About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Payraise Showdown Between Council and Exec Is Tonight

Since taking office, Northampton County Executive John Brown has awarded payraises to about 14 different positions without first seeking the approval of Council. He instead relied upon an obscure provision of the Employee's Policies and Procedures Manual, which the Exec writes himself. Though Brown's lawyers told him he could do this, Council Solicitor Phil Lauer concluded that Brown had stepped on Council'a authority to set wages and salaries. Tonight, Council will determine whether it agrees with Brown's raises.

I have hesitated producing these justifications for fear that I might inadvertently disclose confidential information concerning a public employee. But aside from employee ID numbers, I see nothing that warrants secrecy. Quite the contrary, the justifications are complimentary to the affected workers. So you can read them here.

Most of these increases are small and completely justified. Withe exception of the raises given to Cathy Allen (one of them was stopped on May 10), who Brown recruited from the militant faction of the Salvation Army, I suspect most will be approved, even though it is after-the-fact.

Council's Personnel Committee was supposed to start going through these last night, but Ken Kraft decided to forward it to the entire Council for review tonight. "That's my motion, that's what I want to do and that's what we're going to do," Kraft decided.
.
He delayed the matter over Peg Ferraro's strong objections. "That's why we have committees," she complained.

Later that night Finance Committee Chair Glenn Geissinger did the same thing. Hayden Phillips wanted to discuss putting some found money into the stabilization fund, but Geissinger wanted to let Council Solicitor Phil Lauer weigh in on the idea first.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

not a lot to see here...

Anonymous said...

Cathy Allen is over paid and inept to boot. The failure on her part and Brown's to negotiate in good faith with the unions has cost the county dearly now that arbitration is handing down favorable decisions. She is a walking..talking.. disaster. She deserves to be fired and nothing else is appropriate.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I would like to clarify why the budget amendment item was not on the finance committee agenda and was not discussed and I assure you that I most certainly did not do the same thing in the committee I chair that Councilman Kraft did in the committee he chairs.
The budget amendment item was not on the final meeting agenda because Ms. Zembo, Clerk to Council, was notified by the Council Solicitor, Mr. Lauer, that the item needed to be introduced at tonight's full council meeting to allow for the required introduction of the measure and then public comment period of an ordinance to conform to the required laws. The item was thus pulled at the last minute from the proposed agenda. Had Ms. Zembo not received legal advice to keep the item off the agenda until tonight, it would have been discussed yesterday. I did not want to "wait to have Mr. Lauer.. weigh in on the idea", Mr. Lauer weighed in on his own and gave legal advice before the committee meeting ever began.
What Mr. Kraft did was totally different and an affront to the members of council and to the public. Last month Mr. Kraft voted, along with the other 8 members of council to have these items heard in his committee. Eight of the nine members of council were present for his committee meeting yesterday, seven in person and one, Mr. McClure, by phone. The administration had their solicitor, the executive, and other pertinent individuals in the room to discuss the salary issue.
Mr. Kraft unilaterally decided to ignore a council resolution and the efforts of all the individuals who rearranged their schedules to attend his meeting. He chose to play politics with the pay of the fourteen people in question and all the other workers of the county. Mr. Kraft basically told all the employees in the county that their need to have a fair and equal pay and raise system was unimportant to him. That the resolutions of council are meaningless to him if he chooses to ignore them.
Mr. Kraft has slammed the executive for the very thing he himself has just done. Mr.Kraft unilaterally ignored council and said, effectively, "I am doing it my way".
Mr. Kraft's actions were egregious.
I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight.
Respectfully,

Glenn A. Geissinger,
Chairman, Finance Committee

Anonymous said...

Reviewing the justification documents for the pay raises, most seemed to make sense. However, two in particular stand out as egregious. The first fallacy is the justification to raise Cathy Allen's salary. Brown states in his justification "Catherine Allen has assumed significant responsibilities including but not limited to overseeing insurance programs, risk management, workers compensation, and labor negotiations." ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? The job description for Deputy Director of Administration has included responsibility for insurance programs and risk management FOR YEARS. She was supposedly hired for the position because of her background in insurance. So she gets a raise FOR DOING THE JOB SHE WAS HIRED TO DO?? And her involvement in contract negotiations is a canard as well. She is only administrations representative on a TEAM that negotiates contracts, which includes HR and other department heads. Should they get raises for their involvement in contract negotiations? There is NO justification for the obscene raise Allen was given. Then look at the justification for the 9% raise for the Department of Administration's Executive Secretary. Sleazeball Allen requested the raise in November, 2014 with the statement "I am requesting a raise for S___ G____. She has taken on numerous duties. I am looking to move her up two steps if possible." IS THIS A JOKE? What kind of justification is that? First, it is written in the style of a 4th grader by genius Allen. Then, she is not even this person's supervisor! Campos is! So Allen, who was awarded a fat raise that she did not deserve inappropriately recommended another fat raise for an employee she does not even supervise. Let's hope that council sees through this charade at tonight's meeting.

Anonymous said...

Ken Kraft got it right ... the public has the right to hear this issue vetted in the public , these raises where secretly given an unfair to all the employees who where working without one and wages were frozen , some received raises that where temporary and received multiple raises on top of the temporary raise which I believe are not permitted under county policy, it is just a way to circumvent the system without people knowing ???? are these people now going to receive raises in 2016 again ??? take a look at some of the raises as posted . Mr Giessinger get off your high horse and start thinking about the taxpayers ! take a look at these raises the look fishy especially in the HR dept. John Brown is a corrupt politician.




Anonymous said...

Anon 10:48 - RIGHT ON!! Allen cheated on her travel expense reports and was rewarded with a county car, private parking space and illegal raise. The real "justification" by Brown for her obscene raise was CRONYISM - pure and simple. She is not even qualified for the job she has. But the job clearly includes responsibility for insurance programs, risk management and workers' comp. So she was given a raise for responsibilities she was hired for. This stinks worse than the Jersey shore at low tide.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Glenn, Don't be silly. You guys both did the same thing. If anything, Kraft was more open than you about it bc he kept it on the agenda. Like you, Kraft also stated he wanted Lauer around for the review, which makes complete sense to me. It might have made sense to go thru some of the less controversial raises last night, but the same reasoning that worked for you works for Ken. If what he did is an affront to Council, then what you did is an affront to Council. The reality is that both of you have valid reasons for wanting to wait. If Ken had done this just to prevent you and Peg from attending the meeting tonight, he would be out of line. But as I understand it, both you and Peg canceled plans for the R committee tonight so you can attend.

Anonymous said...

Geissenger is just upset because Peg and him are out big bucks that they had to pay to the RNC for the reception and meet and greet today in Philly

Anonymous said...

These justifications are bullshit. Everyone is doing more with less. Everyone is doing more than their job description. We are all working our asses off and the majority of us, career service non-union will see nothing. Where are the salary surveys that are to be done every two years? Who is looking at the whole picture? Council needs to grow some balls and repeal the raises. Brown needs to justify why the few got the raises and all the others did not. By the way if council approves those 14 justifications as they are explained there are many other people who would fall under each of those justifications as well who have not been given a dime. Try explaining the justifications in court. WAGE DISCRIMINATION

Anonymous said...

@3:51......I highly doubt you'll be at the council meeting tonight to express your opinion. That's the problem with career service people, they sit back in the corner waiting/hoping for the big bad Union boys to save them.........well it's time for you to stand up for yourselves and fight your own battles.

Bernie O'Hare said...

As you make these divisive comments, John Brown and Cathy Allen are smiling.

Anonymous said...

Bernie believe me those two buffoons aren't smiling because they got their asses handed to them in arbitration by multiple unions and more on the way (court appointed professionals and sheriffs)

Anonymous said...

Calling Brown and Allen buffoons is an insult to buffoons everywhere. Send in the clowns!

Anonymous said...

Well, the spineless council punted again with the Brown pay raise giveaways. Even with the phony and weak justifications for the raises they could not act on reversing them. Brown the Clown tried another stalling tactic tonight. He came the the podium humbled and apologetic. He apologized to council if they felt slighted by his unilateral granting of raises to his favorites. He apologized to the 14 employees who were dragged into this controversy. "They are innocents in the matter" he declared. IS HE NUTZ? It is likely that all of the employees requested the raises, either formally or by complaining to their supervisors. They were hardly "innocents" and were well compensated for their actions. But the most sickening act by Brown tonight was groveling for his pet crony, Cathy Allen. He not only apologized to her, but did so TWICE! It was nauseating to hear him praise Allen who he crowed had a "reputation to get things done and her attention to detail." Oh, like the detail of not claiming mileage reimbursement from her home to her headquarters on her expense report in violation of county policy and IRS rules?? She is unworthy of an apology from ANYONE since she never apologized for that transgression. What the hell does Allen have on Brown that he kisses her ass this way in public? Brown turned from snotty little curmudgeon about the pay raises two months ago to a man who has seen religion! Is it because he knows that the justifications for the raises were a farce and would be shot down by council without his contrition? He has used every tactic in the book, from arrogant resistance to piousness to "heart felt" penitence, to protect his crony Allen. He deserves induction into Bill White's "Hall of Fame." He is the sleaziest executive in county history.

Anonymous said...

Brown fears legal intrusions into his affairs so he waves white flag. Beware council.

Anonymous said...

Deal with the Devil and lose your soul!