Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Who Will Take The Helm at Bethlehem City Council?

Donchez, Reynolds & Rechiutti
As a matter of tradition, City Council Presidents only serve for two years in Bethlehem, and then step down. Bob Donchez, its current President, has just completed his stint, opening the door to other Council members. Who will take the helm?

According to inside sources, Karen Dolan has already told fellow Council members she has no interest in the top  slot, but would like to be VP. Jean Belinski apparently has no interest, either, and is more worried about finishing the two years she has left in her term. Newly elected Mike Rechiutti might have the ambition, but is an unknown quantity and would receive no serious consideration.

That leaves Dave DiGiacinto, Eric Evans and J. Willie Reynolds. DiGiacinto is known for asking the tough questions. Evans is reflective and serious-minded. Reynolds has been Mayor John Callahan's biggest supporter on Council. All three are dedicated and willing to put in the hours. I often see one or more of them at zoning or planning meetings, sitting quietly in the audience.

Some of you might trash Willie because he is so close to the Mayor. Others might disdain DiGiacinto, who has sometimes put Callahan on the spot. But each of these three contenders would make excellent presidents, provided that the Finance Committee has a strong chair.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Who gives a shit!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Obviously, you.

Anonymous said...

Oh please Sir, let it be me!

Wee Willie

Anonymous said...

He has Callahan's vote.

Anonymous said...

The only one qualified to be President of Council is DiGiacinto. However, at this point, perhaps to see how low the city government can sink, Reynolds should be elected. Not only is he a puppet for Callahan, he is a mean-spirited homophobic hypocrite. Worse, he is far from being a deep thinker and has no life experience. His total experience consists of being Samuelson's flunky and a substitute teacher with a degree in political science from the department of which his father is head.

Anonymous said...

Reynolds as President of City Council, omg. He'll have to start allowing members to recieve text messages again as he did from the administation during meetings prior to Donchez putting a stop to that. He won't know what to do without direction from Seamus.

Anonymous said...

Callahan wants Reynolds and will direct Dolan and Rechutti to support him. Recent votes on the budget and issues relating to the closing of the fire station prove that Evans has joined the Callahan team so Callahan won't mind him. Eric Evans will probably be the deciding factor and the best bet is that he is told not to seek the position by the Callahan crew. Now that Callahan influenced the School Board membership and the City Council is firmly under his control the Martin Tower TIF will quickly be approved.

Anonymous said...

The story about Reynolds recently attending a school board meeting and confronting Judith Dexter because she had the nerve to tell the truth is telling about what a thug Wee Willy really is. The recent audit showed that the city illegally transferred federal HUD money into its general fund, illegally took Hanover Twp. EIT and add 40 million to its debt while running 15 million in deficits all while he has been the chair of the Finance Committee and now he will be President of City Council. He stood by and did nothing while the city put the 6 million it borrowed for capital improvements into the general fund and then said nothing to stop the closing of the Dewberry Fire Station.

Anonymous said...

My vote is for Mike Rechutti. He has municipal Solicitor experience, understands government and is young and enthusiastic. What other so called experience is needed? What would be the worst he could do? Help put the City in debt? Oh I forgot, the City is in debt.

Anonymous said...

He lost his job in August from the law firm from which he claims to have that experience. Funny how dirt was dug up against one side but no questions were even asked about the other. He went to a third rate law school and was let go by his law firm. His work experience is limited at best. He remained unemployed during the fall, claiming he would start up as a sole practitioner after the election...by the way not evening opening his office in Bethlehem. Willy R. needs to answer the same question, why did he leave his job as a flunky for a State Rep. to become a substitute teacher? (He is not a certified teacher. BTW, he obtained his degree in Political Science with his father being the head of that department. Evans and Donchez are teachers as well. Dave D. is the only one on that council with intelligence, life experience and integrity.

Anonymous said...

What evidence do you have the Rechuitti understands government. Having a law degree doesn't guarantee that, especially since he went to a third rate law school. Better evidence of his qualifications is that he couldn't even keep his job and was let go from a law firm in August and remained unemployed throughout the fall. He only started attending the Council meetings when he was running, after receiving substantial donations from Callahan to do so, twice and he never actually speaks up during the meetings.

Anonymous said...

May I be the President, Sir. Please, Sir. I would like it so very, very much.

Wee Willie

Anonymous said...

He lost his job in August from the law firm from which he claims to have that experience. Funny how dirt was dug up against one side but no questions were even asked about the other. He went to a third rate law school and was let go by his law firm. His work experience is limited at best. He remained unemployed during the fall, claiming he would start up as a sole practitioner after the election...by the way not evening opening his office in Bethlehem. Willy R. needs to answer the same question, why did he leave his job as a flunky for a State Rep. to become a substitute teacher? (He is not a certified teacher. BTW, he obtained his degree in Political Science with his father being the head of that department. Evans and Donchez are teachers as well. Dave D. is the only one on that council with intelligence, life experience and integrity.

There are a lot of reasons people leave jobs. Everyone on here knows not to believe assertions others bring up (e.g. It is actually contrary to PA law to teach full time if you don't have a teaching degree--so it seems your facts are wrong). I don't know much about their backgrounds, and I suppose you too don't know very much either (but apparently you think you do).

Anonymous said...

Wee Willy is nothing but a substitute teacher. He's a permanent sub. In many districts, these positions have been given to certified teachers who lost their jobs in recent lay-offs. Interesting that Wee Willy has no teaching certificate (which he doesn't have to have to be a sub) but still keeps his job. Also interesting that both Wee Willy and Mikey R. are now in need of the benefits that the tax payers provide to City Council members at the tax payers expense.

Anonymous said...

You know nothing about them (your own words), and state that it is not an issue as to why they leave their jobs. Interesting because both Willy and Mikey campaigned with attacks against the opposition on such things as why one left a job and the merits of the job of one stating it was nothing more then customer service. Why was it an issue as to why one left a job in 2007 and not when your guy leaves a job in 2011 and uses the job he left as a basis to claim work experience that made him qualified to be elected? The bottom line is the City Council may have as its President a man with nothing but being a flunky for a state rep and a permanent sub and a new addition to the rubber stamp club who is unemployed under questionable circumstances and now both receiving medical benefits from the citizens for their $7,700.00 a year part time position.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am pretty sure you need a certification even to be a substitute teacher

Anonymous said...

No, you don't. Al Bernotos was a substitute in Bethlehem last year and he is not certified.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'll talk to him. I'm very surprised.

Anonymous said...

How to Become a Substitute Teacher in Pennsylvania
1.Obtain a Pennsylvania Teaching Certificate, have an out-of-state teaching certificate that is in the process of being transferred to Pennsylvania, or obtain an emergency certification issued by Pennsylvania. Emergency certificates require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree and to be working towards a Pennsylvania teaching certificate.
2.For emergency certification, contact a local school district for an application packet. Applications for an emergency certification must go through a school district.
3.Submit a completed application packet, along with official transcripts, three letters of reference, an application fee and supporting documents to the school district for emergency certifications, or to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for regular certification.
4.Submit to a criminal history investigation.
5.Pass a Child Abuse Clearance.
6.Obtain negative results on a tuberculosis (TB) test.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thanks. I thought it was tough, and it looks like it is.

Anonymous said...

The question is why would someone "working towards" the certification get hired in this environment? There are a lot of certified teachers who recenlty lost their jobs.

Anonymous said...

"Interesting because both Willy and Mikey campaigned with attacks against the opposition on such things as why one left a job and the merits of the job of one stating it was nothing more then customer service"

Actually, if memory serves me correctly they didn't attack anyone--the Republicans did all the attack mail and attack videos. The Dems ran a clean campaign and smoked the Rs anyway.

Tony Simao said...

Yeah, the "Republicans are the bad guys" thing is SO very 2008!

You should take some time out from your busy schedule of cheering on the party of the KKK (Democrats) and actually think about what these people did to win in this past election.

Would you want what they did to me to be done to you?

In the campaign I stated facts that were a matter of PUBLIC RECORD, they on the other hand spewed hatred, division, and bigotry. Where were the sheep that were standing outside of Town Hall with signs to "end the hatred" then?

That's right, I forgot! Mr. Garvin only holds those types of signs when it's politically adventageous for him. (Change we can believe in I guess)

It seems to me that you are proud of that sort of behavior, but it only goes to show what type of person YOU really are!

Here is my pick for Council President:

http://youtu.be/1iGyDq4OgxA?hd=1

He'll put a boot in their *ss; and right now THAT is what the Mayor and council needs.

Anonymous said...

Tony has a point then goes and spoils it with the usual right wing wacko talking points.

Anonymous said...

Tony, take the loss and learn from it. there is no way you can you say the Rs did not do all the attack in the campaign.

To whomever thinks Willie needs information from me, your nuts.

Seamus

Bernie O'Hare said...

Happy New Year, Seamus.

Anonymous said...

And to you Bernie! I look forward to another enlightening year and hope you do too.

Seamus

Karen Dolan said...

Bernie, your readers' obsession with Callahan apparently blinds them from the actual political drama in front of their faces. No one on Bethlehem City Council is currently under Callahan's power: he's a lame-duck Mayor focused on his legacy and his future career, not on the relatively unimportant jostlings of city council. There is, however, a strongly centralized power on city council, but the good citizens of Bethlehem can't or refuse to see how toxic and controlling this power-broker has become. Political ambition has become the trump card for nearly all decisions made (or more pointedly, not made) by council, especially from the top, in recent months. It's very sad.
Bernie, I wish that you would look into this more closely: Callahan is not the Svengali your posters believe him to be. This is ordinary "back room" politics where only four votes are needed so only four votes are sought, behind the scenes, always. This type of political maneuvering is not only unethical, it violates sunshine law: a WAY bigger issue than who is or isn't the outgoing mayor's buddy. How about asking who will be Bethlehem's next mayor? The problems currently plaguing Bethlehem City Council reside in the drama surrounding that question.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Karen,

I am obviously not in the position that you occupy, and have no way of knowing whether a Sunshine Act violation has occurred without more evidence. What exactly are you saying about that? Are you saying that a quorum of City Council met behind closed doors to hammer this out, and that all the votes taken were for effect? Are you saying that individual Council members sought your vote? If they did, I see nothing about that, in and of itself, that constitutes a Sunshine Act violation. But I certainly would like more details.

I am also curious about your assertion of a "strongly centralized power" on City Council and that Mayoral ambitions are trumping good government. I was aware that four members, including you, have expressed some Mayoral interest, but would think that Bob Donchez would be the strongest. Are you saying he is the "strongly centralized power?"

I am deeply disturbed by your assertions, which are very serious, and would appreciate the facts upon which these claims are made. I was not there tonight, but in the Township. But I was very interested, and my readers will be surprised by what you say.

Crispus Attucks said...

karen d is sulking again

Karen Dolan said...

Firstly, I have no mayoral ambitions. If I ever change my mind, and I doubt I will, you, Bernie, will be the first to know; after my husband, of course.
No one on council sought my vote, although there's nothing wrong with that, but council members knew that I wanted Bethlehem City Council to exercise a real democratic process in this election, with discussion and debate and, most importantly, open minds at work in full view of the public. Of course it would be difficult for Bethlehem politicians to break with the tradition of "perceived civility" by actually hashing out their leadership choices with citizens watching, so I supported secret balloting, which is recommended by Robert's Rules precisely so political pressure won't reign in the election process (just as we all enjoy secret balloting when we vote in elections), but that was voted down and vilified. So, tonight we experienced a new version of what was essentially the same old process. It's true, we didn't have a pre-annointed champion announced in advance of the game; instead, the evening progressed more like the 1919 World Series. Who was the real winner in that game? Very disappointing.
But...Bernie, the most important issue is your politically engaged posters need to look at the new landscape and see that Callahan isn't the sun and moon of Bethlehem politics anymore.
Who will the new Mayor be? That is the question, and the answer, more than any other issue -- including all issues related to what's right for Bethlehem -- has held precedence in City Council management for too long. Tonight's vote may signal the continuation of that mentality, although I hope with all my heart it does not.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Karen, I understand your point about Callahan. My question is who is this "strongly centralized power" on City Council exalting Mayoral ambition over good government? Those are your words, and the charge is serious.

Also, based on your explanation of the possible Sunshine Act violation, I just do not see it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Is Donchez really Shoeless Joe Jackson?

Tony Simao said...

I'll have the video of today's meeting up in a day or two.

I would have to describe tonight as political theater at its lowest point. Heck, even the Mayor was shaking his head at what was going on.

Anonymous said...

Dolan has it completely wrong. She is ranting again because once again, like usual, she was on the losing side of the argument. First, Callahan was deeply involved in the dirt slinging and actually confronted Donchez that he didn't attack the R's enough. Callahan threw money at Mikey R and the School Board Candidates. Let's not forget about the role of Kelly in the campaign this last fall.

It was predicted by more then one person on this blog the actual outcome. As was stated prior to the vote tonight, Callahan wanted Reynolds, Mr. Rubber Stamp himself, but if, after a few rounds of votes that wasn't going to happen that it would be acceptable for Evans. The theme was very clear and Karen, knowingly or unknowingly was part of this process, and it was ANYONE BUT DAVE D. Callahan could not allow Mr. D to become President of Council. And, further, Donchez actually proved himself to be the very weak, get along to go along Bob, by supporting Evans as Council President. Karen, please be honest with at least yourself...you have stated and you had at one time believed you would be the first woman mayor in Bethlehem. Perhaps you have given up on that and your decision to do that may be related to the reason you are no longer teaching but either way... you have it all wrong. Callahan is a thug, Reynolds is a Callahan puppet and just as much of a mean-spirited thug. Evans may not be a puppet for Callahan but he has certainly gone back on his campaign promises and been influenced by Callahan on his votes relating to the tax increase and the spending of that money and not objecting to the closing of the fire station.

Karen, you should also realize that your reading of the Robert’s Rules as your justification for supporting Wee Willy was seen as just crazy. If you haven’t noticed, every time you start with your moralizing and “teaching” so as to convince people of your cause, you lose and you lose big. Funny how Wee Willy didn’t even support you for Vice President of Council when you had said to people that is what you wanted.

Anonymous said...

Dolan, do you actually believe that Wee Willy with his total life experience being graduating from Moravian College with a degree in political science and then being a flunky for a State Rep. No doubt he obtained that job through his father's connections...(the chair of the department from which he received his degree). Now, he is substitute teacher. He proudly claimed during the campaign that the furthest he has ever been outside of the City of Bethlehem was when he was born in Fountain Hill at St. Luke's. Compare this life experience to that of Mr. D...There is no comparison. Let's not forget that his sole claim to competency is that he has been chairman of the Finance Committee. During that time, the city illegally transferred money from a HUD program, illegally placed EIT money from Hanover Twp. into the general fund, borrowed 24 million additional dollars at a cost to the citizens of 40 million. The City couldn't even make the first payroll of 2011 without questionable transfers of money. The only voice against any of this was not your hero Willy R. but Dave D.