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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Who's Running for Northampton County Exec?

In Northampton County, the county executive is the "chief executive and administrative offial of the County." Although John Stoffa is barely in his second year, sharks are already circling. Stoffa swims alone. So they sense weakness. Who are these sharks?

Ann McHale, the angel shark. This hard-working member of county council has a solid base in Bethlehem, the right last name, and has earned the respect of county employees over the years. But party bosses resent her independent streak, and she was deposed as council VP in January. It's unlikely she'd run against John Stoffa.

Rich Grucela, the tiger shark. Although serving his fifth term as state rep in Harrisburg, Rich originally comes from the ranks of local government. He presided over county council between 1987 and 1990. He told Stoffa in January he won't run against him. And he's done no fundraising. But if he changes his mind and decides to run, this popular and well-known house member will be tough to beat.

Ron Heckman, the silky shark. Currently doing a good job in Lehigh County with local municpalities, Heckman's previous gig was as Director of Human Services when Glenn Reibman was at the helm of a sinking ship in Northampton County. Most members of the Reibman administration shunned county council meetings, but Heckman attended every one. He clearly cares about the county. But having failed in his bid for Bethlehem City council, he must be having second thoughts.

Ron Angle, the hammerhead shark. Angle is a terrific hammerhead shark. I've never seen anyone, including the best litigators, question someone as effectively. He's the least educated member of county council, and is occasionally derided for his poor grammar. But he's easily the most brilliant of that bunch. He's a natural story teller, can exude charm when he wants and would run the county effectively. But Ron's fatal flaw is he has a tough time building coalitions. He gets divisive, even with his own party.

Joe Long, the sand shark. The rumor is there, and I hope it's true. Please run, Joe.

Glenn Reibman, the blind shark. Despite my harsh criticism of Reibman over the years, I've always considered him a gentleman. Reibman introduced diversity to an overwhelmingly white county government. But he was a slave to special interests. And his ill-considerd $111 megabond eventually resulted in layoffs, salary freezes, tax increases and pushed county workers into the arms of eleven different unions. I'm nevertheless sure he'd like a second crack at Stoffa. What might compel Glenn to run is what ruined him as a county executive. He's blind. He just does not see the damage his policies and administration have caused. He has no idea that he was wildly unpopular in his second term. He's already begun to spend money. He contributed $4,150 to candidates in the last reporting cycle, including Ron Heckman ($2,000), Lamont McClure ($1,000), Lisa Boscola ($350), $250 for Bill Leiner and Todd Buskirk, and $100 for Jeff Warren, Gordon Mowrer and Bob Donchez. He's also still sitting on a campaign treasury over $100,000.

John Cusick, the dogfish shark. Lurking in the reefs, Cusick has been an effective member of county council. But fellow Republicans distrust him. Perhaps he should have thought twice before trying to recruit another Republican to run against former council member Peg Ferarro. He's not ready.

Jolly Joe Timmer, the clown shark. OK, I made that one up.

John Stoffa, the great white. He swims alone. He keeps his own counsel. Those slighted by Reibman's embarrassment seek revenge. But I hear this strange and scary music. I think he's running.

73 comments:

Anonymous said...

Stoffa? a great white? hardly. lacks the decisiveeness of the great white. is there a shark that is more contemplative?

Bernie O'Hare said...

The sensitive great white?

Anonymous said...

Stoffa is the editorial writers' dream drone, a lap dog, a spineless sham who has accomplished nothing, and never will. Reibman would have won if had not run such an incompetent, bizarre campaign in which he in a phrase, blew it. Whether or not he would have beaten Nyce is indeed questionable. Any Democrat may have won in 2005 including Reibman.
I say let them all run which means Anne probably wins as the only woman. However, her claim as "independent" is belied by how she made it to council; by her slavish devotion to the courts who employ her daughter; by her siding with Angle on key votes; her inane pro-insurance company patronage to her fellow Saucon Valley Country Club member colleague; and by her utter lack of public policy acumen. But if not Reibman, I say Madame County Executive McHale is most likely.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon,

What "key votes" did McHale side with Angle on? The only "key vote" I can think of is the open space proposal that Stoffa pushed through council over the screams and hollering of Charles Dertinger and Lamont McClure, who failed to read the home rule charter.

I can think of many times, and on key matters, where McHale goes against Angle. Just as recently as May, she went against Angle on stocking the LVPC with insider Taggart.

She went against Angle nearly every time on that road to nowhwere in the slate belt. She has consistently voted to support the $111 million megabond.

So I don't think you've got that right at all. She just went against McClure and Dertinger on one key issue that was actually being pushed by the county exec, not Angle.

Now, as far as her daughter working for the judges is concerned, I did not know that. And that is a cause for concern. Grube's daughter worked for the judges, too. McClure's wife works for the DA.

Although these facts mean very little in and of themselves, it sure looks like cronyism. That needs to be addressed. But guess who chairs the county's law and order committee? McClure.

I'm surprised you don't mention Grucela in your analysis. I think if he announces, the race is probably over. I don't think anyone could beat him.

I'd still support Stoffa shoulld he choose to run. He's one local pol who did not rely on PACs or special interests to get elected. He's trying to do the right thing.

Anonymous said...

1) I feel better about Madame County Executive McHale. I thought she was more slaven to Angle. Blogmaster u have set me right! I feel better now...

2) Anne's daughter's position was not directly in the courts but under juvenile probation in which Moran and Onembo had a role in her hiring thus ensuring her loyalty.

3)Rich would make a great County Executive. However in a crowded male field, a woman wins. Rich is a better campaigner, will have tons of dough and policy acumen! I like the idea. It would be a fitting end to his cool career.

Stoffa is exactly what we dont need--someone utterly slaven to the editorial writers of our compromised media.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Am I detecting just a little sarcasm, dude????? :-)

There are some members of county council that Angle really likes. Believe it or not, he likes Grube.
But he adores McHale. She can stick a knife right into him (and does), and he'll just smile at her. I've never quite figured that one out. (And no, Im not suggesting anything funny here. Everyone knows Ron's only interested in four things - cigars, politics, money and Ron).

Now tell me what "key votes" she sided with Angle on and against the Democratic majority? I've heard this before but just don't see it. And I go to nearly every council meeting. She sides w/ Angle only rarely.

In fact, I'll lay odds right now that McClure has voted more often w/ Angle on key votes than McHale! When it comes to the budget or spending money, they usually come down on the same side.

I don't think there will be a crowded field. I'm listing possibles. I think if Grucela announces, everyone backs off. But if that does not happen, you're right.

But give me about 10 "key votes" and I'll actually check it out. I don't think you'll see McHale siding w/ Angle all that much. If I'm wrong, I'll bow to your obciously superior wisdom and will immediately hurl myself off the cvourthouse roof or start covering Lehigh County, whichever you prefer.

Anonymous said...

??? slaven to the editorial writers of our compromised media ???

Anonymous said...

1) Okay a little sarcastic. However, i do recall her distance during the bond and other Reibman issues he pushed. I actually am glad to know she is not an angle-phile. Furthermore, I like her alot personally and her husband Tom who bashes st.paul of mchale

2)Will Rich run against Stoffa in a primary?

3)last anon writer--slaven indeed. The only issue he dissented fromt them would be eco devo. He is craven for their approval, the lowest form of leader--a non leader with power. Compromised, as blogmaster says "c'mon dude" this media's editoral writers have not one ounce of integrity. None.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Will Rich run against Stoffa in a primary?

That is the million dollar question. Grucela told me late last year that several people had asked him to run. He was naturally flattered, and would like to finish his career with the county, but had not made up his mind.

He told Stoffa he would not oppose him should Stoffa seek a second term. And he's donme no fundraising. But in the world of politics, people often change their minds.

If Rich runs against Stoffa, I'd still support John. I don't think John is a slave to anyone. He's his own man. That's his strength. But that's also eakness. He swims alone, and has no party apparatus and few allies to lean on.

I support John because he stands for good government. Unfortunately, folks like me don't win elections. But I'll still stand with John, even against Rich.

Anonymous said...

Would Anne run against Stoffa in primary? And what would her issue be? It is hard to run against any incumbent including status quo stoffa if there is no compelling reason for change.

Sounds like Rich passes and waits to 2013.

Good government--good grief! Government running on idle, for the courts, by the courts and when we are in the midst of the most transformative period of Lehigh Valley history since the turn of the 19th into 20th century...I prefer progressive government which is good.

Bernie O'Hare said...

First, Stoffa is a slave to Joew Owens. Now, he's a slave to Judge Moran. That will be news to all three.

Your impression is inaccurate. Stoffa has resisted government by the judges at every turn. And they resent it. He just hasn't been public about it.

Too much class.

Let me give you one little example. Sheriff Hawbecker was all set to retire, and Stoffa would name his successor, along with the judges. But the judges despise Stoffa so much they convinced Hawbecker to delay his retirement.

Those huys hate Stoffa precisely because he stands for good government and is ending some of their excesses.

Anonymous said...

U keep making my day.

Will Mchale run against Stoffa? Why? And why is Stoffa not seeking another turn or is he too "undecided"

If he does not run, McHale wins.

A slave to Joe Owens is worse than the lowest bowels of hell...not even Stoffa deserves such a fate.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I aim to please!

Actually, I'm one of Joe Owens' slaves. It's not so bad. He buys me a kids' sized Rita's Italian Ice once every week. Citrus blast, bippy!

I don't think a county exec announces his intentions 1 1/2 years into his term. Even a decisive county exec.

As far as McHale is concerned, what motivates anyone to run for office? If you're suggesting she'd be a pawn for the judges, I'd say they pretty much all have rolled over for the judges. Except Stoffa. And a director of admin who once told a judge to go f*^&% himself.

BethlehemDem said...

Bernie,

Do you think that Ron Heckman's disappointing showing in the Bethlehem City Council race have more to do with Ron being supported by Callahan and Cunningham, or more to do with Ron running a bad campaign?

I think Callahan and Cunningham's support did not do as much as Ron (or Don and John) thought it would. I also think Ron may have miscalculated the number of votes their support would get him.

Ron is a great guy and has the experience to be a really good executive. If Stoffa decides not to run, I would hope Ron would.

Anonymous said...

endorsements are largely irrelevent. Heckman lost neither because or in spite of Callahan's and Cunningham's backing.

and in case you were wondering B, it didn't get cold in here till just now.

Anonymous said...

Everyone has their reason to run mostly ego. However, to win against an incumbent requires a reason to ask voters for change. Hence, ur insight into what that issue would be may prove interesting.

Gene Hartzell, Jerry Seyfried, Bill Brackbill and Glenn Reibman all knew they were running for re-election. All, including the worse-Brackbill-were far more decisive than Stoffa by your criteria.

Ah, Mr. Hickey's sometimes eloquence is sorely missed.

Detente is possible with the Judges but must come from a position of strength, not weakness.

I really hope you do not schmooze with the likes of an ignorant, pompous, self-important load like owens...you deserve a better slave master.

btw, why is this blog stuff so addictive?

alexis de tocqueville said...

I fail to see any material difference between the Stoffa administration and the Reibman administration. Stoffa gets to blame current problems on Reibman, but he's also talking about his own bonds and tax increases. Stoffa's administration is simply more of the same in a less pugnacious package.

These politicians certainly ARE sharks. But Northampton County voters are most assuredly suckers.

Tom Foolery said...

Anne McHale is running no matter who runs..Grucela has no lock on anything. he is not a sure thing in Bethlehem where no one knows him.. Heckman definitely lost votes by being aligned with Don and John for reasons too lengthy to mention here. He has always pulled well County wide and would do so again. Stoffa is the only question mark here..No one knows whether he'll run again but if he does he will have, at the very least, Anne Mchale to contend with. After the primary he might be looking at Nyce or Ferraro. Both will be formidible..More so Ferraro..

BethlehemDem said...

Anon 2:17, sorry if thought my comment was "cold." I did not mean anything negative.

I like Ron Heckman, thought he did a great job on county council. I heard him at some of candidate forums this spring and thought he had great ideas for City Council. However, something did not translate into votes for him. That is all I was asking.

With his experience, I think he would make a great county executive. I would support him.

Tom Foolery said...

I didn't think it was cold. I also agree with you about heckman. It is just that bethlehem politics is a funny egg. There are two camps. the Schweder (old guard) camp and the Callahan( new guard) camp. If you are endorsed by one or the other you are doomed to lose the supporters on the other side. Grubb and Szabo lost because they are strong Schweder supporters and Ron was hurt by the fact that he was endorsed by Callahan and Cunningham. His loss here should not hurt him in a County run because the Schweder camp could care less about him getting elected to a county seat..

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 2:17, I thought I felt a cold chill earlier, but that other anon was far too nice to me, and failed to seize on my offer to jump off the courthouse roof.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Folks, the reference top a cold breeze or to it being cold in here is not a shot at any of you. It's just one anon's way of letting me know who he is.

Bernie O'Hare said...

These politicians certainly ARE sharks. But Northampton County voters are most assuredly suckers.

Dem's fightin' words, Frenchie!

I think we could have done far worse.

Anonymous said...

As a county employee not living in Easton I was sorry to see Panto announce his candidacy for Easton Mayor although I think Easton really really needs his leadership, management and people skills -- all the things I was hoping he would bring to the County Executive. I know he will do well for Easton.
I was ecstatic last Feburary to learn that Stoffa was going to hire him as the Director of Administration. John's loss, and the County too.
I also know that many Dems asked him to run against Reibman but he declined.
The County continues to lag behind Lehigh County and the only names cloating to the top that were mentioned here aren't floating to the top because they are the cream. Northampton County needs someone from the outside to completely re-evaluate the way the County is managed and operated.

BethlehemDem said...

Tom, thanks. I agree with what you said. Also, I am glad you think there are two camps in Bethlehem. I put a post on my blog about that and Bernie commented that LVDem thinks there is a 3rd camp. I am still trying to figure that one out.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I really hope you do not schmooze with the likes of an ignorant, pompous, self-important load like owens...you deserve a better slave master.

btw, why is this blog stuff so addictive?


I like Joe! He's very nice to me. Last night he took me to McDonald's playland.

And I insert subliminal messages in my posts to addict you. Severson gave them to me.

Bernie O'Hare said...

BethDEM, I'll let LVDem give you his theory himself. He can state it better than I.

But I think he has a separate category for Samuelson, Reynolds, etc.

Tom Foolery said...

Renolds certainly benefitted from his Samuelson ties and the Samuelson organization but he was also supported by Callahan's group. Aside from that he worked very hard to get elected. That helps. If there is a third group in Bethlehem they are unknown to me. There are very few who are tied to neither Schweder or Callahan in some way. If they are not , they have a hard time raising money as did Arcelay..

Anonymous said...

I worked for Heckman and he always treated me well. I felt he cared about the people in his dept. and the people we served. He knew enough about the Dept. to not be intimadated by the Directors or the Court. I know he was agitated by the Judges but he never said too much about it. He did say both he and Jerry Seyfried argued against the pay freeze. I bumped into him after the Bethlehem race and he didn't blame anyone for his loss, in fact he complimented Callahan and Cunningham for their support. He said it was just how things happen and went on to praise Reynolds. I don't know if he is running for Executive but he always struck me as a smart and classey guy. That alone may disqualify him from running.

Even Steven

Bernie O'Hare said...

Even Steven,

I'm happy you posted. Anon 4:08 claims the "only names floating to the top that were mentioned here aren't floating to the top because they are the cream." After that shot, I'm glad you stopped by to share your own perspective about Heckman.

You see, some of these folks really are very good people. Heckman is one of them. He always gave me the impression he really cared about his job, too. He's always been fairly even-tempered, and I say this as someone who was very provoked by one of his LTEs during the Reibman era.

My sense is that his heart was never in that race for city council. It must be tough for anyone to go through the process of running for office.

Most of the people I name here as possible contenders really are class acts. Anon 4:08, maybe we could do better by looking elsewhere, as you suggest. But I wouldn't insult this crew.

Bernie O'Hare said...

To those who slam Stoffa:

I'm a title searcher. I sometimes do work for an agency across the street from the courthouse. As I walked in that office one day, the owner of that small business was fuming.

"What's up?" I asked.

"I get really annoyed," he answers.

"You're going to have to be a bit more specific," I say.

"Well, let me tell you. I see construction workers, lawyers, cops and everyone else just park their cars whewrtever they want. They all have signs or handicapped stickers to allow them to do what they want.

"And then I see that old man walking up the hill, and he's usually carrying things.

"Not a single person does anything to help him."


The old man in question is John Stoffa. His example has already been followed by Sheriff Hawbecker, who parks his car in the lot farthest from the courthouse. Perhaps others will follow Stoffa's lead. Perhaps not. But folks, that is leadership.

Dick Benner said it best a few months ago. "People have to understand you're there to help them." That's what Stoffa brings to the table. Some of these others do so as well, all in their own way.

Anonymous said...

B.
I'm dissapointed! Your left out the rotten bastard shark...Mike Fleck, although i hear he is considering a run for gov. I want my money back!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon,

I'll have my new bookeeper, Mike Fleck, send it out to you. He's going to manage by campaign to be 5th most influential blog in Nazareth.

Anonymous said...

Here are my picks of candidates that noone will beat.

Bob Freeman
Rich Grucela
Sal Panto

I would love to see any of those three run.

Anonymous said...

I have a question Bernie, did Stoffa give the guy the $20 he promised him for that testimonial. I heard Stoffa threw a silver dollar across the County, killed a bear when he was three, turned water into wine and bench pressed a cop car. Its a bit early on the Executive front but I agree with Tom F. McHale is running no matter what. I don't think Stoffa will per his Ferraro support in 05. But it would be his M.O. to throw her under the bus, it wouldn't be the first time, he's known for that. Why does the press love him- no loyalty. Bernie going it alone may be fashionable in western movies but this isn't Hollywood and Stoffa's no Shane. You need a good team and trust in each other to accomplish things in Govt. It's not a damn religious order. To those who talk of who is unbeatable remeber Jerry Seyfried was a sure thing agaist who was that guy -the write in. Reibman's ego was so great he was as you said Bernie blind to the fact he should not have run. He was a sitting duck for anybody. McHale should have gone then. She would be Executive today. Timing is important, she may have waited one cycle to many. Stoffa like Brackbill was the recipient of an inept campaign. At least Brackbill led.
If they all throw in its anybodies guess who would get the nomination. Of course whoever gets it faces Ferraro in 09 and I predict she wins. McHales woman advantage will disappear in that race. Rich, Ron, Ann, John it would be wild I hope they all run. Oh and also Joe Long.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Freeman supposed to be our State Senator? Oh yea that Ulianna guy gave Dem.s a taste of reality versus idol worship. He can die in his seat, hes unbeatable in Easton. No way he goes except for Easton Mayor in the future.
Hopefully, whoever goes does for love of County and not as some prize.

Anonymous said...

annon 10:22

?

Anonymous said...

who is ulianna?

Anonymous said...

I'm not familiar with these folks, new to area. Whats their background,experience and so forth. I read Bernies intro but I was wondering if there is more to know considering the latest Lisa Boscola blowup and the need for qualified leadership in the County.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 10:16,

I understand you don't like Stoffa. And his strength is his weakness - he needs allies.

But I really admire him and most of his cabinet selections. Hillanbrand? The epitome of a public servant. Maziotti? Perfect, with a desire to save taxpayer money. Conklin? He really helped with elections office issues. Steve DeSalva? We were lucky to steal him from Bethlehem, and he has reduced cost overruns at the courthouse. Longenbach? A terrific legal mind.

It's a very good cabinet (with one exception) and they are starting to click.

But Stoffa has no political allies. Instead of using someone like Hickey to hammer out council policies, he has been very deferntial to them and they perceive it as weakness.

But it's a big mistake to underestimate anyone and Stoffa is no exception to that rule.

McHale told me she won't run against Stoffa, just as she refused to oppose Reibman. I think her natural inclination is to defer to the incumbent, but might be wrong.

I threw Ron out there but he won't really run. But I hope the rest of them do and that the best person wins. That's democracy.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 10:25,

Joe Uliana is a former state senator who now works as a lobbyist. He was quite influential in a bond swaption in Bethlehem that proved quite controversial.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 10:32,

All I can say to you is to read the newspapers and check out the local blogs. More important than the blogs themselves are the comments.

I'm amazed by how many people are really in touch with what is going on, and they all have different perspectives. I can only offer my own, but the commenters here often have some very salient observations that humble me. Those include the ones made today.

It won't take long to get up to speed on these characters. I like the local politics more because I feel that is where we can be most effective on an individual level.

It's very encouraging that you take an interest.

Anonymous said...

Grucela should run and Stoffa wouldn't be our county exec if Panto would have ran in 05.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Well, Panto will have his hands full in Easton, and they are lucky to have him.

Rich Grucela would be a good county exec. I like Stoffa more but no one will dispute that Grucela would be a formidable candidate.

Tom Foolery said...

Two things before I go to bed. Definitely heard that McHALE will run either way and also heard that Heckman is seriously going also. Only time will tell. However, I was right about Sam Bennett and got a pop tart, right? Good night, Bernie..

Anonymous said...

Rich is a great guy and I'm sure he would at least regulate the energy consumption at the courthouse. What is Stoffa thinking leaving all of those lights on at night. The building is ugly....why show it off. It sounds stupid but thats why he won't get my vote.
Does Sal have an opponent in Easton?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Tom Foolery,

I owe you a pop tart with frosting, too.

Bernie O'Hare said...

What is Stoffa thinking leaving all of those lights on at night. The building is ugly....why show it off. It sounds stupid but thats why he won't get my vote.

That's a good question. I'll ask it and will get an answer for you. The county did sign on to the Kyoto protocol, so it's actually a very good question.

Anonymous said...

Stoffa should already be asking that question. Monkeys would be flying out of asses and Bernies would be flying off of roofs if Hickey were there.

Bernie O'Hare said...

1) Maybe he has, and maybe he has an answer. I'll find out.

2) I've already suffered enough concussions from that bastard, who claims he's immune. He says it's in a book somewhere.

Anonymous said...

security is a bs answer.

Anonymous said...

Annon 10:51

Panto is running against Gary Berch. Don't know him. Maybe Bernie does?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Gary Bertsch was, until recently, an absentee landlord hailing from NJ. He seems like a nice guy. He has no prayer.

Anonymous said...

I heard Hickey is on Sal's team now?

Mr. Grucela would make an excellent exec. The slate belt may then get the attention it needs.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, nothing Severson does would addict me or anyone else. Who does he work for in the 2009 race? They will loose!

So, anne does run or doesnt run if stoffa seeks re-election?

Why would Stoff NOT run? Does he have personal issues ala health?

Heckman should never have run for city council. It was a bad move with no upside. Heckman can win county wide. and beat any republican

alexis de tocqueville said...

Bernie,

I'll carry Stoffa and his belongings up Seventh Street if he'll promise to stop trying to separate me from my tax dollars.

He may be a nice guy, personally, but politically, he's bad for Northampton County. Very bad.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 10:57,

I can only go by what they tell me. Ann has told me she would not run against Stoffa. Rich Grucela has also said much the same thing.

But I don't consider their statements to me to be carved in granite, and they could change their minds over time.

I think Stoffa will run again.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 10:51,

all lights at ALL COUNTY FACILITIES are either on a timer or a photo cell. the new addition on washington st. is controlled thru a computer terminal behind the switchboard operators. lights are programmed to come on ½ hour before sunset and shut off ½ hour after sunrise. lights go back to minmum coverage after 10:30 p.m. seven days a week.

Anonymous said...

I heard Hickey is helping Grucella for Executive.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's interesting, especially since Grucela has not yet made up his mind. I heard he's working for Joe Long.

Anonymous said...

How can Hickey be helping Grucela, unless Rich knows Stoffa isnt running.

Bernie, why would Stoffa not run? Is it a health issue or just not the job he thought it would be?

Anonymous said...

I spoke to a friend of Heckman's about the Bethlehem race. He said he worked his backside off going door to door everynight and weekends. I got the impression Heckman was pissed that some thought he layed back in the race. This person did tell me Heckman enjoyed public office and loves NC, I got the impression since he missed out on Beth Council he is definitly going for Exexcutive regardless of who runs. Just a rumor, to add to the rest.

Anonymous said...

Someone is a hero because they give up a parking space. Please spare me. If you really want to know what kind of a hero (not) John Stoffa is do yourselves a favor - TALK TO THE COUNTY EMPLOYEES! He is not like at all! The only thing he can do is appoint a committee to research whatever it is that seems to be wrong. Bernie get your head out of Stoffa's butt.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 11:01,

I do talk to county employees and hear both bad and good. Morale was pretty bad when Stoffa took over. Once things reach a certain point, it's hard to get some people back. Also, many employees just don't seem to know how bad things were when Stoffa took over. Very few go to meetings, where they can see the real problems firsthand.

My own view is that, when Stoffa gave up his reserved parking spot, he was sending an important message to county employees, telling them he's no better than them, and also telling them he'd give up a "reserved" spot if it made things a little easier for the public.

Many county employees share my opinion of Stoffa. And even more of the taxpayers feel that way. That's something that may have slipped past you. He's not working for you. He's working for them. Come to think of it, so are you.

Stoffa has started a new employee classification study, something that is long overdue. Most employees just aren't making the right wage. That has to be fixed. Stoffa has claimed that is his top priority this year, and you respond by kicking him in the teeth? Instead of hurting the dude, why don't you start trying to help him?

Dick Benner put it best. When asked about the elections office, he said, "People have to understand you're there to help them." That applies everywhere. That's a message Stoffa gets. That's why he forms committees, to try to improve things. That's the attitude I saw in people like Al Marhefka, Gene Hartzell, Maurice Dimmick, and many others.

A lot of people coming off the street into the courthouse don't get that feeling anymore. When Stoffa joked he gets lost in the bathroom, he was reflecting the exasperation of many citizens who use the new courthouse. Instead of trashing him, try to understand what he's saying. You might learn something.

Anonymous said...

For the last twenty years at the end of someone's term you will hear some folks say 'morale is the worst it's ever been'. I heard it for all the executives and you will hear it for this one too. Some people always moaning and yes even fellow employees. So now you tell them 'they don't knw how bad it was" and I thought Reibman was arrogant.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Do you want me to lie to you? It's the truth. Very few people, including most of the employees, knew just how bad things were. You could get a glimpse by going to county council meetings, but I don't see more than a small handful doing that. When I point that out, that makes me arrogant?

Like I said, why don't you try and help the dude instead of taking shots at everyone who doesn't agree with you, whether it's me or Stoffa? Even I did that. Before I'd take a shot at Reibman, I'd try to point out the problem. You even sneer at his decison not to accept a reserved parking spot. How nice. I'm sure taxpayers will agree completely with you. Oh I forgot, Stoffa's evil. There's real arrogance.

Anonymous said...

we all know stoffas your hero bernie. he doesn't walk up that hill to set an example he does it because he thought someone would flatten his tires . by the way he doesn't park there everyday. if thats showing leadership to you,well then i don't undestand you quibble with everyone else but him' when he does nothing ,he forms commitees because he can't make his own decisions .unless f cdouse your whispring in his ear. it really is sad that the only you have to point to is john stoffa walks up the hill maybe he likes the exercize.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I had to laugh when I read your comment.

Yes, I like Stoffa. More importantly, I respect him. He is an anti-politician. He does what he thinks is right, not what might get him elected.

Party pols just hate that, and so do some people who are used to the "pay to play" game.

I don't agree with his every move, but know his intentions are always honorable. As for his penchant for forming committees, I dislike them, too. But guess what? His opponents on council are quite good at referring things to committees that never meet at all.

Take a look at Lamont McClure. Legal advice from council's own lawyer was referred to one of his committees over 6 weeks ago, after council decided to disregard that advice and ignore their own solicitor. It still has not met to consider their lawyer's opinion.

When Stoffa forms a committee, they at least go to work.

Anonymous said...

BERNIE , i honestly like you and respect you. when it comes to stoffa you see him threw rose colored glasses. lets admit he is not the best county exe. we've ever had he doesn't walk on water for heavens sake bernie. i think he has done some really mean ,nasty things. do you remember PAT the BLIND WOMAN with a few short years left to retire . do you remeber how he treated her? he promised her according to her that she could remain in the cafertria working after 20 some years he FIRED HER!!!!! how cruel can one person be. that bothers me more than you could ever know. i think of her often left not knowing what she would do now for a living. even ron angle had a hard time with that decision. did it bother you? just remember what it is that define a person. KINDNESS THOUGHTFULLNESS CONSIDERATION for fellow human beings goes an awfully long way. i'm sorry there was no reason on gods earth for his breaking her heart and her spirit. he had no problem making a decision then after all she was defenseless now wasn't she.i'm glad i make you laugh sometimes you to make me laugh take care bernie always respectful.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 12:40,

I remember Pat. And I also remember Rick, a very nice guy who worked with her.

Now the cafeteria had to be closed to make way for that goofy tunnel. Those wheels were set in motion long before Stoffa arrived.

But when I heard that Stoffa had decided not to keep Pat on board, I decided to ask him what was going on. Now mind you, this was a long time ago, when the rumors were first swirling.

I called and asked to see Stoffa, and Tom Castellano came w/ me so that I'd have some credibility.

Stoffa told us there had been many complaints about Pat and the food quality in the cafeteria. Now you and I both know her food wasn't always the best, even if she is a nice person. I don't know where the complaints came from, and didn't think to ask. In hindsight, I should have asked that question.

Stoffa told us that he had Pat and her husband in his office several times, and that he told her that he'd like her to improve things a bit. Pat would agree, but nothing would change. "It was like talking toi a wall," are his exact words. As indicated, he had several meetings with both pat and her husband, making suggestions, etc. None were ever implemented.

He told me then that he had decided to bid the cafeteria services out. He told me that Pat was free to fill out an RFP, and that he would help her. He also told me that if Pat didn't want to do that, he would make it a condition of any new RFP that Pat would have to be offered employment there if she wanted to stay.

I was satisfied by what Stoffa told me and left. It looked like he went the extra mile for her. I never spoke to Pat about my meeting. I don't know whether she wanted to stay with the county under those circumstances.

From what I know, I think Stoffa was trying to help her.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Those political cartoons by Thomas Nast brought Boss Tweed to his knees. The power of the press.

Anonymous said...

i will agree her food wasn't always the best but you could say that about anyplace. i don't doubt there were some complaints. somehow i don't belive if stoffa spoke to her about improvements she didn't try. that job was her life and nothing was more important to her. i saw her tears her disappointment. his decision to oust her was such a huge diappointment to me, at that point he lost all crediablity with me. i was sick i voted for such an individual. he came out of reirement and in doing so incresed his own pension dramatically im sure. good for him. but what about people like pat ,like rick. it was cruel treatment of a blind woman is still my opioion. leading as you claim he does would of been keeping her on helping her' guiding her with the complaints. whatever those where i'm sure they could've been resolved. she was so willing to please. she also had a budget to work within what improvements did stoffa want to see happen? what assitance if any was even offered to her. all i know for certian was that JOHN STOFFA single handedly crushed pat broke her spirit and left her twist in the wind. my belief is john stoffa wanted pat out and susans in period. take care bernie

Anonymous said...

i will agree her food wasn't always the best but you could say that about anyplace. i don't doubt there were some complaints. somehow i don't belive if stoffa spoke to her about improvements she didn't try. that job was her life and nothing was more important to her. i saw her tears her disappointment. his decision to oust her was such a huge diappointment to me, at that point he lost all crediablity with me. i was sick i voted for such an individual. he came out of reirement and in doing so incresed his own pension dramatically im sure. good for him. but what about people like pat ,like rick. it was cruel treatment of a blind woman is still my opioion. leading as you claim he does would of been keeping her on helping her' guiding her with the complaints. whatever those where i'm sure they could've been resolved. she was so willing to please. she also had a budget to work within what improvements did stoffa want to see happen? what assitance if any was even offered to her. all i know for certian was that JOHN STOFFA single handedly crushed pat broke her spirit and left her twist in the wind. my belief is john stoffa wanted pat out and susans in period. take care bernie