Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Brown Pick For Administrator Appears to be Unqualified

As I've already told you, Northampton County Executive John Brown has nominated Bangor Borough Council President Cathy Allen as the next Director of Administration. This is perhaps the most important cabinet official in the County, but Brown wants to fill it with a person who has no education beyond high school and no County experience whatsoever. He wants to pay her $88,000 per year, too. Her nomination will be considered by County Council's Personnel Committee today at 4 pm. On Thursday, 6:30 pm, the full Council will consider it again.

Education

According to the County's Human Resources Office, the Director of Administration should have the following education and training:
* Education equivalent to completion of a bachelor's degree program with major course work in public or business administration.
* Extensive public administration experience, which has included significant involvement with personnel, labor relations, or other administrative function, including two years in a supervisory position.
* Or any equivalent combination of acceptable training and experience which has provided the knowledges, skills and abilities cited above.
Allen has none of this. She has a high school education with no real involvement with personnel, labor relations or other administrative functions. She has only supervised herself in her two man office in the private sector because the other worker there, Marino Saveri, was her boss. She has served on a borough council for five years, and one that had a very capable manager.

Knowledge and Skills

According to Human Resources, a Director of Administration should possess the following knowledge and skills:
* Comprehensive knowledge of the public administration principles and practices commonly employed in the planning, direction and control of an organization providing Countywide administrative services.
* Comprehensive knowledge of goals, objectives, methods and techniques applicable to the management of personnel and labor relations programs.
* Comprehensive knowledge of functions, organization and operations commonly found in government at the local level.
* Thorough knowledge of supervisory principles and practices.
* Ability to organize, direct and coordinate the activities of several organizational subdivisions engaged in separate functions.
* Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with associates, elected officials, representatives of the Court, other County, State and Federal agencies, and the public.
* Ability to express ideas and communicate County policy on technical and/or administrative subjects, both orally and in writing.
Nothing in Allen's background shoes a comprehensive knowledge of public administration, personnel, labor issues or supervisory practices.

Under the County's own Human Resources policies, she's unqualified. But what disturbs me even more is her participation in unethical and nontransparent policy in Bangor Borough.

Allen's Saveri Connection

In 1984, Allen began working for Marino Saveri at Diversified Financial Planners, Inc. In addition to his work there, Saveri managed to get himself elected to Bangor Borough Council, then coaxed the Borough Authority into paying him monthly.. He eventually became Administrator there, while retaining his seat on Borough Council in an obvious ethical conflict.

Another Council member, Bonnie LaBar, began attending Borough Authority meetings, and was paid $200 per month to do so.So she became involved in the ethical conflict as well.

I should point out that the Borough Council stipend was $50 per month, though it recently has gone up to $100. LaBar, and presumably Saveri before her, waived the Borough Council salary. But they were making much more with what they received from the Bangor Borough Authority.

This went on for six years under LaBar.

Last year, around the time that Saveri left his seat on Borough Council, this practice was stopped. At the October 2013 meeting, after hearing from the Solicitor that the practice was illegal, Cathy Allen was a member of Borough Council herself.

Allen voted to continue sending LaBar to the Authority despite the legal problem. She was outvoted.

When Saveri resigned, Allen pushed to have Stephanie Merlo, Saveri's goddaughter, replace him. Merlo was a volunteer coach at Pius X who was soon thereafter charged with corrupting the morals of a minor. She was selected as a result of a tie-breaking vote cast by then Mayor John Brown.

Merlo resigned the day after she was charged. But Allen kept this information about a public official secret for nearly a month despite media inquiries and requests from other Council members.

It appears to me that Allen has picked up bad habits as Saveri's protege. She lacks transparency. Also, she seems more than willing to permit unethical behavior, even when it is pointed out by the Council Solicitor.

While the Executive's choice for Administrator is entitled to great weight, the argument can be made that Allen is unqualified. I would go along with this pick under these three conditions:

1) She must resign her seat on Bangor Borough Council because it presents too many opportunities for mischief, and Allen's own record reveals an amazing insensitivity to ethical concerns;

2) She must agree to a background check.

3) She should not start at $88,000. Her initial salary should be about half that amount.

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bernie, the term, "may be unqualified", is the kindest and most benign statement that can be made.

This is a travesty. Brown has blundered more in his first four months than Stoffa did in eight years and that is pretty bad.

Council should give an executive some leeway but really. How can they in good faith support this pick. She is clearly unqualified by any measure. This is plain sad.

Too bad Ted Bundy is no longer around. He wert to law school, focused in his approach, was very organized and great at planning.

Brown is just way out there. What the hell is his problem?

Anonymous said...

How did his "Bangor forum" go? did he wow them with his ideas?

Guy Williams said...

What is this big problem you have with women, now you want one to accept half the salary as a male. And you have a lawyer mentality to boot.Come on Bernie

Anonymous said...

Brown needs to break some promises he made to friends on the campaign trail.

Jobs like this one are too important to be handed out as thank you gifts.

Anonymous said...

What is this big problem you have with women, now you want one to accept half the salary as a male.

Pulling the gender card doesn't apply here. If Allen were a "he" the lack of qualifications is still overwhelming. Your faux outrage is noted.

Anonymous said...

When Jim Gregory's commitment to the state is over soon, he will return. Brown will give Gregory the job. Gregory was a big help in the Brown victory. He is also a very experienced leader and administrator.

Anonymous said...

That would give Brown the option of no nuts or all nuts.

Anonymous said...

To those who doubt..every word here is true and accurate. The truth is more powerful than fiction and spin. You can't run from the past and eventually we all have to answer for our acts..the good and the bad and the ugly.

Anonymous said...

How grateful does Brown have to be to crazy Greggy for delivering 1 vote?

Anonymous said...

Chickens coming home to roost in Bangor..small town with no airport.

Anonymous said...

By my calculations..Mrs. LaBar alone owes the tax payers of Bangor around 13K before taxes over this little ethical paycheck problem. Appears the Authority did nothing about it and even condoned the practice for years on end. Oh well...

Anonymous said...

And sadly..the Express-Times has this story under wraps and refused to run with it. Why? I bet they run it now..

Anonymous said...

Education is overrated. Just look at Bernie.

Anonymous said...

Certainly the Dems on Council will vote no. The question is which Republican(s) will realize how truly unqualified this woman is. I'm counting on Mr. Phillips or Mr. Vaughn again for some sense and sanity here.

Anonymous said...

Brown needs to reload on this pick. He is putting his allies on council in a precarious position. Best to withdraw the nomination and do a quick search for a qualified individual. The county deserves better.

county corruption said...

Bernie, You're just scratching the surface concerning the losing team of Saveri & Allen. Their long history together is full of deceit and failure. This position is too important to give to an unqualified person- friend or not. The first rule in gov't/ business administration is hire the best QUALIFIED candidate. If Brown is so hell bent on rewarding one of his loyalists a job, there are plenty of less important positions he could give her. If you dig deeper into the backgrounds of Brown, Saveri, and Allen- you will be shocked. This is what you get when only 15% of voters show up at the polls- complete incompetence....

Anonymous said...

The Bangor forum was a joke- all talk, no concrete ideas or solutions.

Anonymous said...

Any council member who votes in favor of this pick- should immediately resign. Politics at its worst..

Anonymous said...

Brown says that he wants to go dept. by dept. to make them run more efficiently- so he nominates an unqualified person to the most important position in the county- makes perfect sense to an idiot. Allen never made $88K in her entire life!

Anonymous said...

7:39 - right on! But he has ALREADY given this loyalist an important job. She is Deputy Director of Administration earning probably more than she has ever made in the private sector. Based on the "Peter Principle" that is where she should stay, and be thankful she got that patronage job.

Anonymous said...

7:39 - right on! But he has ALREADY given this loyalist an important job. She is Deputy Director of Administration earning probably more than she has ever made in the private sector. Based on the "Peter Principle" that is where she should stay, and be thankful she got that patronage job.

Anonymous said...

No matter how this plays out..She needs to step away from local politics completely. Her credibility is shot here in Bangor and she has no business in a leadership position on Bangor council. Time to move on..

Anonymous said...

This guy is a train wreck. How the hell did we elect him?

Anonymous said...

Your undercurrent rage directed at women, is nothing new and no surprise to anyone, but, is nonetheless , more of the same from a person who hates women in positions of power.

Your slanderous rants that she is not qualified because she doesnt hold a piece of paper signed by a dean of a college sepaks volumes and is hypocritical. Neither did Ann McHale, and Stoffa offerred her the exact same job.

Your analogies that she is non-transparent because of her boss's actions are disgraceful.

The real problem here is that you hate women. Possibly because your are a serial lunatic with no life at all. Take a shower and learn how to live.

Anonymous said...

Look at some of the former DOA's in the county; Hickey, Conklin, etc. These individuals had personality, expertise, management skills, etc.

Allen has none. There are many borough or township officials much better to get this train back on a track.

R's need to stand up to Brown and vote No!

Anonymous said...

9:11 Thanks Ms. Bangor. Qualification has nothing to do with gender. Change her name to Mr. ALleen and he's still not qualified!

Bernie O'Hare said...

That person is Mezzacappa, and she is driven by hatred, not an understanding of the issues.

Anonymous said...

30 years at Saveri's foot. You think she learned nothing from him in all those years? The apple falls right under the tree people. Wise up and open your eyes. Stop pretending your sheep. It's your money and your county and your town.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Let me also point out that Stoffa never offered McHale the job of Director of Admin, at least not that I've ever heard. But that is an example of someone who has little or no education, but who did have a great deal of County experience. So I could see it, though not for that money.

Anonymous said...

If you have a problem with $88,000 for a top ranking county official overseeing a $345 million budget, then I can only assume every single public school administrator is being paid double what they are worth.

You may want to look at the ET article which revealed that a Township clerk in NJ is making in excess of $165,000 annually.

Anne McHale was offerred the job and she turned it down, after you and Ron ANgle libeled Bruce Gilbert out of the job

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have a problem paying this kind of salary to someone with no education and no experience, and do have a problem paying twice that amount to school administrators anywhere. That's hardly what I would call a point of comparison. You are actually arguing county government should be run like school districts. That's absurd.

I thought Brown was all about running government like a business. Now we know. Let's run government like a school district.

Incredible.

Do you take stupid pills?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bruce Gilbert was never offered the Director of Adnin job, He was offered Fiscal Affairs. Yes, I did expose his poor record of dealing with his own finances, which included the occasional bad check and several judgments. I thought that might present a risk to a county with a $330 million budget. Silly me.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Allen did negotiate along with Brown a labor deal with Bangor boro police. Took them close to a year to do it but they delivered it none the less. i guess you can count that on the plus side of this debate.

Anonymous said...

She also has spent time trying to get residents in her ward to agree to seek help collectively with their flooding issues.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Neither of these two things, however nice, qualifies her by a long shot. Negotiating a contract with six police officers (after firing the Chief) is hardly the same thing as negotiations with 11 different unions and 2,200 workers.

By the way, it is the Mayor's job to deal with police issues, not a borough council member. Her involvement in that issue makes me wonder how she could then step back and vote on it.

Ethics ... ehtics.

Anonymous said...

Where the fuck is Bangor and why are all these people coming here from there?

This Brown character sounds like he's completely overmatched. Finally getting bitch-slapped by the real world. Hopefully, this guy is a one-termer but I don't hold much hope for the old coots that vote in local elections.

Anonymous said...

Kathy Allen is unqualified- period. If it were Mr. Allen, I'd have the same opinion- lets stop the war on women nonsense.

county corruption said...

Anyone who cares about good government should be outraged by this nominee. Cathy Allen can't even take care of herself- she lives in a dilapidated house and is always behind on her real estate taxes. Her only formal education came from the king of bullshit- Marino Saveri. About 10 years ago, Her brother, Jim, had to skip town because he screwed so many people in the area when he owned a deli called "fatboys." In fact, he was featured in the Express-times as the fugitive of the week. For the sake of the county, Brown needs to withdraw this nomination immdeiately.

Anonymous said...

Kathy Allen is unqualified- period. If it were Mr. Allen, I'd have the same opinion- lets stop the war on women nonsense.

The war on women is not nonsense. It's GOP tactical strategy. But this person is not an example of said war. This person is just an unqualified hayseed from Bangor.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Corruption, while the sins of the brother should not be visited on the sister, she needs to be vetted and not rubber-stamped.

Anonymous said...

Personnel comm. meeting should be a doozy today. Holy Mackeral Andy!

Anonymous said...

I predict that the PC will not give her a recommendation at all. Brown might even pull the plug before the PC meets today. IF..she makes it thru to council..I think someone will jump ship and sink her nomination.

Anonymous said...

If the Dem's are smart they should do a Pontius Pilate and all say that the Executive deserves his pick and vote for her. Let us see if a Republican votes for her. If she is appointed, it is ultimately Brownies Admisntration and his issue.

If county council says no, when the crap falls as it will anyway, Brown will blame them for not giving him Allen.

Vote yes to all Brown picks. Sit back and enjoy the show.

Anonymous said...

True That! After the election in November the ALL the Republicans were partying as a team. they were celebrating so hard you would have thought the Confederacy won the Civil War.

Now let them all simmer with their own tea bags.

county corruption said...

Bernie, I totally agree with your assessment of this nominee. Although formal education is important, the most important qualification is competence, which is gained through experience. The two most important positions in my company are held by two women- both with associate degrees- and they rose through the ranks. Brown has the perfect surname- he is so full of shit!

county corruption said...

John Brown has always been a surreptitious individual- his campaign "resume" and his governing style- both as Mayor and as County Executive proves it. This pick scares me to death!

Anonymous said...

Well, I hear she's got a foul mouth so...there's that. Precedent and all...

Anonymous said...

The beat continues with both county councils rejecting cabinet positions. Interesting piece today in the papers about a large theft by an employee at the lehigh valley conference of churches. I wonder where this employee worked in relation to the rejected lehigh county DHS director applicant?

Anonymous said...

Surprisingly, Hayden Phillips stepped up to the plate and said that Ms. Allen does not meet his expectations for the education/experience for the job of Director of Administration. It appears her appointment is in jeopardy.

Anonymous said...

Brown really needs to knock this off. How many more times will he try to pull a fast one like this. I know he has done some good things to start off his term, but stuff like this overshadows it and opens him to just criticism.

Hank _Hill

Anonymous said...

Hayden was portrayed as kind of a crackpot when he was elected, but to be honest, he has proven himself to be the sanest R on council. He voted against the ridiculous mega-contract that Brown tried to pull out of the gate, has been working hard to reign in mismanagement of capital projects and building maintenance, and is honest in his assessment that Allen is woefully unqualified for the county administrator position. I respect him for bucking party politics and doing the right thing.

Anonymous said...

Kraft pointed out clearly that based on the job description for Director of Administration this candidate meets NONE of the most important criteria. She did not even bother to defend herself. And Dee Freeman's defense of Allen was clearly a suck-up to Brown. Premier is on thin ice out at Gracedale and Freeman knows it. Simply a gratuitous, self-serving gesture on his part. He has known Allen for what, a whopping month? And yet she is the salt of the earth, and Gracedale's knight in shining armor. Give me a break!

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have to agree about Phillips. he has been a surprise.

Anonymous said...

I didn't think much of Kraft before tonight, but his assessment of Freeman was spot on! Why would a contractor inject himself and his company into a political side on a cabinet position post? Not only was this unethical on part of Freeman, but Brown should have asked him not to say anything. Good for Kraft for pointing this out.

Phillips and Kraft get two points in my book. Parsons disappointed for not saying anything. Was it because he didn't want to upset the apple cart in the North?

Bernie O'Hare said...

No. Parsons does not feel a need to interject himself in matters in which he is not even on the Committee. He is certainly opposed to this nomination.

Anonymous said...

Phillips wasn't on the Committee, but he felt the need to say something. Kudo to Phillips.

Bernie O'Hare said...

He felt the need and did. Mat Benol was there and did not speak. It is not required that every council member speak on every issue. It is to the credit of Parsons, Benol and Phillips that they were there. They are not members of that committee but showed up.

Anonymous said...

Not only was this unethical on part of Freeman, but Brown should have asked him not to say anything. Good for Kraft for pointing this out.

Perhaps Brown does not even understand the most basic conflicts of interest in government? This guy is a disaster. Thanks Repubs.

Anonymous said...

Total non sequitur. All it did was needlessly besmirch the character of a fine public servant who was capable of performing the job.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I see the logic myself. freeman crossed the line, and knows he crossed the line bc he admitted his superiors would be upset with him.

Anonymous said...

Then why didn't she speak up for herself? Besmirch my butt. You're living in Wonderland buddy.

Guy Williams said...

I agree she is not qualified but to say, would agree to her hire if she accepted half of the stated salary doesnt pass muster anymore

Anonymous said...

Freeman's company should be irrate and embarrassed by his actions. It's unethical at best.