Friday, December 28, 2012

Upper Mount Bethel: The Wild West of Northampton County

It might be located at the eastern edge of Northampton County, right by the Delaware River, but Upper Mount Bethel Township is clearly the Wild West. Not all that long ago, there were knock down drag out fights during marathon sessions. And at the school district, board member Ivan Nusic once threatened to bite off someone's nose.

With advances in technology, cable service into the Slate Belt has improved. So more people are watching TV or playing scrabble on their iPhones these days. But meetings are still pretty heated, if only because Upper Mount Bethel is where the Northampton County Bulldog, Ron Angle, is kenneled.

He called me late yesterday to tell me there'd be a barn burner at last night's meeting. So I decided to go.

What Angle failed to tell me is that Route 512, the road I use to get there, is closed. And naturally, I got lost along Upper Mount Bethel's dark country roads. When I finally made it to the meeting, it was nearly over. Supervisors were in Executive session after having adopted a budget next year that includes an 8.5% tax hike.

That alone is pretty unusual in a township.

Anyhoo, as I was walking in, I could see Supervisor Jerry Geake, who also happens to be the Township's roadmaster, sitting by his lonesome. He was excluded from the executive session, too.

When Supervisors reconvened, Solicitor Ron Karasek at first stated they had met in private to discuss a grievance filed by Township employees about poor treatment. Apparently, there is friction between township employees and Manager Maureen Sterner. Angle stated that morale is at an all-time low, and Chairman Judy Henckel, though red-faced, agreed.

But there was more to the executive session than that grievance. They also discussed a sexual discrimination complaint filed by an employee against a Township Supervisor. Since Geake was sitting alone during that session, it's apparent that he is the target.

In 2011, Geake was sentenced to a week in the can after pleading guilty to drunk driving as a second offense. So the Township's roadmaster lost his license to drive. Having a sense of humor, voters re-elected him.

Supervisors apparently agreed to pay Geake's legal fees over a dispute with Ed Nelson, who opposed him in last year's race and lost by 18 votes. I question whether the Township has the right to pay legal fees incurred by someone defending his personal right to hold a public office.

Geake then went on to hire a female employee who has no CDL and no license to operate any Township equipment. It is believed she is the one who filed the complaint.

In addition to the tax hike and sexual harassment complaint, Supervisors were prodded by Angle about a state investigation. They denied that the Attorney General is involved, but Supervisor Larry Hallett acknowledged that the Auditor General is up to something.

I noticed some good reporters from The Express Times and WFMZ at the meeting. They know where to find the red meat.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

They use to elect Angle, so they are capabale or incapable of anything.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Did you make it thru grade school? "Use to"? "capable or incapable of anything"? Geez.

Anonymous said...

Nobody whom reds you"re blog is unneccessarily or necessarily mental giants dufoose

Anonymous said...

wink wink

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, I heard Ron is going to run for County Council. Any truth to that rumor?

Untouched Takeaway said...

Interesting info, Bernie.

I had to laugh about your technology comment. During the "big storm", other mayors (Sal Panto in particular) and municipal officials in NJ & PA were all over social media giving updates and information.

You know how I found out how things were in UMBT? I went to the diner on 611 after it's power was restored, had a cup of coffee and eavesdropped on the conversations. Heh.

I'm *still* waiting for a return call for the message I left the Friday after the storm - asking for information on what was going on up on Turkey Ridge Road.

I see Mr Geake may have had other things on his mind.

UT~

Untouched Takeaway said...

"it's"? Argh. I need coffee.

Anonymous said...

Bernie does Ron have a problem with that tax increase? It sure seems high for him not to bitch about it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Of course he has a problem with that tax hike. That's why he was there. I don't think Ron is running for anything next year. At large races are affected by the national mood. It's a bad time to be a Republican, especially in NC. I hope he waits and runs against Barron.

Anonymous said...

Barron beats Ron easily countywide no matter the political climate. You can point out anything Barron has done and he can say well I might have done this, but Ron did the same thing and much worse.

Plus any revival of Ron Angle in County Government would bring all the the entire Gracedale debate back to the top issue and that is bad for Republicans period. Ron should just keep away and avoid further embarrassment

Bernie O'Hare said...

Nobody who supported selling that county asset should be ashamed. It was being done for the right reasons, and it would never have occurred unless residents would receive the same or better quality of care. But I agree that Gracedale will still hurt in next year's races.

Anonymous said...

The effort to dump Gracedale and all the lies associated with the effort will not be forgotten. New candidates next year will start to expose those lies without Stoffa/Angle and theor paid advisors shouting them down.

Complain all you want O'Hare but Gracedale was just the cherry on top of the shit mountain that was Ron Angle, and voters Republican and Democrats alike had had enough of his self-centered colwn antics.

He was and is an embarresment who cares only about his own publicity.

Jack

Bernie O'Hare said...

Well "Jack," with people like you against him, I'm sure Angle will get lots of sympathy, so thanks.

Anonymous said...

Sympathy for Ron Angle??? ?Come on Bernie, I'm a fan but you have a better chance of finding ten decent men in Sodom than ten that have sympathy for Ron Angle.

To quote the great Richard M. Nixon, "I stuck the knife in my own back and my enemies twisted it with great relish".

Anonymous said...

The problem here is elected officials being involved as employees of the Township. Geake will cost the Township big bucks in the end. On the employee morale, boo hoo. They get a government check and benefits from the Township while many others are out of work or don't know where the next pay check is coming from. They should go cry somewhere else. I am sick and tired of these elected supervisors thinking they can do whatever they want resulting in the Township paying out. I am also sick and tired of complaining Township employees because they have low morale. All of them should go find a job in the real world, if they can.

Dave Houser said...

Bernie..sorry about the detour/road closure of 512 in downtown Bangor. PennDot are not too swift and at the start of winter to close a major road is very disruptive to all. Our council prez has ordered the barriers removed that were across the RR tracks downtown to facilitate plowing of storm debris. There is no activity there by them and why start an underground/road bridge replacement now is just dumb. We met with PennDot prior to this day after Christmas barrier/detour plan went into effect but they just don't get it. They will probably sue us or some such nonsense but public safety is our responsibility and we took action against their advise not to do so.

Anonymous said...

For better or worse..depends on your perspective..Ron does have a pretty good idea how the county works and where the money comes from and where it goes. Personality aside..he is very informed and no dummy. Don't underestimate him..do so at your own risk.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I apologize. I inadverdently deleted a knock at Dave, calling him a know-it-all or words to that effect for his dealings with PennDot. I meant to delete one of my own comments, which has a syntax error, and replace it with one that is more correct grammatically.

The shot at Dave, though anonymous, is fair bc he is an elected official. But I would say Dave is doing his job, and doing it very well.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Believe me when I tell you, the Fake Rev, Jack D'Alessandro, Tricia Mezzacappa and a few others will make Ron's biggest enemies feel sorry for him.


Anonymous said...

Read the court opinion and as you well know it is very narrow in scope and does not extend beyond a few vwery specific Mezzacappa statements. Leave the bullshitting to Angle, he is a pro. It sounds like you may have her, for whatever that is worth but as far as it being any more than that you are living in lawsuit lala land.

Dave said...

Thanks Bernie. I appreciate the accolade but have to give the nod to our council prez..Cathy Allen..for staring down PennDot on this one.

Bernie O'Hare said...

2:40, Looking strictly at the statements on her blog and the Gracedale blog, it is quite clear that they participated in the defamation and encouraged her. It is also clear that she was helped by a Blog Mentor, someone who has the initials "BV." How far it goes is something I will learn in discovery. I have no intention of cluttering up that case with allegations against them, but do intend to find out whether she was encouraged and instigated. Evidence in a case is limited to proving the allegations in the complaint, but discovery is much broader. But thanks for your anonymous legal opinion.

Anonymous said...

Upper Mount Bethel is not the wild west of Northampton County.

You need noontime duels, saloons, a fairly high ratio of handlebar mustaches and buildings that look like they were modern in 1870.

That title belongs to me.

Sincerely,

The Borough of Chapman

Bernie O'Hare said...

My apologies.

Anonymous said...

Other than the noontime duels (tooearly) you can find all that in Johnsonville.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Sounds like my kind of place I don't really roll until about 2 PM.

Noel said...

Ron Wrong Angle must be your buddy cause anyone with a brain can see his self centered egomaniac personality a mile away. Look into the bank robbery that happened under his watch and his bank loans to himself as loan officer if you want proof.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Oh so now he's responsible for bank robberies. You people are just plain nutz.