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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Why Private Management Will Fail at Gracedale

Sarah Cassi at The Express Times first told you this story in June, when the lawsuit was filed. I saw the case today when looking at the Otter's appeal in the Gracedale saga, and decided to pull it. Wow! If nothing else, this discrimination case demonstrates that public sector unions are out of control at Gracedale. The inmates are running the asylum.

Bernadette McRae-Elliot is a nurse attendant, i.e. nurse's aide, at the County owned nursing home. She was first hired in December 2006. Now she's filed suit because she claims she's a victim of racial discrimination, but this is what her own complaint reveals:

* In February 2009, she was fired for "excessive absenteeism."

* In March 2009, she was re-instated.

* In April 2009, she received a two-day suspension for patient abuse. She had been accused of trying to strangle a resident.

* In May 2009, she received a three-week suspension for intimidating a resident.

* In January 2010, she was stopped from providing "care" to three residents because of complaints about her behavior.

* She complains that the residents, and their families, called her "nigger," "black bitch" and other nasty names. She also claims that white employees can get away with time off.

Here are two facts that blow my mind. First, In spite of her obvious absences and disagreeable attitude, she's still one of the people who supposedly provides "excellent care" at Gracedale. She still works there. Second, between December '06 and June '11, when she filed her complaint her salary shot up from $10.25/hr to $14.51/hr. Her hourly wages have gone up 42% in 5 1/2 years, despite being a lousy worker.

How can this happen?

One word.


Once a public employee makes it through probation, it is virtually impossible to fire her. Not only has this woman been able to get away with working when she feels like it, but she has kept her job in spite of resident abuse. She's seen her salary go up, and now, she's sueing, hoping to dig a little deeper into the pockets of County taxpayers.

Have you seen your wages go up 42% over the last 5 1/2 years. Do you get 70% of your salary in County benefits?

Although this woman is by no means representative of your typical Gracedale employee, there is a full-time "incident" nurse working there who spends her entire day checking out complaints about the staff.

The people have spoken, but Gracedale needed to be sold. If you think private management is going to change a culture of entitlement on the part of staff, at the expense of everyone else, think again. Sure, Premier will introduce efficiencies and will tinker with reimbursement rates, but they can't do a damn thing about the unions.


Anonymous said...

We need someone to swing an AX at labor law. Noone can really do anything about Unions, you try and limit bargaining rights and its a hellstorm. How are you supposed to fire them?

Anonymous said...

The Angle/Stoffa propaganda machine is up and working again.

First and foremost, this is more of an indictment on Stoffa and his know nothing hack Marcus then any union.

If in fact this is one of the few accurate O'Hare stories then there is a real problem with county leadership.

No one can force the county to put the woman back on the job. The union can appeal and appeal and sue if they want. Nothing short of a court order can put a person back on the job if the county, ie: Stoffa/Marcus, feel the employee is incompetent and or dangerous.

O'Hare your bullshit is always amusing but what this story shows is not why private management will fail at Gracedale but why the Stoffa Administration has been the worst and most incompetent in Northampton County's history.

Even with inheriting the largest surplus in county history, even with a tax increase his first year, even living off the surplus, Stoffa still will need a tax hike.

Now this story, just further proof as to why people are praying that the long County Nightmare known as the Stoffa Administration will hopefully end one day. Between he and Angle our beloved county is being run like a clown car with a flat tire!

Anonymous said...

1980 to 1999 race based lawsuits in union and non union workplaces
rose 484%
At the same time racial hate groups increased 10%
This woman was said to have been called those names by guests of patients in the home.
I don't think the county is responsible for that type of scenario. Gracedale or courthouse no one knows what type of outburst might occur. As far as her pay scale I think all healthcare costs rose at that same time...didn't they?
She is a bad egg the county will probably need to settle with her. This problem isn't union, it is a trend in the workplace.
On another note you would be quite brave eating at that diner you featured in the other section. Unless of course you enjoy the free toppings you will get if those two woman read this blog.

Anonymous said...


this is the source for the percentages

actually it makes for interesting reading

Anonymous said...

O'Hare will be a racist if it helps Angle/Stoffa.

Anonymous said...

Everyone in the Tea Party knows that attempting to fire an incompetent, deadbeat black is racist.

Anonymous said...

Former 10-year bank employee. In all that time, 10 years, my salary went up less than one dollar.

Anonymous said...

Total Bullshit!

There are procedures in place from "Management" and if they are followed properly by "Management" any employee can be let go.

It appears that "Management" is not doing their job and should be let go!

Anonymous said...

there is no-one who would abuse anyone in my famiy in a nursing home and get away with it ! how can this go on ?

Bernie O'Hare said...

" what this story shows is not why private management will fail at Gracedale but why the Stoffa Administration has been the worst and most incompetent in Northampton County's history."

The 2 AM troll, with his irrational hatred of Stoffa, strikes again.

This post shows how hard it is to get rid of a public sector union employee. That woman at Gracedale should be dumped. Her own complaint makes that clear. But the County has to be concerned that the union will file a grievance.

In the Criminal Division, I see what bad employees can do. The inmates run the asylum there, too, and give the department head a bad time. They are union protected.

I know another employee who threatened a department head and nothing happened to her, either. She screamed discrimination and ran to the union, and she's not even back.

There really need to be changes in how public sector unions operate.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"O'Hare will be a racist if it helps Angle/Stoffa."

I realize this woman is claiming discrimination, but her own complaint reveals she has a horrible record. Like you, she is playing the race card to soak money from a county that can't fire her because she can hide behind the union.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"On another note you would be quite brave eating at that diner you featured in the other section. Unless of course you enjoy the free toppings you will get if those two woman read this blog."

This itself is a racist comment. When I point to a black person who is playing the race card, that is not a criticism of every black person nor does it mean that every black person will react to me with scorn.

Anonymous said...

You need to put Nurse Ratched from One flew over the cuckoo's nest up there instead of your current pic.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The Gracedale Goons are ridiculously claiming now that the Stoffa admin has a secret agreement with private management to make sure Gracedale fails so a sale can be pursued. This post is apparently in furtherance of that scheme.

I've spoken to nobody within the admin concerning this case or my post. I know of no agreement, secret or otherwise, for failure by private management. I want them to succeed.

If private management fails, and I think they will, that does not mean Gracedale can be sold. The time to have sold that was when Stoffa tried.

I doubt Gracedale could be sold at all now, and Bruce Gilbert warned about the danger of delay. Gracedale looks far less attractive to a private buyer now. If one could be attracted, the offer would be far lower. Stoffa has no intention of advocating a sale. Neither do I. The people have weighed in, and that's that.

Anonymous said...

Hard to cut through all the bullshit in this story and in the comment section but one rings true..If the county wants to fire someone ( and they have fired many union employees over the years) it doesn't matter if it is justified or not, all the count5y has to do is fire them..It's crap to say that this is somehow prevented by the unions..I have never heard something so ridiculous..The best the union can do if someone is fired is to file a grievance..If that is not successful they can take the case to arbitration..This all takes forever..In the meantime, the employee is still fired and not working..If they are brought back it means that County management couldn't make its case..Period..

Bernie O'Hare said...

This is just untrue. Because arbitration is always stacked in favor of the public sector employee, the government will almost always lose. Then they end up paying back pay, att'y fees, and sometimes, punitive damages. Like I said, I see it myself. I can point to the Criminal Division, which is loaded with troublemakers taht are basically untouchable. I can point to another employee who flat out threatened a department head. And the examples I cite are outside of Gracedale. We also saw what Allentown cops did with the pension deal.

The simple reality is that public sector unions are out of control. A shitty employee like the one who sued at Gracedale should be canned, yet you see her wages went up 42% in 5 years. That's nonsense, and once again, it is the public sector union.

Anonymous said...

It's not Stoffa ..... it's the UNIONS. This lady would have been fired in any non-union job. GMAFB.

Anonymous said...

The Tea Party son of a bitches (sic) won't be satisfied until blacks in unions are swinging from trees,

Anonymous said...

The most fundamental truth is any employer can fire any employee union or non-union if they want. Pennsylvania is not a strong worker friendly state, please check out the laws.

This is just another tale given to O'Hare by the Angle/Stoffa gang to play up the Gracedale issue.

They desperately need a boogie-man in order to raise taxes for the Attiyah drug addict lounge. We still don't have any estimate on the costs of that monster and county council doesn't care. They needed to dump Gracedale to get the money. Fortunately the people had more sense then these clowns. Now Angle/Stoffa are in a pickle.

So here comes O'Hare wiht a convenient bullshit story to continue the taxpayer/employee war. I can tell you without fear of the wrath of God that if true this is just anothwer example of Stoffa's incompretent management.

Imagine if your house was on fire and Stoffa nd his gang were the fire company and just stood around and let it burn down. Later O'Hare would tell you that poor Stoffa couldn't even try to help because his hoses were to small. Stoffa is the most incompetent man in govertnemnt. Fortunately, one day he and his enablers on county council will be gone and if in fact theere are any "bad employee's" they will be fired.

It was done in past adminstrations even though they fought like Hell. Guess what, they stayed fired. Nothing to see here, just more incompetence, but Angle/Stoffa have charged O'Hare with ginning up the hate so this is what you get. I am sure Joe Owens will weigh in on how poor old Johnn Stoffa is the victim. You guys are a joke.

Anonymous said...

It will fail just like any other part of the government that is subcontracted out.

Anonymous said...

Some of the posters here are right. The County can fire anyone at any time. The failure to do so is a failure of management, whether it be at the department head level, human resources level, or county executive level. As both a county employee and a union member, I can honestly say that about 10% of my office should be fired. However, they still have their jobs not because the union protects them, but because the supervisors fail to act. Don't blame the unions for something management is unwilling to do. Besides, the majority of us that are union don't even go to the union for help because they have proven themselves to be thoroughly useless and a waste of our dues. Don't lump us all in with the likes of this woman. We're not all as greedy and unreasonable as you make us out to be.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:25, most knowlegable people know you are right. This is just a propaganda piece for Stoffa and Angle written by O'Hare with help from the Espress Times. No one except O'Hares wingnut buddies take him seriously.

As the cop would say, "nothing
to see here folks, move along".

Anonymous said...

The vast majority of County employees are decent, hard working dedicated individuals. This fact may not fit neatly into your Teabag world view but it is true nonetheless.

At the same time, the County has when appropriate terminated a number of employees for just cause and successfully defended claims for unemployment compensation benefits saving the self insured County tens of thousands of dollars.

Its easy to bash Stoffa when you are choose to ignore inconvenient facts.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have read at least three comments stating the County can just fire anyone they want. That's not really true. That's the whole point of a union contract. The County must follow the contract and cannot fire people. I have also seen bad employees use the grievance process to harass department heads. Like I've been saying, the inmates run the asylum.

On top of everything else, as a public employer, the County must accord workers rights that are not required of private employers.

So the notion that the County can just fire someone is simply untrue.

Anonymous said...

In agreement Bernie, however, under the circumstance of assault and in this case strangulation of a patient. Wouldn't intent to kill override the union manifesto? I mean come on, you printed that this woman was attempting to kill someone. Forget about suspension, why wasn't she arrested? And don't blow smoke up my dress that they had to follow union protocol. It either was a crime or you libeled her by printing this info.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I repeated very accurately what she herself stated in her complaint, i.e. that she had been accused of attempting to strangle a patient. No charges were filed. She herself has set forth her own bizarre work history.

Frankly, what happens when a resident claims she or he was abused, and the employee denies it? I suspect it is very easy to claim the resident is senile or whatever. I suspect that in most cases the resident is confused. But this woman was accused, is suing the County bc of racist slurs that came from residents and their family members, and wants all kinds of money bc the county gave her time off for her absenteeism.

I also reported accurately that her wages went up 42% during this time. I also reported accurately that she was actually reinstated after being fired once, and I suspect the union had a lot to do with that.

Anonymous said...

State of Pennsylvania......"At will employer" laws. Look it up for yourself. Allows employers to fire for no reason!

Bernie O'Hare said...

At will does not apply to either a public employee or someone who has a contract. In this case, we have both. Your analogy is dead wrong. That's the whole point of a union, to prevent an employer from firing you for any or no reason.

Anonymous said...

Shame on you. You lie, distort and offer half –truths in your never ending effort to promote a contrived political agenda. Read the complaint—better yet, PUBLISH it so your readers can get the FACTS. They will not recognize it to be the basis of the filth you publish.
Why do you do that?
Your goal?—Simple political agenda? No, only a fa├žade.
Herein lies the danger. You represent your mishigus (Yiddish for craziness), as political analysis and people who are not crazy do not know that.
Does this sound familiar—alcoholic brutal father whom you could never please and who was cruel and mercurial and a mother who could not protect you. Because she could not protect you, you chose him.
You wanted to be him since you could not please him so you became a dogmatic alcoholic and eventually did to your clients what he did to you---destroyed lives. Rest assured, he would be proud of you for carrying on the family tradition of cowardice. You might have stopped drinking but you did not stop being so cowardly that you are willing to destroy whatever obstructs what you see as protection.
So, enter dead dad surrogate—Ronnie the thief. He will protect you as long as you offer him no challenge. He will slay you if you do. That is why you publish this rubbish—it would make him happy. It proves your fealty which is born of irrational terror.
If you really wanted to solve problems, to protect citizens and ensure NC employees a decent working environment, you would offer accurate information. You do not and you probably never will. You want protection, not justice or truth.

Anonymous said...

Don't you need a license to perform Psychoanalysis?

I'll bet
"mom always liked you best"

Anonymous said...

The unintended result of this Stoffa propaganda and bash Gracedale piece is still Stoffa and his hacks are incompetent managers that cannot protect our most vulnerable citizens at Gracedale.

No wonder Stoffa wanted to dump Gracedale, maybe he knows how impotent he himself is. Makes you womnder how poorly other things in the county are going.

I have heard the rest of Human Services is a mess. Poor kids, I can only imagine child services must be a nightmare.

If Stoffa was a competent leader with competent managers this woman would be fired but it is easier to go along wiht incompetence and have your flack O'Hare blame everyone else.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Wow! An alcoholic brutal father who was cruel and mercurial and a mother who could not protect me. And I'm guilty of mishigus?

My report of that complaint is entirely accurate. This woman laid it all out for the entire world to see, and I can't help it if that bothers you, or that it establishes that the public sector unions at Gracedale are the problem and will remain the problem, no matter what savings private management may realize in other areas.

In order to misdirect everyone, you claim I publish this to make Ron happy. Angle does not even know about this story and does not use a computer.

I do this to complement what appears in traditional media outlets, or sometimes to report on things independently. I also do this because I like to write.

I do happen to like and admire Angle, and if that bothers you, too bad.

Bernie O'Hare said...

This is not a bash Gracedale piece. It is a simple report that reveals quite clearly that public sector unions are out of control, and there is little Stoffa or any other elected official can do about that, except get rid of them. That could have been accomplished via a sale.

Anonymous said...

one quick question: Who hires these employees? Does the Union hire them??? If they are such bad employees why would managment keep them past their probationary time? They always want to "give" a bad employee one more chance!!!! Then it turns out to be the unions problem.. I've been around a long time.. and I've seen a lot of this happening.. even in the private sector.. so don't just blame the unions for protecting these employees. They have to by law!
ps: I'm not a county employee and realy don't care what happens to this individual! but I am a good unionist....

Anonymous said...

check out farmer ron! he does use a computer and he does have an email address

Bernie O'Hare said...

Angle does NOT use a computer, nor does he use an email addy. There was an email set up from years ago, by one of his kids, when he had a radio show. But he;s never used it. Idf you check out County Council, you will see email exchanges among them, but Angle is not included bc HE DOES NOT USE A COMPUTER. That's just the way it is. You may not like the truth, but that's too bad.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"If they are such bad employees why would managment keep them past their probationary time"

That's easy. I've seen several very bad employees who were perfect little angels until their probationary period expired.

Anonymous said...

lies, lies, lies

Bernie O'Hare said...

Repeating lies over and over do not make them true, even when it involves Angle. Moreover, the psychobabble directed at me is designed to draw attention away from the real issue - public sector unions gone awry.

Anonymous said...

lies!! again! disbarred lawyers maybe, and bad county council men , but not unions!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Personal attacks directed at me do not change the truth.

Anonymous said...

You mean the truth that all you have exposed with this piece is an incompetent county executive with weak managers. I worked for the county many years ago, unions were there at that time and yes people were fired. If you have the ability to pursue the issue you can do it and prevail.

You are again using the dump Gracedale mantra as your punching bag to try and hide the incompetence of John Stoffa and his regime of hacks.

Under the light of truth and reality your little hissy fit just doesn't hold up.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'm not hiding anything. I'm revealing exactly what is going on, and you don't like it. You can claim it demonstrates Stoffa's incompetence with your irrational hatred. I claim that it is nearly impossible to fire a public sector union employee after the probationary period is over. This woman's story is evidence to support that assertion.

I'll add that I've seen no comments worrying about the residents and whether they are in danger. Instead, I am personally attacked, Stoffa is slammed, Angle is slammed, and unions are defended.

That's a sad commentary on how much you care for the people who live there.

Anonymous said...

The fact that Stoffa and company allows this woman to continue to work is evidence he has no ability to be a leader or in charge of the county.

He is willing to waste county money on lawsuits meant to stop a legitimate citizen referendum but fears spending money on a responsible reason such as defending his decision to keep this woman away from residents.

That is the fact O'Hare. Your usual spin is just spinning up mud from your stuck in the mud tires.

You boys are pathetic.

Bernie O'Hare said...

A indicated, the fact that she is working is evidence of the power of public sector unions. I know several (not many) people who need to be fired, but it is very difficult.

Anonymous said...

There is no question Bernie is right. This job is and has been too hard for Stoffa and company. He should resign immediately.

Anonymous said...

Is the population decreasing at Gracedale because the employees are strangling patients?

Anonymous said...

The drop in Gracedales census is because that is what Angle/Stoffa wanted to have happen to push their dump Gracedale agenda.

Union Goon said...

First off, any union contract I have read or negotiated clearly states the employer may only terminate with JUST CAUSE!!

If what you are saying is true about this woman, there is more then JUST CAUSE.....therefore making it a failure of the administration to follow through with the termination.

There is a grievance process that is followed after a termination or suspension, at which point both parties get to state there "case."
That process is usually 3 steps in which the "case" is stated. At all steps if the administration determines they had JUST CAUSE to fire the person they may then uphold the ruling.

After the 3 steps are exhausted, the union may then file for arbitration. BOTH parties then pick from a list of arbitrators that will hear the case. BOTH PARTIES MUST AGREE on the arbitrator.

The "case" is then heard by said arbitrator who is an impartial party to the "case", and then ruled on by said arbitrator. The ruling is binding, and shall be followed.

In the case of this woman there is no mention of how or why she was brought back to her job. I can only assume that someone in the administration didn't follow the proper protocol to terminate someone.

It is the administrations job to understand the union contract just as it is the employee to understand County policy. If the employee does not follow policy they can be disciplined. Ironically the County has a policy as to how an employee is to be disciplined, and in my experiences they fail to follow their own policy when they dish out the punishment.

Maybe, just maybe the unions understand their contract, and County policy better than those that write it and sign off on it.

Bottom line is this has nothing to do with the union, this has everything to do with the administrations failure to follow procedure for termination.

Maybe this new contracted administration will take the time to educate themselves on the procedures and policies they are paid to follow.

If what was written is true the lady should be gone, but the fact that she remains is not the fault of the union.

If you want to play the blame game, please place it where it belongs.

Anonymous said...

Don't be offended however, it annoys me when people speak and or write an opinion with a list of facts or reasons they want to convey, and begin with;


Is that local venacular?
Simular to "get the heck ought"

Bernie O'Hare said...

Union Goon,

I understand that you may think it's easy for a public employer to shed employees for "just cause," but that's not the case. I can recite specific examples of very bad employees who have been able to skate and know very well how to work the system. If you think about it, you know this to be true. In addition, the arbitration process is a sham, and tilted towards the union. That's why most governments try to avoid it.

The blame in this instance is really with the employee, who knows how to work the system to her advantage.

Union Goon said...

"The blame in this instance is really with the employee, who knows how to work the system to her advantage."

FIRST OFF, I have to agree, but you did stress the union as a primary factor. There are employees that know how to work the system, union or not.

Also, "just cause" has nothing to do with union or non union. Termination should be with just cause no matter the affiliation.

Bottom line is if there is just cause then the termination will be upheld.

Let's remember the employer has to show the just cause, and how it applies to the situation.

Union Goon said...

"Don't be offended however, it annoys me when people speak and or write an opinion with a list of facts or reasons they want to convey, and begin with;"

FIRST OFF, it annoys me when someone writes or states an opinion with a list of facts or reasons they want to convey, and begin with...."Don't be offended."

If you have to start your statement/opinion with "Don't be offended" then don't state your opinion as it may offend.

Anonymous said...

First off, don't be offended.
Is that better?

Anonymous said...

I wasn't born or raised in the valley, I live here now. And it is amazing to me some of the dialect that is spoken and deemed acceptable in this area.
I'm sure that I have brought with me simular localized nuances in my speach, that I am not cognizant of when I speak.
Once again I'm sorry.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Don't be sorry. We all have idiosyncrasies in our speech and writing patterns.

Anonymous said...

Don't be sorry, as you can read, O'Hare is incapable of truth but it doesn't stop him from typing his pointless points of view.

Anonymous said...

1. document
2. progessively discipline
3. terminate

it's not hard, it's just never done, in this administration, or any prior administration. the county, unfortunately, has never effectively trained their mid-level management in this regard. Stoffa failed, so did Reibman, Brackbill, and the rest.

Anonymous said...

Please stop, doing all that is very hard. John Stoffa said we can do better, he never does but he says it a lot.

It is a hard job to manage, so don't be upset with poor John.

Anonymous said...

I'll take Gracedale goons over Angle puppets anyday!

CB57 said...

But the management isn't union, are they? As a former client of Northampton County Human Services, I remember they have an awful lot of "chiefs", a few of whom I met, including Ross Marcus. In three years, NC did nothing for me, and they all got paid to do nothing. In the private sector, you can't do that, because you have to be competitive. With the government, you simply charge more taxes to pay the dead wood to do nothing.

Anonymous said...

Marcus is a Stoffa puppet CB57, he was put there to not talk back to and agree with Stoffa and Angle on everything.

Anonymous said...

Before you post O'Hare maybe you should get your fact straight. the aide you speak of DOES NOT earn 14.51 an hour. She was not excessively absent, hence the reason for the suit. This woman worked more than 100 hrs a pay period. In my eyes she was there almost as much as the residents! She was harrassed for over 3 months and management failed to do anything about it. All of her vacation, personal, and sick days, which she earned, were denied to her. Gracedale had her barred from school, etc. etc. So now this is not someone looking for a handout. This is someone who was definitely wronged. And I applaud her courage for continuing to stand up to them. Racially motivated harrassment, retaliation, or allowance in the workplace is wrong on any level!!!!!