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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, December 05, 2008

It's Unanimous! Patti Grube Appointed to Northampton County Council

Just last week, Morning Call columnist and blogger Bill White was irritated by Ron Angle's threat to quit Northampton County Council. "When it comes to forging coalitions and getting things done, he’s utterly ineffective." Last night's unanimous appointment of Patti Grube to her husband's unexpired term on Northampton County Council, however, proves Bill wrong. You see, this was an Angle initiative all the way.

I really thought this one was heading to the courts. Northampton County Council is already a dysfunctional mess, and Wayne Grube's death left an evenly divided council who can't even make it through courtesy of the floor without a few earthquakes.

But Ron Angle is the council member who suggested Patti Grube. Peg Ferraro, who knows her, quickly agreed. So did the editorial boards of both local papers. Council's four Democrats were still trying to forge a coalition to appoint fighter pilot David Haines, and may have lured Cusick into their web. After Tuesday's budget hearing, he confessed to fellow Republicans he might support Haines.

Angle then went to work on Democrats, pointing out that no one knew Wayne better than his own wife. McHale vainly tried to claim Grube had eliminated herself by not submitting a formal application. But Angle quickly and correctly called that position "an excuse for people to explain why they won't vote for her.'' By Wednesday night, every Democrat had called Grube to offer their support.

As soon as last night's meeting got started, Diane Neiper offered a resolution naming Grube, trying to make things sound like it was their idea. Angle quickly seconded the motion, but simultaneously scolded council members for claiming they needed to have an interview process. Grube was appointed unanimously. The last person to vote was Cusick. He waited a few seconds, doing a slow burn, knowing he had been stabbed in the back.

In the meantime, Peg Ferraro apologized to applicants who had travelled to the star chamber for interviews that never occurred. "I heartily apologize to the people brought in here for an interview." A disgusted John Cusick added, "Absolutely. It's a disgrace." But Queen of Hearts Ann McHale imperiously told them, "You'll all consider running."

Although there was no judge around to swear Grube in, Angle wanted Grube to take office immediately, suggesting that the county council solicitor do the honors. Anthony Martino, council's legal eagle, politely declined.

When she finally had a chance to speak, Patti Grube apologized "for the trouble I've caused. I know [Wayne] would want me to fulfill his term. I hope you all run next year. If there is anything you need from me, I'll be glad to help out." Patti also had a warning for her council colleagues. "I will think for myself. ... I have a mind of my own."

When she ascended the dais, the peanut gallery gave her a standing ovation. The first person to rise was one of the applicants, Republican Mark Schwartz.


Anonymous said...

Looks like you and angle and cusik are out of the loop. Looks like the democrats new what they were doing and were remarkably effective and diciplined in their execution. Looks like the only one who thought it would be haines was you...you should sue.

Anonymous said...

Boonie is right. Without Angle lighting the match, this would not have happened. With that said, Angle could not have accomplished this in a million years. But, I see fingerprints. . .

Anonymous said...

nothing in your account confirms that Angle did anything except say that it is a great idea. He held fast to a good idea. Awesome for him and the county. It doesn't sound like he actually did anything but that.

Bernie O'Hare said...

1) Angle came up with the idea.

2) Angle is the council member who first approached Grube.

3) Angle is the council member who talked to both editorial boards.

4) Angle is the council member who pressured other council members, including a very reluctant Ann McHale, as they tried to look for someone else.

5) Dems asked Cusick to support another Democrat, and that Dem was not Patti Grube. I think his anger at the vote is the result of having the rug pulkled out from under him.

Anonymous said...

1) not disputed
2) not disputed
3) angle talks to papers all the time. It's what he does best. If he was a bigger media whore, he'd be pregnant.
4) angle pressuring anybody on anything does not mean it why they did it. He pressures people all the time and rarely gets what he wants. If anything, we know that his insistence on an issue is cause to vote the other way for most of council. That's when he repeats point #3
5) The only thing this confirms is that Cusick is a bumbling fool.

My interpretation of what happened is just as much spin as yours is. Your spin is no more real than anybody else's on this matter.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I don't consider Cusick a "bumbling fool." But he was approached by the Dems, and to support someone else. The reality is that Dems had been boxed into a corner.

From what I'm told, several council members routinely try to play to the media. Angle just happens to be better than them.

The point I'm making is that, for someone just attacked for not getting things done, he did a pretty good job with Patti Grube. In fact, they should have listened to him two weeks ago and appointed Grube then instead of bringing applicants down to the courthouse and then dismissing them without even hearing them speak.

Anonymous said...

"In fact, they should have listened to him two weeks ago and appointed Grube then instead of bringing applicants down to the courthouse and then dismissing them without even hearing them speak."

I strongly disagree. Where is the open and transparent part of this process? Just b/c the sentiments are good, noble and probably the best, doesn't mean you shirk others of the opportunity to apply and make their interests known.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Then why didn't council let them make their interests known during the meeting? I get your point, and it's a good one, but council was clearly inconsistent in the way this was handled. If you want to hear from others, then listen to them.

Caladaqua said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bernie O'Hare said...

Mr. Haines,

After reading your comment, I now wish that Council had listened to you. Incidentally, last night's meeting was one of the better ones in recent memory.

Anonymous said...

How pathetic first that you BO would claim that the Dems approached Cusick it has been obvious to anyone who pays attention that he votes against the dems nearly as often as Angle. Cusick was trying to arrange a debut for his buddy Schwartz who he supported last year.

Haines makes it clear that you are making this whole conspiracy up. There is no way team D supports this fighter pilot as he show himself to be a loose cannon and childish comparing his lost time in preparation to Mrs. Grube’s loss. Haines speaks of professionalism and at his first opportunity lashes out at Council as a hole and above at Neiper, Angle and Ferraro talk about being completely dysfunctional. Mr. Haines should be embarrassed by his self-centered rantings and shows himself to be unfit to fill the shoes of Wayne Grube.

My congratulations to Mrs. Grube and to the County Council for doing the right thing and appropriately continuing the Grube Legacy and not letting politics get in the way.

And my thanks to those who put their names in for consideration and graciously stepped aside to Mr. Grube’s widow without childishly complaining.

Caladaqua said...

Sentimentally, was the council's choice a good one? ...Sure. Is there great sympathy for Mrs. Grubes loss...Absolutley. However, when a governmental entity, such as the County Council, publicly solicits applications for a job vacancy, in the democratic process, it is assumed that interviews will take pace with all qualified candidates. When the candidates show up at the appointed time and place and are informed, "without public comment" that another individual will be appointed to the position, it is the right of any citizen to question the transparency and functionality of its government.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"How pathetic first that you BO would claim that the Dems approached Cusick it has been obvious to anyone who pays attention that he votes against the dems nearly as often as Angle. Cusick was trying to arrange a debut for his buddy Schwartz who he supported last year."

I stand by what I said bc it is the truth, and I have it from two different sources.

I also happen to agree with Mr. Haines - any body of government that just dismisses ten applicants withut bothering to hear from them, has no transparency . . . or manners.

Anonymous said...

"I stand by what I said bc it is the truth, and I have it from two different sources."

I figured it out you McClure and Dirtinger went out for drinks?

You are so full of shit there are no democrats on council who would give you the time of day forget telling you who they support. so anything else would at best be hearsay.
Or are your 2 sources aliens

Bernie O'Hare said...

Two reliable sources inform me that Cusick was inclined to vote for one of the Democratic candidates, and I believe that candidate was Mr. Haines. It was obvious toi anyone at last night's meeting that Cusick did not like casting the vote for Grube.

And what on earth makes you think I was talking to the Dems on Council. Note, I said my sources were reliable. That rules out Dertinger and McClure.

Anonymous said...

Bonie, Dirtinger and Maclure may not be reliable, but my quess is they would know if Cusick was approached about Haines. And in light of Haines comments here, it is a good thing they nominated Patti Grube who has been nothing but gracious and conciliatory throughout this process. Haines has been at 30 ft. too long.

J. SPIKE ROGAN said...

Bernie, NO FLECK!!!!

'nuff said.

Anonymous said...

I can agree the again this gang that can't shoot straight should have had the courtesy to tell the folks applying not to show up. It was a disaster from McHale and company but that is what they specialize in.

However, Mr. Haines get a grip. If you want to do well in govt., get over yourself a little more. As this blog should show politics is more about passion than logic. Your little hissy fit shows you to be a bit to high on yourself.

Anonymous said...

I think Patti should get a plumb spot on the bridge commission after her stint doing the peoples' business on council. She's a Democrat. She's loved. She's earned it. Start her at $150K.

Anonymous said...

two points:

1. i love patti, and think she's a fine choice;

2. doesn't this action seem to violate your interpretation of the subshine law? just to be clear, i do not mean the REAL sunshine law, just your interpretation of it. you've often told me that back-room, one on one lobbying to build a consensus/majority violates at least the spirit of that law.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I don't think this was a violation. Council members individually calling Patti Grube to offer support do not constitute a quorum. But a series of emails or telephone calls aqmong a quorum would result in a violation. But what the hell do I know?

Anonymous said...

goodness, the contortions you go through to justify actions when you approve of them. you are more limber than i gave you credit for...

Bern, they offered the resolution before they interviewed anyone...how could they have accomplished that if they had not been speaking individually before the meeting? and in prior BOH universes, THAT would have violated the sunshine law.

let me be clear:

1)Patti was a great choice;

2) i do not feel this violated the sunshine law. in fact, i have always reveled in backroom deals.

i just delight in pointing out your epistomological inconsistencies.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Good for you!

Neiper knew the 4 Ds supported Grube. She also knew Angle had suggested the idea. She offered the resolution, and before anyone was interviewed, to prevent Angle from nominating Grube. So I don't think she was entirely suree about it.

I have no problem w/ an exec or administration member building up a majority behind closed doors. It's when council members themselves get involved that I think the Sunshine Act is violated. Six states that have confronted this issue have ruled that emails exchanged among a majority violate the act. Pa. is not one of those six states.

I've only met Patti Grube once. I owe her nothing. If I thought this was a Sunshine Act viuolation, I would say so. It may be a Sunshine Act violation, but I can't really prove it.

As you point out, I'm a purist on this matter. That means I'm probably wrong.

Anonymous said...

Thats why you railed against Reibman all the time with the then Dem's on Council. Your own words were something like, Blah Blah Blah The Administration is wrong and so are the Dem's on Council.

But with Stoffa, an Administration can do anything it wants. You really are a hypocrite.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Stoffa has nothing to do with Grube's appointment to council. He had nothing to do with the appointment of McClure and Branco, but was exec when that happened, too. As you may recall, I railed about that because I had proof the Sunshine Act was violated. In this case I don't. Had I thought the Act was violated, I would be railing about this appointment, too. But it wasn't, at least not so far as I can tell.

This appointment has nothing to do w/ Stoffa. If there is an error, it is a council error, and I would not hesitate to point it out. You let your disdain for Stoffa cloud your reasoning. Perhaps it is clouded anyway.

Anonymous said...

Bernie he has a point. Your love for both Stoffa and Angle, linked to your hate of team Dert, does hurt your credibility.

Under Reibman the employees could do no wrong. Under Stoffa your attitude is let them eat crap.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Umm, this post has NOTHING to do with Northampton County employees, John Stoffa or Glenn Reibman. It tells how Patti Grube was appointed. My feelings about any of those people is irrelevant to this post.

As far as Norco employees are concerned, my only objection was to a green T-shirted lynch mob out to hang a county employee, not realizing that the same thing could easily be done to each and every one of them. It was stupid. Most workersd I have spoken to, even those who detest CSF, agree with me. I was very embarrassed by the workforce that night. They are usually much better than that.

Also, I make no attempt to disguise who I admire and who I don't. But I also try my best to tell the truth. If McClure runs a good meeting, I will admit it. But remember, this is a blog, not a newspaper.