About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

John Stoffa's Meatloaf Cabinet

For a guy who's saved Northampton County so much money, he's really modest, almost shy. Every time I see him, he just starts running away. On Monday, he literally dropped his lunch when he saw me and ran for an elevator. He must be one of those guys with an irrational fear of people.

I speak of Vic Mazziotti, Northampton County's Director of Fiscal Affairs, professional bean counter. He saved the county a half mil soon after he came on board over its IT contract. He advised the county to rebid a second IT contract, which saved another $1.8 million.

He's at it again. Yesterday, he told county council's operations committee about a phone study he recently had performed. The net result is a savings of $22 thousand per month for exactly the same service currently enjoyed by the county. In addition, the county is eligible for $47 thousand credit for over billed service. If his plan (which consists of three separate contracts) is approved by the full county council, it will save Northampton County $311 thousand over the course of one year.

Vic Mazziotti, all by himself, is worth about one mil in county taxes. That's about how much he has saved taxpayers since his arrival each year. But no trumpet has heralded that simple fact.

In fact, Morning Call columnist extraordinaire Bill White claims John Stoffa's cabinet is "as glitzy as meatloaf, and largely invisible." And get this? They actually loved that name. Really! That's pretty much how they view their jobs.

Instead of the Machiavellian interest you usually find in local politicos, Stoffa's cabinet is more interested in doing its job. Every cabinet member attends every council meeting, a sign of respect not often reciprocated by council members, especially Charles Dertinger. Fiscal Affairs Director Mazziotti saves money while actually increasing services. Director of Administration John Conklin, against all odds, was able to have a very thorough examination of voting machines conducted within a span of days. Bill Hillanbrand has quietly restored confidence in an office rocked by an embezzlement scandal. Steve DeSalva cut cost overruns in half and finally eliminated courthouse dust. Karl Longenbach, the county's solicitor, should really be on the bench. He has kept his client out of court as much as humanly possible, the best evidence of a good lawyer.

Right now, meatloaf is just what the county needs.

Meatloaf is always better the second day.


Anonymous said...

MMMm. Meatloaf. Mmmmmm Good!

Anonymous said...

and Reibman's entre' would have been shards of broken glass?

Bernie O'Hare said...

No. Reibman had a pretty good cabinet, for the most part, and for what was going on at the time. I do wish Hickey had not thrown me off the courthouse roof so often. I'm now suffering brain damage. Ron Heckman was very professional and attended every councl meeting, even after Reibman stopped going. Boscola has something of a bad rap because he's married to a state senator, but was very qualified as county engineer. Drew Lewis brought diversity and business acumen. Different people for different times.

Anonymous said...

Now don't be sad, cause 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Anonymous said...

I think Stoffa's reputation for openness and honesty is not necessarily warranted ? For instance, I don't think he is a pure on environmentally sensitive open space as he pretends ?

JohnnyDem said...

"For instance, I don't think he is a pure on environmentally sensitive open space as he pretends ?"
Stoffa is organic!

Anonymous said...

Stoffa is Organic???
While his cabinet is saving the county money he raises our taxes to pay for his open space plan... then while no one is looking he carves off a piece of his environmentally sensitive land from his farm and tries to sell it for a profit using a real estate agent he just reappointed to the assessment board who was also a campaign contribitor. Stoffa has Reibman beat hands down! Reibman may have perfected pay to play but at least he didn't try to sell his swamp land for 139k. Bernie check it out, your some kind of title searcher. But please don't give us some excuse for Stoffa's hypocrisy. and just to make it easy check with Miklas realty.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thanbk you for giving me some facts instead of some vague accusation, which is what I usually get. I'll check it out and post what I learn.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 8:05

Didn't the voters of the county okay a tax increase for open space in a referendum themselves?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 10:11,

I think this question is directed at Stoffa's personal property. The allegation is that Stoffa is selling "environmentally sensitive land" on his farm and is actually trying to earn a profit. Not only that, he's using a real estate agent who contributed to his campaign and who may be a member of the assessment board. Since there is no assessment board, I assume he means the revenue appeals board. I will ask Stoffa.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Stoffa have a farm that he sold to a builder for development before he owned this property ?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I don't believe there is any truth to that at all.

Anonymous said...

Did Stoffa appoint a campaign contributor to Revenue Appeals ?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I believe I've already told you I don't know whether or not that is true. I don't know whether or not he sold farm land to be developed. I don't know whether his realtor is a campaign contributor. I don't know whether he is attempting to sell a portion of his farm now. If he is, I don't know whether or not that is something I would consider unethical. As I indicated, I will get the answers to these questions and will post them. I consider Stoffa a man of integrity and doubt seriously that he's involved in anything remotely unethical or illegal. But I will get the answers and post them, even if I don't like what I find.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I've just learned these allegations are pretty much spurious, and will post about it on Friday.

Anonymous said...

Before you cantonize Mr. Stoffa and his bunch let me tell the real deal.As far as the phones they don't work nearly as well as the ones we had before. If fact I have be blessed to receive one of them. The service is awful.All it does is drop calls,sounds like your under water,and generally not work. If fact not all department have had to give up the Nextel for these paper weights. If they worked as well as the other phone did no problems, but in our department the nextel are used by other outside agencies who have not and probaly will not change. So don't sugar coat how wonderful Mr, Stoffa and his merry band are making life in Northampton County.

The Grundshow said...

The question is, is Stoffa selling land across the street from his house, that he separated from the original deed, or not? Is he using Miklas as his realtor or not? Is Miklas on the revenue appeals board or not? Did Miklas give to Stoffa's campaign or not? Is the land that Stoffa is selling in a flood plan or not? If it is, is this an environmental friendly Stoffa or a man trying to make a buck off the county? I have many more so called spurious questions, but I know you will never answer them Bernie, because you espouse Stoffa as the next coming of Christ. Maybe the MSM can check this out, or are they Stoffa disciples , also.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Don't worry. I'll have a detailed response to your charges on Friday. You make a slime attack at 8 PM last night and are now complaining that 12 hours later, you don't see a major story accompanied by a picture of Stoffa with a noose around his neck? That alone tells me you're an unfair and very bitter person. Also, I'd like to be able to bill you for my time searching the real estate records at the courthouse. Where do I send my bill?

Bernie O'Hare said...

So far as I know, Stoffa and his merry band replaced no phone system throughout the courthouse. I have not seen that. What department are you talking about? I'd like to see this problem myself.

What I did not write in my post is that the new contracts are with exactly the same companies. It's supposedly the same services as before, too.

What I also failed to note is that one of the contracts must be approved by council. If the service is terrible, as you say, the contract should not be approved until the problem is solved. You should identify the department where this is occurring so that it can be addressed. If it is some systemic problem, it needs to be solved. You can name the department here without anyone being any the wiser, and I'll forward your complaint. You could also call Mazziotti's office and tell him. He's a decent man and i don't think you need fear any retributions. These guys just want to get it right.

The study was based on how the county gets billed.

Anonymous said...

I love how these jokers have to make stuff up about Stoffa. Sounds to me like some disgruntled pay-to-play Dems at work.

From the party chair right through much of the Applegate/Daday good ole boy network, the Dem "power brokers" in this county ought to be ashamed of themselves.

I know I'm ashamed of them.

Anonymous said...

It's nice to see no one has anything better to do in their lives than sit on their computers complaining than doing something constructive. Grow up and get lives. No one wants to hear your bellyaching. I'm sure you don't sleep in a bed of roses.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like some of the Stoffa Committee people don't want the light of disclosure on Stoffa like every other Pol.
There are more people than you think at the County who have noticed the double standard.
If anyone else had formed a committee made up of his campaign chairman, biggest $$ donor and the former Republiican Exec. Candidate who supported him in the election, everyone even BO would have been wild but as we have learned it was Stoffa so it wasn't a mugging but someone helping you by relieveing the weight of your wallet.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Now we're talking about something else. I think you need to visit your doctor and renew a few prescriptions because you sound nuts. Stoffa did form a commmittee that was advisory only - a citizens' committee with absolutely no power. It was asked to undertake a very difficult task - make recommendations to improve our elections. As Stoffa said at the time, "Our elections have been like watching elephants give birth."

Included on this committee was Russ Shade, who had worked Stoffa's campaign for little or no money and whose job was over and who was seeking no county employment. Another member was Dick Benner, a Democratic voting registrar for many years. A third member was former congressional candidate Greta Browne, a Green party member who certainly has no interest at all in the machinations of county politics. A fourth member was Republican Peg Ferraro, a former council member and former exec candidate who resigned before she announced she was seeking office again. The final member was Republican Jack Bradt, a captain of industry who knows how to make money but who could not get elected to save his ass.

These committee members spent countless hours conducting hearings, listening to many people talk about the elections system. This committee discovered that we had actually conducted an election with a voting system that had not been certified by the state DOS. This comm,ittee was aware, long before the DOS, of the problems we were having with our vendor. As the hearings progressed, the elections office and John Conklin implemented changes to insure better elections. This committee made recommendations in a detailed report.

Not one of these members was paid a dime for the servivce they performed. Nobody tried to slip the county a bill like Larry Otter did. Except for John Stoffa himself, not one of these members was even thanked for the sacrifice of time and money to drive to and from the courthouse and intervierw people between meetings.

It was a thankless job by a committee with no power so that the administration could fuigure out what the hell to do. You make it sound like iot was some plush assignment and they were all at day spas. It was resented by a county couincil whose interests were partisan.

Stoffa's choices of committee members were representative of the major parties as well as the most prominent minor party.

Stoffa is entitled to ask people for advice. Who the hell do you think you are? He's county exec, not you. And he runs the elections office, not you. It's an independent office, but its people report to him and don't set their own hours and that kind of crap. He was well within his rights and you're off base.

Try making something else an issue. This one isn't going to work. You just make yourself look like a very sad and bitter person.

Take your pills and go to bed.

Anonymous said...

Problem with day old meatloaf is when its filled with more breadcrumbs than meat it gets pretty soggy and tasteless