Thursday, September 19, 2013

Marcus Hire: De Minimis Breach of Administrative Code

In order to prevent the revolving door we see so often between government officials and vendors who have contracts with them, Northampton County's Administrative Code bars vendors from hiring County employees who have had some say in the contract. There's a one-year waiting period. Human Services Director Ross Marcus had plenty of say over multiple County contracts with CACLV, a nonprofit agency whose hopeless mission is to eradicate poverty. But that's where he's heading, putting his new employer in breach of several contracts.

Though nobody disputes that this is a clear breach of contract, just about everyone agrees that the revolving door policy is aimed at something more nefarious, such as when a County employee snags a multimillion deal for some big vendor and then is hired away as a payoff. CACLV, in contrast, is the Lehigh Valley's only real poverty fighter. There's just no one else out there willing to do what this organization does for so little. And Marcus is leaving for this organization, not to enrich himself, but to help others. It's like going to the frickin' seminary.

Controller Steve Barron is no friend to Ross Marcus or the Stoffa Administration. He told Council's Finance Committee yesterday that they could pull the plug on funding for different CACLV operations, like the regional food bank. But even he warned that "The damage that would be done to Second Harvest would be catastrophic to those in need."

Barron suggested that some of CACLV's services to the County be bid out to serve as a "compensating control", a move that CACLV Executive Director Alan Jennings has suggested himself. I think the net result would be a lot of proposals with just one bid.

Anonymously, there have been off topic comments attacking Ross Marcus. Not so anonymously, the Fake Rev has stated that Marcus should try for a job at McDonald's. Perennial candidate Ron Shegda, whose mentally challenged sister was taken from him by Human Services, has incorrectly accused Stoffa employees of orchestrating the job, and is demanding Council to condemn it. These guys have an agenda, and 'tain't good government.

Those who are actually governing, instead of pursuing vendettas, seem unwilling to sanction Alan Jennings' CACLV.

Noting that CACLV "does so much good for the community," Council member Scott Parsons said "it's time to turn your head and walk away."

"We have better things to do," remarked Council member Bob Werner.

Council member Peg Ferraro stated that "something about it does not feel right," but seems unwilling to suggest any form of sanction. Prez John Cusick, whose approach to governance can be anal at times, is stuck on competitive bidding. But who is going to bid against CACLV, John?

The evil this provision of the Administrative Code was designed to prevent simply does not exist in this case. De minimis non curat lex. Translated, that means the law does not deal with bullshit.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

The message here is if you have pull, the law doesn't apply to you. Stoffa's Economic Development person on the CACLV engineers a job for Marcus and the fact it violates county law is OK.

The law must only be for political enemies or those who don't have the insider status of Mr. Marcus. How would another person get treated.

Scott Parsons is a disappointment, he is certainly no improvement on Ron Angle.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You would have people starve because that is the remedy for this violation - cut off funding to Second Harvest. Those people are no insiders. This is a de minimis violation and should be ignored. You are just a hater more interested in hurting people than in actually seeing that government does what it is intended to do.

Anonymous said...

This is disgraceful and other options should be reviewed. Being blackmailed into breaking county law is a sad example to set for the taxpaying public. For county council to just roll over and take it shows their impotence in office.

Shameful action by Alan Jennings just to give a political insider buddy a job. Facilitated by the CACLV board President and county employee who wants to be a future cabinet member. This will work against her.

There are many, many other people who are qualified, even more qualified. Marcus was just a Stoffa yes man and not even a Human Services professional.

His insider CACLV contributor pals run the county not our elected officials.

Disgusting!

Anonymous said...

Marcus and Jennings are both heroes of mine. People can revile them, but they have tried nothing more in their lives than to help others.

Anonymous said...

it's not de minimis. it's rather bald-faced and glaring.

if the law is absurd and unenforceable, then repeal it.

Anonymous said...

so it's ok to break the rules if stoffa said so ...what bullshit ...he's not the only person qualifie for the job ...give me a break!
council better do something about this ...thats what we elected them to do !

Anonymous said...

two faced, forked tongued wimps best describe the administration and council both

Anonymous said...

So it's ok to break the law as long as you have good intentions? Please!

And CACLV shouldn't be punished because they're the only ones performing the service?

Maybe they're the only ones who seek government funding because they've rigged the process with inside access.

And maybe it's time to look at the real results of the group, before continuing to shovel money to them.

Anonymous said...

This fish smells bad. If the law states a county employee can not work for someone they had contracts with as an employee, then said employee should wait the one year time period and then except the job. If it applies to all employees of the county, then it should apply to this gentleman. I don't know any of the players in this scheme and have no ill will to any organization, but if the law states as such then it should be followed as is or be repealed. If not, to the regular taxpayer like myself it tells me if you are "in the in" with the right people in NC then you are above the law. This type of action is why people don't trust politicians.

Anonymous said...

Has Tricia Mezzacappa filed a Pro Se injunction yet? She can stop this!

Bernie O'Hare said...

"it's not de minimis

When you can't sign your name, you're pretty de mionimis yourself.

Anonymous said...

The remedy is, you do not let him take the job.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Most of these anonymous attacks are coming from people with an agenda. They hate. They are unwilling to ID themselves. They would be willing to see out disadvantaged suffer so they can make Ross Marcus or John Stoffa howl. Their motive is not good government, or they's identify themselves.

i look at the evil intended to be remedied by the revolving door ordinance. It is not there. Thus, I agree that we should allow it as a de minimis infraction.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The remedy is, you do not let him take the job."

It's bad enough when people attack anonymously, but they have to be stupid, too. How the frick do you "prevent" him from taking the job? There is no law that stops him from doing it. The vendor can be sanctioned, but not Marcus. Read the law before you offer false answers.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"So it's ok to break the law as long as you have good intentions? Please!"

Why don't you go to Council, identify yourself, and make your argument. Let the entire world know you're an asshole instead of making snide anonymous comments here.

The evil the revolving door ordinance is intended to attack simply is no there. It is a de minimis violation. The only danger is that it sets a precedent and I'm not seeing that.

Anonymous said...

Did I read correctly that Jennings said calv would deal with the results - law suits if they happened? is not funding second harvest against the vendor.

Anonymous said...

§ 312. De minimis infractions.
(a) General rule.--The court shall dismiss a prosecution if,
having regard to the nature of the conduct charged to constitute
an offense and the nature of the attendant circumstances, it
finds that the conduct of the defendant:
(1) was within a customary license or tolerance, neither
expressly negatived by the person whose interest was
infringed nor inconsistent with the purpose of the law
defining the offense;
(2) did not actually cause or threaten the harm or evil
sought to be prevented by the law defining the offense or did
so only to an extent too trivial to warrant the condemnation
of conviction; or
(3) presents such other extenuations that it cannot
reasonably be regarded as envisaged by the General Assembly
or other authority in forbidding the offense.


"Though nobody disputes that this is a clear breach of contract, just about everyone agrees that the revolving door policy is aimed at something more nefarious, such as when a County employee snags a multimillion deal for some big vendor and then is hired away as a payoff."

If the glove don't fit, then you must aquit.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Did I read correctly that Jennings said calv would deal with the results - law suits if they happened? is not funding second harvest against the vendor."

You did. He gets that way. The point he was making is that he is willing to put his good name and services at risk bc he values Marcus that much. He himself suggested that CACLV's services be bid out next year so that no one can claim what people with agendas are doing anonymously here.

I would say No. Look at the evil the ordinance is designed to prevent. It is designed to prevent someone from steering county business to some big vendor and then taking a job with them as a pay off. The evil to be remedied dose not exist when Marcus takes a job with a public service agency that has been dealing with the county for years before he was there.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"so it's ok to break the rules if stoffa said so .

It's OK if the harm intended to be prevented by the ordinance is not there, and the breach id publicly disclosed so people with agendas can make pious and anonymous condemnations.

Anonymous said...

Can't anyone wait the 1 year ?

Anonymous said...

Is there no wisdom in the law if millions aren't involved?

Bernie O'Hare said...

The evil the law is intended to remedy just isn't there. You know this and your pious objections are nothing more than the phony objections of a Pharisee.

Anonymous said...

I agree, I do not think there are evil intentions. I am not being pious, though you, of course, are entitled to your opinion and I do not get the rest of your personal attack. was just wondering - publicly - how to resolve the issue in a manner that makes sense.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It is hard to make a personal attack against someone who does not sign his name. Please do so and i will attack you personally. You are piously expressing indignation that the law is not being followed when it is very clear that the persons being affected by all this are not exactly fat cats. The way to resolves this specific issue is to do nothing. It is de minimis.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you get a lot from so little. I know what my thoughts and feelings we're when I posed the question - you are nit even close to expressing them.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am being rough bc i do not care for a lot of these anonymous shots by people with an agenda that has nothing to do with good government.

Years ago, there was a guy who convinced the County to switch the investment adviser for the pensions. He acted as a lobbyist for this outfit with other counties. When he left the county, he went to work for them

Years ago, there was a director of public works who steered millions in engineering work to an outfit that then hired him when he left.

That is the evil the revolving door ordinance is intended to eradicate, not some guy who goes to CACLV, who was performing human services for the county years before Marcus was there, and will continue for years after he is gone.

Clinton Oxford said...

Can an Exemption be made by Council Resolution?

Anonymous said...

you only express indignationation when it's ok with you when someone breaks the rules/laws . if this was anyone else you would'v pounded them in the ground by now...it's only because it suits you that you don't he is one of stoffa's boys and your not fooling anyone hee. there are many other qualified people suited for the job ,let marcus wait it out just like anyone else ...wrong is wrong.

Anonymous said...

Ron Shegda's sister was taken out of his custody? Wow!!! How did you find this one out? He will never be able to live this one down and will never be able to get elected to a post.

Anonymous said...

This law is part of a "gotcha" deal orchestrated by Stp0ffa's old pals. Check it out O'Hare, if you dare. Now it has come to bite one of their own. What to do? Ignore it, it was meant for others not the entitled.

They used it to try and hurt others in the past. It was meant to be personal. This incident is a clear violation.

Jennings and Marcus are old West Allentown snobbery friends, period! Marcus is not even a Human Services person. Stoffa needed ayes man and he got it. He may know the high rollers but this was just a friendly payoff, pure and simple. The fact that another county employee in her role as the President of the CACLV helped engineered this, is in itself disgusting.

By the way O'Hare there are alternatives to using CACLV's service and they should be investigate by the next administration and demanded by county council. Of course this blockhead county council is clueless and just follows along like puppy dogs.

I know the players involved even better than you do. This is why people hate government.

V. Paulis

Bernie O'Hare said...

A false name by a coward who does not have his facts right. Come to Council tonight and speak. Let them know who you are and state your real agenda.

Anonymous said...

What you really hate is the "fact" that his facts are spot on!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yes, There have been news accounts.

Clinton Oxford said...

The Dilema of this issue is between the letter of the law & the spirit of the law.

In a Law Abiding Society, the letter of the law must be upheld.

That being said....since everyone in the Northampton Political Hierarchy is going to have an Opinion on this Issue, they should codify it in a Resolution granting/denying an exemption. Then, the "Letter of the Law" is fulfilled.

To forment & fulminate disruption of continuity-of-care of your NORCO downtrodden, for a Political shit fight, is unconscionable.

Identify whom control's the Outcome of this situation & seek resolution!

Bernie O'Hare said...

It has already happened on a de facto sort of way.

Anonymous said...

Alan don't need no stinking rules. Alan make the rules.

Anonymous said...

I agree.

Anonymous said...

Alan is a saint. He is the only one in the Lehigh Valley who cares about the poor. Alan is the most self-sacrificing person in the world. The law is for mere mortals and does not apply to Alan. God bless him.

Anonymous said...

It is more of what I was thinking when I asked thr previous two questions, how do you "spell out" the intent. perhaps it is unnecessary - then why talk about not funding second harvest.

Clinton Oxford said...

A simple resolution by County Council will resolve this ambiguity.

Anonymous said...

Will Ross be stringing Xmas lights and cutting down trees on the South Side?

Anonymous said...

He will sit in his office and move papers like he did for the past seven years.