Thursday, September 19, 2013

Stoffa Waives CACLV Breach In "Best Interests" of County

Ross Marcus in the peanut gallery
When the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley (CACLV) hired Northampton County Director of Human Services Ross Marcus, it breached several County contracts that prohibit hiring County Administrators for a year after their resignation. But on Thursday, Executive John Stoffa and CACLV Executive Director Alana Jennings executed amendments to those contracts under which the County waives what is characterized as a "technical breach" as in the "best interests of the residents of the County."

Under this waiver, CACLV agrees that Marcus will have any role in the negotiation of any contracts over the next year. In addition, CACLV warrants that Marcus played no role in the negotiation of any of its current contracts with Northampton County.

This revolving door ordinance, codified in the Administrative Code, is designed to prevent County employees from negotiating big contracts with a major vendor, and then going to work for them. It has happened. Many years ago, a fiscal officer convinced the County to switch pension advisers, after which he went to work for them. Similarly, a former public works director resigned for a job with an engineering firm that he recommended repeatedly for County work. The danger here is that the public employee will subordinate the best interests of the County to his own pecuniary interest.

In the case of CACLV, the area's major poverty fighting organization, contracts for County services existed long before Marcus worked there. He has previously worked in community (not economic) development in Allentown and as Executive Director of AIDSNET, a HIV coalition.

His temporary replacement is John Mehler, who's doing double duty as the Director of the Area Agency on Aging. Marcus has continued working for the County, without salary, guiding several initiatives through County Council last night.

At last night's meeting of Northampton County Council, the Chair of the Gracedale Advisory Board thanked  Marcus for his service to the county-owned nursing home.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

If county council did not approve these self-serving "amendments" by Stoffa and Jennings they are meaningless, as law.

This is just another example of finding a way around the law, when the law becomes inconvenient to an insider. It is why people are so disgusted with government and politics.

Jennings sand Marcus use the poor as a "shield" for their buddy-buddy system of taking care of each other. shameful.

They should both be fired. With friends like this the "poor", should look for more enemies.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You could have appeared before Council tonight to express your displeasure. But instead, you'd prefer to take anonymous shots.

Neither Marcus not Jennings work for the County, so it is ridiculous to suggest they be fired.

Anonymous said...

Did county council vote on the amendments? I didn't think they even took a position on the matter.

Anonymous said...

Was the Fake Rev and his flock of mindless followers in attendance at the County Council meeting? Did they voice their disapproval? Because they are really going to cry now, especially cry - Lame Duck. So sad how mindless they are.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The Fake Rev was not there and NOBODY spoke against Marcus or his position with CACLV.

Anonymous said...

RM and Alan deserve special consideration.

Anonymous said...

Jennings and Marcus are scum who hide behind the poor and needy to shovel money into their own pockets. Backroom politics on display. shameful!

Bernie O'Hare said...

and where were you last night, hiding under a rock?

Anonymous said...

Why do you support the breaking of law? You are being very selective about "who" may break the law and then help bend and twist a reason why it is OK.

This is not like Ross Marcus is the most or only qualified person out there. It is just that he and Jennings are old Allentown pals and they put their own self-interest before those who need help and county law. he same way current Allentown politico's do and that you condemn, in those cases.

You do realize your pal Stoffa has tried on more than a few occasions to have Jerry Seyfried tossed from the ballot. Why does Stoffa keep having county lawyers look into Jerry's retirement, when they already told him it was not a problem.

So give Marcus a pass on an obvious violation of county law but harass a guy like Seyfried who is following the law. Just ask him yourself.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Where were you last night?

Anonymous said...

Been reading this Bernice and I am surprised by your answers. You usually have a great disdain for his kind of shady activity. You have derided it in the past and still do.

I know you really, really like Stoffa and his guys but this was just wrong. No ambiguity, a clear violation of the letter and spirit of the law. No I was not there and no I was not moved to speak on this as I am not a big Northampton County person but nonetheless, it appears very wrong just on its face. If the same thing happened in Allentown, I believe you would be blogging about it for weeks.

Surprised you can blow this off.

Anonymous said...

Does any of this conflict with the PA State Ethics act relating to government employees leaving a job?

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right, Bernie. If this was such an egregious violation of the county's AC and contract language why weren't these angry posters at the meeting last night expressing their displeasure? Instead, you had a member of the Gracedale Advisory Board stand up and praise Marcus, after which he received a deserved round of applause from the audience. Ross has been a dedicated civil servant and excellent administrator and helped Gracedale get through one of the rockiest times in its long history. The county has lost a great asset. But the good news is that the LV poor will now benefit from his talents and skills.

Kevin Cerino said...

How much is Marcus being paid in his new position? How does that compare to how much he was paid by the County?

Anonymous said...

So someone has to show up at a meeting to expect their elected officials to follow the laws they swore to uphold?

And elected officials can just wave their magic wands and make those laws go away?

That's news to me, but maybe they can help me out next year when it's time to pay my taxes. After all, I'm a good person and I do good things in my community.

Anonymous said...

Alan is above the law.

Anonymous said...

God will punish the wicked lost souls like Marcus, Stoffa, and O'Hare. Just wait for the rapture and pray you are right with the lord.

RMM

Bernie O'Hare said...

"God will punish the wicked lost souls like Marcus, Stoffa, and O'Hare. Just wait for the rapture and pray you are right with the lord.

RMM "


Not enough spelling or grammatical errors for that to be the Fake rev.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"How much is Marcus being paid in his new position? How does that compare to how much he was paid by the County?"

Kevin, I have not asked that question. Jennings was paid $92,000 in 2010. Let's assume it's close to $100,000 now. It's fairly low, compared to many other nonprofit salaries, especially in view of the size of the operation.

My opinion is that Ross would be paid substantially less than Jennings and probably less than he made in NC. But I have not asked the question.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Does any of this conflict with the PA State Ethics act relating to government employees leaving a job?"

Not at all. But any citizen, including you, can file a complaint with the state ethics commission.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"You do realize your pal Stoffa has tried on more than a few occasions to have Jerry Seyfried tossed from the ballot. Why does Stoffa keep having county lawyers look into Jerry's retirement, when they already told him it was not a problem."

That's just nonsense.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"You usually have a great disdain for his kind of shady activity. You have derided it in the past and still do."

There is nothing about it that is shady. It has been completely transparent. It is a clear breach. At the same time, the evil at which the ordinance is aimed does not exist. So there is no reason to enforce a breach, and doing so would have tragic consequences.

Everyone gets this, even Stoffa's enemies on Council. Even Barron.

The only persons who have condemned this are:

1) Ron Shegda, whose mentally disabled sister was taken from him. He hates Marcus and Stoffa and blames threm insead of looking at his own failures.

2) The Fake Rev, who developed an irrational hatred for Stoffa over the Gracedale issue, and has wanted to impeach and prosecute him.

Neither of these people voiced their concerns to Council bnc they both know they are wrong. But they can't help it. They are driven by hate, not a desire for good government.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, this one is pretty close to the 'slippery slope' argument.

First I agree with you on the merits - the law wasn't intended to apply to situations like this. I know all Ross and think he'll be a great addition to CACLV. I also don't think for a second there was anything nefarious going on prior.

But....the law is in fact the law. There are no exceptions built into it to allow this type of discretion.

So what we have is a poorly drafted law that unfortunately should be followed. Once you start allowing politicians to decide what they're going to enforce and what they're not going to enforce....well I see that as a problem.

The Banker

Bernie O'Hare said...

Banker, the law is the law, and the law has provided, since antiquity, that it should not be followed if the evil at which the law is aimed does not exist. The de minimis argument has existed since the days of ancient Rome. That is also the law.

Anonymous said...

Bernie sorry to go off topic, but this might be worth it. This is a well kept secret. And I won't divulge my identity because I fear the wrath of God.

Do you know what today is? Today is the 40th anniversary of the birth of Father Alex Joseph.

How is that for inside dirt? Happy 40th Birth Day Father Alex!

Bernie please do a special post so we can catch the good Father off guard. He thought nobody remembered or knew, but we surprised him today out of fear of us telling others. May God forgive us!

Anonymous said...

I think it's worth pointing out that Alan donates his full salary to charity.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I think it's worth pointing out that you're an anonymous asshole.

Anonymous said...

Hey anon 7:11, Harpo, and Marcus like Jennings will greatly benefit ($$$) from the LV poor.

Anonymous said...

" excellent administrator and helped Gracedale get through one of the rockiest times in its long history."

Which he and his boss created and then in a half-assed way have tried to fix because the voters forced them to. They still are screwing that job up.

This was one of the best laugh lines regarding one of Bernie's mancrushes!

Anonymous said...

Lighten up people, Alan will not pay Marcus enough to own Gucci loafers like Alan wears when he administers for the poor.

"Poverty been, very, very good to me"
Jennings and Marcus

Anonymous said...

1:35 what are you smoking and where can I get some?

Anonymous said...

The poverty pimp's at CACLV sure know how to whore our donations to supply their lavish lifestyle's, too bad O'Hara can't qualify for some of their programs maybe then he wouldn't walk around in sweat suits and dirty old running shoes.

Matt said...

If they see angry citizens, it just might Change some things. Get involved, don't bitch from behind a keyboard.

Anonymous said...

Marcus's giant head looks radioactive.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Somebody doesn't have anything to do on Saturday night, so he/she attacks Ross Marcus anonymously with a mean-spirited shot. That is why he/she has nowhere to go.

Anonymous said...

More an attack on your crappy photography, BO.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you tell us the truth Bernie? You know Alan will need to be stepping down soon.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I did tell you the truth, Mr. Shegda. In fact, i posted a blog about Jennings and his health. Why don't you tell us why your sister was taken and why you have failed to get her back?

Anonymous said...

Once Marcus becomes head of CACLV the place will fold. He has the personality of moss. The guy is none to smart neither.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The guy is none to smart neither."

Neither, apparently, are you. The difference between "to" and "too" is taught in the third grade.