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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, August 31, 2015

Where's the Gift Ban in Allentown and Easton?

Some people like former NorCo Executive John Stoffa have a deep sense of personal integrity. He once refused a bag of pretzels from someone who wanted money from the County. He refused to accept a parking spot just for him, choosing instead to trudge up the hill to the courthouse until his hip gave out. In Bethlehem, former City Council Clerk Cindy Biedenkopf refused a gift of tickets to some event she wanted to see, choosing instead to write out a check. Vic Mazziotti would tell NorCo vendors who wanted to buy him lunch that they could, but they would never do business in the County. Some people do the right thing without others telling them. For others, there's a gift ban policy like the one recently announced by Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez. Why has neither Allentown's Fed Ed nor Easton's Sal Panto imposed a similar ban? Their silence on this topic speaks volumes.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Stoffa did take a large cash contribution from a former Republican Party Chair and made sure he hired Republicans for top spots. He also allowed county paid vendors to provide assistance to his friends pursuing a private lawsuit he agreed with.

The county can't afford anymore of his integrity".

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yawn.

Anonymous said...

I think Easton already has a gift ban. It's in their revised charter.

Anonymous said...

You don't need a gift ban to know that you cannot take cash.

So, the gift ban in Bethlehem is good PR, and the Mayor is doing the right thing by making it known that gifts to City workers and elected officials are illegal. The Mayor certainly seems to be above reproach, but not so for City workers and other elected officials. The rumor mill has it that many in City Hall are open for a little financial help. Or maybe it is just a few rotten apples that ruin reputations for all. Especially in the codes department, where rumor has it that a certain developer left town because of FBI investigations, and a certain code official received cash for informing the developer of properties that might be good financial deals. Hey, but this is all rumor. The only solution is to require all City employees and elected officials to wear working body cameras 24/7. And I am sure they will figure out how to get around that.

"Among other things, the Code requires all employees and officials of the City to: Not ever use [the employee’s or official’s] position with the City of Bethlehem for personal gain."

Bernie O'Hare said...

6:53, I see no gift ban in Easton's HRC.

Anonymous said...

In Allentown the Coded Department operates as a flying goon squad.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have deleted a comment that is a cut and paste job of the Easton HRC. Please provide a link instead of cluttering this blog. It does NOT include a gift ban.

Anonymous said...

The bethlehem Ban is window dressing. Meanwhile Donchez lines his campaign coffers with cash from vendors and developers. If he stopped taking money from them, then I would be impressed. Besides he actually hired the crook Fleck and gave him money!

Anonymous said...

"The acceptance of gifts and other things of value" is clearly prohibited in Article VII Section A sub-paragraph 2. It also creates its own Ethics Board.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It is not clear enough and only applies to some officials. Easton really should consider a gift ban.

Anonymous said...

Also, in the Codified Ordinances, Chapter 54 titles Code of Ethics Section 54-1(D) states "a gift having a value in excess of $25 may not be considered de minimus." This Ordinance was passed in 2008 as required by the new HRC and Panto was Mayor then. So, does the City of Easton get your praise as well which was 8 years ahead of Bethlehem and Allentown when it comes to GIFTS? I doubt it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

No it does not get my praise bnc, as I've already stated, the gift ban is not broad enough. $25 is way too high. No free lunches or dinners.

Anonymous said...

BOH states at 4:00 "It is not clear enough and only applies to some officials. Easton really should consider a gift ban." Wrong again. And this ORDINANCE passed in 2008 covers everyone employed by the City of Easton, not just elected officials. Why do you insist on putting the city down when Easton is the one that addressed this long ago PBB (pre Bernie's Blog)

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am away from home right now and will respond later in detail. Do not equate Easton government or Panto with Easton. That's a ridiculous assertion. My problem is that all gift should be banned, even a free lunch. Tgat is where the slippery slope starts. Also, easton will often claim that someone in cahoots with a developer is not really employed by tge city but by this or that authority. It really is not a ban and does not go far enough.

Anonymous said...

When Obama supports a gift ban, then so will I.

Of course, we're talking about a guy who refuses to fly on the same plan with his wife.

So I won't get my hopes up too high.

Anonymous said...

"same plane"

Y'all got the point just the same.

Anonymous said...

Most of them are now employed in some city center palumpadome undercover under colur of law to accomplish the biggest heist ponzie scheem on the innocent indigent childrens children with reily being a circus tool too just like allentowns king fedEd, ABE¿!($ Did we all read what was redd about slumlordian campaign donors hotel rooms being called apartments were a two year old todller was left¿!($ The notorious hamilto street gang o thugs east,west and epicentralized at cityhall 5th floor mayors office for a fee slipped in the envolope or just maybe a mancave remodel¿!($

With a mayor as such that is now king one could commit murder for a small fee and the king would cover having false national statistic records faked¿!($

Just one qwick one were did all the 222 corridor monies go¿!($ factfindingmission

redd
patent pending

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have looked over Easton's ordinance (it is not in the HRC) on this matter, and as i stated, it is not restrictive enough. There needs to be a ban on all gifts, even those under $25.

One other point, whoever you are. You need to lose the inferiority complex. A criticism of this failure is NOT to be considered an attack on Easton. Trying to make the two equivalent is like saying a criticism of an Obama policy is unpatriotic. He may thin he's the Rue du Soleil, but the Sun does not rise and set on Sal Panto. He and you have reached the point where you take every criticism personally.

I have absolutely no regard or respect for Panto. He knows why. Despite my personal disdain for him, I think he is a generally good Mayor who is getting worse bc he listens too much to people who blow smoke up his ass.

Anonymous said...

I have no inferiority complex you have a problem admitting when you aren't right. You weren't right on Easton's de-criminalization of parking tickets and you weren't right on the non-resident EIT. Sorry, but when you are wrong people you are wrong. No problem. And I am not blowing smoke anywhere just trying to set the record straight.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Actually, I was correct about both the commuter tax and Easton's due process problem regarding parking tickets. Your assertion is completely wroing, as befits someone suffering from an inferiority complex.

The commuter tax imposed by Easton was unlawful and the city did have to change its ordinance. I would have asked to have had all taxes suspended while that took place.

As for the parking tickets, Easton was failing to provide due process to alleged parking offendors. In addition, Easton had failed to enact an ordinance giving that City the authority ro replace the criminal system with a civil one. It had to change its procedures to provide for due process and also had to enact an ordinance enabling it to act civilly.

If Sal Panto wants someone to blow smoke up his ass, he can find all kinds of fawning sycophants on Facebook. He won't find one in me.

Adopt a gift ban amd then you can claim you had one.

Anonymous said...

Donchez continues to receive donations from city vendors and is a puppet of county people as well as one person in city hall. Word is Karner received free concert tickets for musicfest.