct hate blog.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of defunct blogs, what happened to Lehigh Valley Rumblings? I am pretty sure that was authored by Jim Gregory. Am I correct? That blog sucked. Actually I am glad to see it go poOf!

Bernie O'Hare said...

He adamantly denies it, but that is what I have been told.

Anonymous said...

You've been told alot of ignorant lies Ohare, yet you repeat them as Gospel. Grow up.

Anonymous said...

Seriously 2:29 am troll,

Your info is as pathetic as Bernies. I'd imagine your life is also..

Anonymous said...

Bernie where do you find so many stupid people who comment here ?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Welcome to the blogosphere!

Anonymous said...

Talk about stupid...Mr Barron should have called the E P A about the Wolf building and done us all a favor--not the Court House. It would be shut down in 48 hours.

Anonymous said...

Right. Stoffa was so concerned about employee safety at the Wolf building he waits seven years to come up with a "plan". On top of thta he wants county council to "move fast." Sound familiar, thats right, he used the same mo at Gracedale.

Complains about millions in deferred repairs but who deferred them for seven years. Are all you people at the county smoking dope? This council is as clueless as the last one. Time for the taxpayers to throw outt this crew as well.


This county council should tell Stoffa, no thanks we want to discuss this, review this and hear public comment. No rush, if it happens it happens.

What a scam artist.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Is this Jim Gregory?

Stoffa did not wait 7 years to come up with a plan. He proposed moving human services his first year in office and was rebuffed by a Council dominated by Dertinger, McClure & McHale.

With a new Council that is a bit more reasonable, he has tried again. Whether he will succeed will depend on the merits of the proposal, not your histrionics or hate.

Anonymous said...

Instead of his poorly conceived and ill-fated attempt to dump Gracedale, he should have focused on a "plan" and continued to pursue it.

If the building has going to Hell, it is his responsiblity. Sotr of a self-fufilling prophesy that helps him and Mohr.

Where was the human service building money going for the past seven years?

Bernie O'Hare said...

As I've already pointed out, Jim Gregory, Stoffa did propose a unified human services building his first year in office, and was shot down by the people you support. And here we have the accusations of impropriety with Mohr, without a single fact to back them up. No wonder you're posting anonymously. I'd be ashamed, too.

Anonymous said...

Controller Barron will be pulling all contracts as well as the current one and offering a full pulbic report.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You will use your political controller, Jim Gregory.

Anonymous said...

The "people" will ask the County's Controller to do the job neither Mr. Stoffa nor County Council appears willing to do.

Someonme needs to get the facts out. That scares Stoffa supporters like you Mr. O'Hare.

Bernie O'Hare said...

In other words, you have no facts to back up your suspicions and will recruit a political controller to engage in another witch hunt.

Anonymous said...

Fact is Stoffa has not provided security at Wolf for over 5 years. It took that long to get a sheriff there and that was after old sheriffs sleeping and hanging out.

Fact is Stoffa still has not secured the Bechtel building. Any number of disturbed DA or MH consumers can walk right in.


Fact is Stoffa and Marcus let 3 programs close and allow private providers to come in and provide services. Those were MH ICM, Aging Waiver, and Developmental Programs. The last two could have been saved for a mere 200,000 dollars, however Fact was Stoffa and Marcus choose not to ask council to fund them and go through w privitazation.

Fact is Stoffa has allowed the two buildings to fall apart. He has suspended capital improvements on both for quite some time. Excluding the grant and services from MCClure.

Fact is Stoffa continues to allow human service bargaining unit work to go to outside agencies and also non union employees. Please see PSSU grievances against NorCo for DP and Aging Waiver and now another against administration for union work going to an administrator. On top of that the Administrator is giving work to Ilisa Sacknoff.


Fact is Stoffa is trying to sell this new centralized human service building to public and council while doing nothing but cutting Human Service Programs last few years. He in trusts Marcus who has no clue what is going on with the programs and allows his Administratiors to make costly decisions for county consumers and taxpayers footing the bills for needless arbitrations and contract battles.

Fact is Stoffa has allowed Marcus to sit on contracts and not pay providers for months and allow programs being cut and making workers do jobs that they are not trained to do.

Fact is Stoffa has stated several times that he wants this building as it is something of importance to him.

If a person in good conscious can read these facts and feel that Stoffa is for Human Services as well as is good intentioned to centralize Human Services in Bethlehem Twp, then go and support him.

Fact is the lease flexibility is designed as Mohr and Stoffa eluded to is because there has been little to no commitment by Stoffa and this Administration for Human Service programs or Gracedale.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jim Gregory, You have provided a litany of complaints, sprinkled with a mixture of opinion and fact. You have not provided one fact to support our assertion about numerous sweetheart contracts with Mohr, in which he is given millions to do nothing and they are all deliberately kept below the amount that would require a bid. Not one. Where are the facts to support this attack on the integrity of both John Stoffa and Ken Mohr?

Anonymous said...

I believe if u read the previous comment again Bernie you will see they are all facts. Check on them if you don't believe so. Do some investigating for once instead of just listening to the good political BS one is feeding you.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jim Gregory, I stand by what I have written. You have mixed fact with opinion, and have failed to address the one question I asked - what is the factual basis for your slur against Stoffa and Mohr? There is none. I am perfectly willing to let this proposal be decided on its merits, but not on smears.

Anonymous said...

We will soon see if we have a real county council or just anohter puppet group like the ones thta were thrown out.

Thed taxpayers will take a bath on this deal. If people don't believe it, they are in for a shock.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You mean a county council that listens to anonymous comments on a blog, days after the post published?

Anonymous said...

If i were Stoffa I`d tell the Human Service folks " bye-bye "...have jim gregory and Pssu find you a building. It will only take 5 more years but in the mean time have fun breathing the mold spores and asbestes in Wolf. oh i forgot Gregory works at Bechtel where he is able to disappear early...out of sight out of mind. He has cleaner air to breathe.

Anonymous said...

This is the worst idea by this Adminstraation since the plan to dump Gracedale. A waste of Human Services money. Spend it on an overpriced lease and building, not on services? Is that the plan?

As to the Wolf folks, he has had you breathing stuff for the past seven years. where did the money you get charged by the county for rent go? Did it go to the building?

This county council will be judged on this rash and hurried plan the same way the last group was judged. Stoffa loves to throw these big plans in county councils face and tell them, hurry up and vote tomorrow. Let us hope this council has more sense.

The new Admisntration will do it the right way.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jim Gregory, The only person who seems to be in a hurry is you. Nobody is in a rush to do anything. But I sure do hope Council does pay attention to your threats and recognize your bullying for what it is.

Anonymous said...

I sure hope Jim Gregory sues your ass for accusing him of everytihng and jepordizing his ability to earn a living and his reputation.

This time I think you took on the wrong person. He will sue your ass. People are aware of your trying to get him fired.

Should the union trust a lifetime union member and Gracdale union supporter or a guy who calls union members "thugs" and, like Stoffa, wants them thrown out.

Your credibility is zero.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jim Gregory, Please be my guest. I'd love to depose you.

Anonymous said...

You really think anyone but anyone is afraid of being "deposed" by a failed disbarred attorney? You are not nearly as clever as you think you are and the court will not allow itself to be made a mockery of the likes of you.

Some at the courthouse have already commented that patience is running thin with your silly mischief, wasting the courts time and money.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
Seems to me that you just want this building so you can christin the new bathroom with a lude birdie bath!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Here's what you don't get. I haven't decided whether I do or don't want this. Like 8 members of Council, I'm willing to give it a chance and see more specifics before decided. You don't want a centralized building bc it will be harder for you to get away with disappearing early and not doing the job you get paid to do.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"You really think anyone but anyone is afraid of being "deposed" by a failed disbarred attorney? "

You obviously are, which is why you don't ID yourself.

Jim Gregory said...

Bernie,
I haven't posted on your ridiculous blog since we exchanged pleasantries the other day..I told you then that if I had an issue with the building that I would take it to another forum, not yours.I'm not even aware of most of the issues that some of these posters are addressing ..What does it take to get it through that dense skull of yours that I'm not posting..Nor do I know who is posting on this matter..My advice to you would be to stop accusing me..Not that you are smart enough to take that advice..

Bernie O'Hare said...

Let me tell you how this works. The day I post a blog is when the most meaningful comments are generated. After that, most everyone moves on. Yet here you are, nearly a week after this thread posted, denying that you are the anonymous commenter who has attacked Stoffa, Marcus, Ken Mohr and the concept itself. Other readers recognized you before I did. I would suspect they are fellow employees who do not like the direction in which you are headed, contrary to their own wishes. I also believe that you are the person who has posted the anonymous hate, just as I am convinced you are the person who posted the now defunct Rumblings blog. And I don't really give a shit about what you want to say and frankly don't believe you.

jim gregory said...

I was sleeping when the late night posts were made and have a witnes to that. During the time of most of the other posts I was with friends, clients, or relatives. At 5:55 tonight, when you thought you were debating me, I was at Kmart with someone picking up a gift to donate to the girls and boys club of Allentown. I have no idea who you are debating, although some have suggested it's yourself..For your sake, I hope you're not that lonely. If someone hadnt sent me a text at 10:15 tonight I wouldnt have even known about this..So again, stop already..I am now going to sleep.

Jim Gregory said...

By the way, I don't give a damn what you believe..However, some people who should know better might believe your libelous garbage, so knock it off. I know you think you have nothing to lose, so you just continue to slander folks but it'll catch up with you...Good night..

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's another trick. Someone is alerted by a call or a text message or an email and had no idea what was going on. Bullshit. I simply don't believe you. But what I will do is start watching the IP and ISP on my statcounter.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"you just continue to slander folks"

It's called libel, not slander. Slander is spoken. Get it right.

And there is nothing defamatory in what I have written about you or to you. I don't believe you. I believe you post anonymously. I believe you are the author of a now defunct blog. There is nothing defamatory in those assertions, even if I am incorrect. But in an attempt to shout me down, you shake your little rattle.

Knock yourself out.

Anonymous said...

Transfer Gregory to the Wolf Building.

Anonymous said...

Gregory is being malinged by O'Hare and should take legal action.

Jim Gregory said...

Good morning Bernie,

What does it take to get through that Reptillion brain of yours?
Whomever you were debating, if it wasnt yourself as many have suggested, is right now laughing hilariously at you (rightly so). I know the difference between slander and libel. You've done both and continue to do so. I was alerted by a text which I still have on my phone. Lastly, you say I am attempting to shout you down??
Who in their right mind would try to shout someone down on their blog when that person can say or write anything with immunity and generally get away with it. It's like trying to shout Limbaugh down on his own radio show..If you think I'm that dumb, it could only mean that you are that dumb..I'm just trying to make a point and giving you more credit than you deserve in thinking that you might be able to grasp my points..I haven't been posting about the building nor do I have anything to do with Rumblings..What is wrong with you? How dense can you possibly be? Nuff said..

Anonymous said...

Abc

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jim Gregory, For the third or fourth time, I don't believe you. I believe you are the person posting anonymously as well as the author of the now defunct blog. If you were a straight up guy, I'd accept your word, but you're something of a squirrel. That's why you're no longer a cop.

Anonymous said...

OH NO! Not the Sleeping Cop thing again. Is today the day of resurrecting old political stories. Love it.

More please.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Gregory was fired in 1985 as a L Scn Tp police officer for sleeping on the job. Of course, he sued the Twp, and got $41,800. As a Beth City Council member, he hopped a fence outside City Hall to show it was vulnerable. Then he chased after an Ed Rendell bus when Rendell came to town.

Anonymous said...

Abc

Anonymous said...

I hope he sues your ass Ohair. You attack other blogs as hate blogs and then you attack Gregory after he told you he didn't post..You were disbarred for forgery I believe. You should have been charged criminally..If you want to hate, hate yourself..Look in the mirror.

ohareisamoron said...

Ignore him. He's just ignorant..

Anonymous said...

I think you have some deep seated hatred of Jim Gregory Bernie. This is a big reaction over a minor topic.

Anonymous said...

That's obvious. Gregory is everything Ohare is not. He has friends, is smart, likes people, his girlfriend is live and not a blow up doll...his father liked him,lol, and so on and so on

Anonymous said...

Stoffa wants county council to vote to approve this abortion in January. Let's see how smart and good this county council is or is not.

Anonymous said...

Gregory ahs hel the same job for years, that is years more than O'Hare has ever been able to hold a job.

Bernie O'Hare said...

There goes a bus with Rendell! Chase it, Gregory!

Anonymous said...

Once again Bernie you have been crushed on your own hate blog. Word on the street is you have posted a lot of comments anonymously on your blog. Do u think you are the only one who can tell by ip who is posting? Anything one puts on the www is out there to the world. Stop trolling around and bullshitting people. Stick to stories and facts. One might believe more you say if you do so rather than personally attacking someone.
Also you continue that Stoffa is a man of integrity, by let's just ask those two moms he fired.
Oh by the way, did u ever investigate the facts that another poster stated about how Human Services in NorCo has been run for past 7 years?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Don't accuse me of doing what you do. I never post unless I am willing to sign my name, which is more thn you can say. And yes, Stoffa is a man of integrity, which drives ethically challenged people crazy. Your real objection to him is that government is not for sale under him.

Anonymous said...

I doubt Abe and Ken would necessarily agree with that. Tip of the payberg.

Anonymous said...

Just becasue fools like White and the Express give him a pass, doesn't mean the bs doesn't happen. Stoffa and gang are some of the most crooked dudes in government.

Research this project and follow the money.