Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Why I Think Wayne Grube Should Step Down as Council Prez

It's not going to happen. We're stuck with him. And it certainly is partially my fault.

I've voted for Wayne Grube as long as I can remember. When I addressed council yesterday, I complimented his service to the county. He is council's hardest-working member.

But anyone who attends Northampton County Council meetings, even sporadically, knows why Grube should step down as county council prez. It has nothing to do with his age or hearing. It has everything to do with his total inability to conduct an orderly meeting. It has everything to do with his willingness to allow himself to be controlled behind the scenes by other council members.

When I addressed council yesterday, I actually stole and read remarks made by one of the contributors to this blog. "Wayne Grube has been a powerful force in Northampton County politics for decades. His legacy is secure - perhaps no other politician has had a stronger and broader influence than he." But this contributor also had this to say. "Step down, please. Let our memories of you and your service be good ones. Nobody will think less of you; in fact, we will respect you even more."

I told Grube his time is over. His council meetings are an embarrassment. I stated publicly what nearly everyone will concede privately.

Lehigh County's Unofficial Motto? "We're not Northampton County." One of LVDem's most recent posts? "Those Crazy Kids in Norco."

In yesterday's brief council meeting, two sets of minutes from earlier meetings needed approval. Grube was at a total loss on how that should be accomplished. When it became apparent that there were objections to one set of minutes, Grube had to be reminded constantly how he should conduct the votes. The person reminding him? Council VP Ann McHale. Her reward? Dismissal.
He doesn't take criticism well, even when it is tactful.

During a typical meeting, Grube is thin-skinned, intolerant, gets involved in regular shouting matches and is rude to the public. He skips over portions of the agenda, and has to be reminded that he missed an item. He will call for votes on ordinances that have just been introduced.

But what really disturbs me is that he is now letting himself be used to subvert both the Sunshine Act and Home Rule Charter. Wayne Grube, for all his flaws, at one time believed in good government. He stood against Michael Solomon, something that is not widely known. His action on council ended the bribery in Northampton County.

But that Wayne Grube is now letting himself be used to decide the public's business behind closed doors. He has been at the heart of Sunshine Act and Home Rule Charter violations. He has worked against the Democratic county executive's agenda, even when it involves open space. He no longer stands for good government. Instead, he is deciding the county's business in the dark, with the help of new council members who don't know a damn thing about the Home Rule Charter. That's why they were all embarrassed a few weeks ago. If they deliberated publicly, they might have learned their plan to invade the cash reserve was contrary to the Home Rule Charter.

And that's why Grube needs to go.

Anyone who thinks otherwise should do himself a favor and sit in on a council meeting.

Who can replace him? Actually, there's not a large field. The only qualified Democrat is the no-nonsense Ann McHale. The only qualified Republican is Rev. J. Michael Dowd, who actually appointed a citizen to his open space committee when he was council prez.



Bernie what if John Wayne Gacey becomes council President. he may have more time on his hands soon.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Spike, Ron has the intelligence and knoweldge of county issues. But there just is no way he can work with six Dems. In fact, he had trouble working with six Republicans.

McHale and Dowd are the best choices.

Anonymous said...

is mchale the wife of former rep mchale?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Ann McHale is married to TJ McHale, who owns and operates an insurance company in bethlehem. I understand that TJ is related to Paul.

Anonymous said...

wayne has always been a man of guts and integrity. it is truly sad if it has come to this.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 8:26, You're right. Grube always has had guts and integrity. And it is truly sad. He's now a vindictive loudmouth. Don't take my word for it. Do yourself a meeting and watch him handle a council meeting. You'll see what I mean.

Anonymous said...

Here is what I don't understand ... why did Ron "Wayne Gacey" Angle, the king of granstanding and talking out of both ends of his mouth, deride Grube and then vote for him as Council Prez? His (not your) argument against Mr. Grube appears to be BS and lacking the integrity of a vote "no" on the issue.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:18,

Angle has stated repeatedly, and in several public meetings, that Grube should not be presiding over council. He's said so in several meetings and did so again on Monday. But Angle himself stated they may as well make the vote by acclamation since his concerns would not persuade anyone to ask Grube to step down. He sure wasn't an enthusiastic supporter and I didn't hear him say yes. But I think Angle wants Grube to do this on his own.

And Angle went about as far as he could go w/o suffering serious consequences. He may have gone too far as it is. He chairs the Finance committee and he's been told he may not have that. That will hurt his district and taxpayers, who always benefit from someone who keeps an eye on how government spends its money.