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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, July 02, 2007

Angle Fires a Shot Across Norco Council's Bow

"I'm asking them to do what's right. ... We've got to do what's right for the taxpayers."

That's how Northampton County Councilman Ron Angle justifies today's lawsuit against Northampton County Council in a statement to Express Times reporter Sarah Cassi.

He's suing over county council's incredible refusal to permit the Stoffa administration to rebid the county's information technology services. Because of some technical defects in the two low bids, the county is now stuck with a single $10 million proposal, and is legally unable to negotiate lower bids.

Council refuses to allow Stoffa to start the bidding process over.

It makes no difference to council that all three bidders are willing to submit new proposals, or that there's a $1.5 million difference between the lowest bid and that $10 million proposal. Fiscal Affairs Director Vic Mazziotti, who points out that new bids would come in lower, is being ignored.

County council's justification? They don't want to penalize a poor bidder who does everything right. But their obligation is to the taxpayer, and Angle claims council has abused its fiduciary responsibility to them.

Something about council's explanation rings very hollow. They've already permitted bid rejections twice this year without incident. But this time, when the amounts are so high, they refuse? Even though it may cost taxpayers $1.5 million? Council members McClure, Dertinger and Neiper may have managed to inject partisan politics into the bidding process, where it has no place. I'll have more about that tomorrow.

McClure has already laughed at the idea of Angle suing to try to save taxpayers a few bucks. "He is in court more than I am," asbestos lawyer McClure sneered to Morning Call reporter Joe Nixon.

President Judge Freedberg isn't laughing. He's already scheduled a hearing on Angle's claim for this Friday at 1:30 P.M., which is highly unusal. You can read Ron's complaint here.


Blah Society said...

Though at first I wasn't the biggest Angle fan, I'm happy of what he's doing. I'm beginning to gain respect for the man. He's the last person I would have expected to stick up for the taxpayers, but I'm glad he is!

Anonymous said...


If a.j. cordi attended Northampton County Council meetings as regularly as you and I (or at least I did before my April 2006 cancer diagnosis, from which I'm still recovering), he, or she, would know that no member of council represents the taxpayers' interests as doggedly as Ron Angle.

And though Ron's a millionaire many times over, unlike many penny-pinching others of that economic class, he's willing to put his money where his mouth is by hiring a lawyer nnd going to court on behalf of the taxpayers and the public weal generally.

Were this not true, persons like you and I who politically are well to the left of center compared to Ron would not respect him.

What the public generally does not know is that his council colleagues, including Republicans, often deny Ron's motions a second, thereby invoking a kind of cloture by cutting off debate.

One reason for this strategy, of course, is to avoid having their votes officially recorded in the minutes of the meetings.

Anonymous said...

11:45 PM and only 1 post?

Is everyone on vacation?

Or only stealing time during their day @ work?

Oh, and Billy never counts.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Billy doesn't count? He's been very good lately.

The three posts concerning council's refusal to reject bids have drawn 63 comments thus far.

Council has few defenders.

Blah Society said...

Bernie - Council shouldn't have any defenders in this matter! It's pure thievery!

Billy - You're right. But unfortunately, I (aka: he) don't have the oppertunity to attend meetings on any basis. But I can tell through this $1.5 million circus that he is obviously the only one willing to do more than push papers. I'm glad he's on our side.