Monday, April 21, 2014
Ethical Questions Over Brown's Proposed Director of Administration
Cathy Allen, who happens to be a Republican, has been on Bangor Borough Council for five years and is currently its President. She is paid $600 per year. What's interesting to me is how she got there, and what she's learned in the business world. This is especially important because she has no education beyond a high school diploma.
Until she went to work for Brown as a Deputy Director of Administration, she was the "office manager" of a two-person office in Bangor called Diversified Financial Planners, Inc. The other person in that office is the boss. That corporation is owned - lock, stock and barrel - by Marino Saveri.
He knows all about diversification.
Until late last year, Saveri was a member of Bangor Borough Council. He was also one of their two paid representative to Bangor Borough Authority. For some reason, the Bangor Borough Authority pays two Council members to attend their meetings. This presents all kinds of ethical problems, especially when the Authority has a matter before Council..
In 1999, Saveri proposed and may have actually audited Bangor's books himself to save the borough the expense of an independent and professional audit.
It does not stop there. Saveri is also the paid Administrator of the Bangor Borough Authority. As a member of Bangor Borough Council, Saveri never shied away from advocating for the interests of the Borough Authority.
In a nutshell, Saveri is a walking conflict who makes Karen Dolan look like a Girl Scout by comparison.
This is the problem. The only real job Cathy Allen has had is as Saveri's protege.
Three years after graduating from high school in '81, she went to work with Saveri, and stayed with him until Brown recruited her.
While working for Saveri, she became a long term care insurance sales person. She sold policies to seniors. This makes her no expert on risk management.
Aside from Cub Scouts, she was never involved in anything. Then four years ago, out of the blue, she ran for and was elected to Bangor Borough Council.
Saveri needed an ally. Maybe Brown, newly elected Mayor, needed an ally, too.
When the heat began to turn up on Saveri, he resigned his seat on Bangor Borough Council late last year.
The person he wanted to replace him was none other than Stephanie Merlo, the Pius X volunteer coach who had never even been registered to vote before her appointment. Allen voted for her, and when the matter ended up in a tie, then Mayor Brown broke the tie to vote for her.
Only a few weeks after this, Merlo was accused of corrupting the morals of a minor at Pius X. Allen, as President of Borough Council, refused all calls for information.
So she has no real academic education. From her work history, you can see that the only thing she has been schooled in is engaging in conflicts of interest, combined with a refusal to be transparent.
It would be irresponsible to set this person loose on 2,000 county workers and a $330 million budget, without an extensive background check. There is also no way that Northampton County Council should confirm a sitting Borough Council President to Director of Administration because it presents too many opportunities for the same kind of conflict that existed with Allen's mentor.
As things stand, most of the clerks in the row offices have more education and experience than Allen. But they don't get paid the $88,000 salary Brown is proposing for her.