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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, January 09, 2012

City Workforce Gets Paid

On Thursday morning, I told you that Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan has been forced to dip into restricted funds, to the tune of $900,000, to meet this year's first payroll. He did so for the right reasons, but violatied a 2007 City Council ordinance requiring prior Council approval.

Later that day, the Express Times' Lynn Olanoff provided more detail. The following day, the Morning Call's Nicole Radzievich quotes newly elected City Council President Eric Evans as denying that the 2007 Ordinance was violated.

The 2007 Ordinance specifically provides, "No transfers of funds from the Treasurer's Escrow Account shall be made to the General Fund Operating Budget or to the Water Fund Operating Budget or to the Sewer Fund Operating Budget without prior notice to and approval of City Council."

That seems about as clear as you can get.

Incidentally, after my report published, I'm told that City Budget Director Mark Sivak could be seen wandering through the halls, muttering, "I did nothing wrong." I have no reason to question his personal integrity or good will, and have heard nothing but good things about Mr. Sivak. But finance officials were warned this could happen, and it did.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is what you get when the Callahan Clan is running the show and the bobble heads on city council don';t know what day of the week it is.

Issac Touro said...

Evans just showed his true colors.

Crispus Attucks said...

Sivak is a good man. However he was used by the powers to be to do the spin as they knew any statement they made would be considered pure hogwash.

Thus they have compromised yet another persons integrity.

But then that is the nature of the game they play on a daily basis.

Anonymous said...

The bills are getting paid and accounts replenished later. Not much here to see folks.

Dr. Moonflower said...

anon 6:36,

You are either jc brainwashed or your reading skills are nil.Here it is in one simple words for you. They broke the law.

In either case you should seek help.

Anonymous said...

I won't believe any of this until Seamus reads the script he is given by the Clan.

Anonymous said...

LMAO!.... there is nothing here to speak on anon 10:12. Council was informed, money will be replenished. Has no one ever taken money out of savings to pay a bill on this forum? Although I don't have to inform my wife as she trusts me to make the right decisions.

Seamus

Anonymous said...

I guess some people are just funny about an elected official who violates city law. Not you Mike, I mean Seamus. You are fine with it.

Anonymous said...

Seamus, by that standard if Callahan shoots someone and they recover, there was no crime.

Nice try but the law is the law, and the last thing we want is our illustrious leaders deciding for themselves which ones they follow and which ones they don't.

Dr. Moonflower said...

Seamus, go into a wawa, bethlum cops favorite place, and take a few candy bars. then come back the next day and return them. see what happens. Oh, and I'd bet it it was a republican mayor not of your choosing you would be singing a different tune.

You really need to watch that BS and kool aid diet you are on. Causes delusions.

Anonymous said...

Don't be too hard on Seamus. That is the script Wee willie will be reading at the next city council meeting.

Anonymous said...

The voters spoke and soundly rejected the alternative. The election is over. The Dems won. Move on.

Anonymous said...

"The voters spoke and soundly rejected the alternative. The election is over. The Dems won. Move on."

You are right about that. The "alternative" were Republican candidates who committed political suicide when they posted pics of their junk on the internet. Bethlum voters didn't buy into them either.

Anonymous said...

Let's make it clear, one candidate allegedly had a picture of his "junk" online, not all 3 of them.

Anonymous said...

It does not make it legal or the right thing to do if you have to take money and then put it back. The Wawa example put forward in the comments is a good one. The rest of us not part of the team running Bethlehem would be arrested. Seamus would be the first to call for a Republican mayor to resign and be prosecuted under the same circumstances. He defends them because he is one of them. Let's not forget, they all believe they are entitled. They know better and the rules are meant to keep the rest of us in check not to keep them from doing what they think is best for us. Liberty and Freedom are in jeopardy when elected officials get away with the ends justify the means transactions. The person stealing from Wawa even after returning the stolen goods or money would still be prosecuted. The fact that he decided to return the item or cash would go to mitigating the sentence but he would still be convicted and have a record of a conviction for theft.

Anonymous said...

Seamus, it is not the same thing for you to take money out of a savings account and to put it into a checking account to pay bills when you have legal access to both account as it is for elected officials to violate ordinances and take money with the intention of paying it back. And, you have told us that they have done better then anyone could imagine under the circumstances they face and that they were brillant and had solved their fiscal issues. If that was the truth, and after they did this last year, we were all told, no harm, no foul and we've fixed the problems. Obviously, they have not done so.

Anonymous said...

Seamus, your example would only be appropriate if you did not have the legal right to transfer money from one account to another and you were able to move the money anyway. For example, if the transfer of money required your wife to sign off as well and you forged her signature because you knew that you would replace the money in the savings account once you earned more money and you say then there would be nothing wrong because you would eventually pay back the money. The problem in this example is that for your example to properly be similar to what Sivak did you would have to forge a signature. You are very dishonest to suggest that it is the same thing, it only because a useful analogy if you commit a crime in the process. True that it would be unlikely that a forgery under that example would be prosecuted just like unfortunately it is unlikely anyone will be prosecuted in Bethlehem in both cases a violation of the law happened. You are really saying its okay because we did it and the ends justify the means because the city workers got paid and the money will be eventually replaced. This should not be the normal way of doing business but it clearly happens at the beginning of each year.

Anonymous said...

Seamus, has Callahan ever done anything wrong or anything that you do not fully support or endorse? Do you claim that taking the HUD money and putting it into the General Fund completely proper, legal and sound fiscal management? Do you claim that not paying Hanover Twp. the full amount of money owed to it as the correct and proper way to handle funds entrusted to the City? Or, because it can't happen again because of a change in the state law make it okay? Was it proper, legal and brilliant fiscal management for the City to borrow $1 million last year without proper notification and approval of City Council? How do you defend a fiscal policy that leaves the City in a situation where it cannot make the first payroll of each year without questionable shifting and borrowing of money? Is the debt really paid down when $40 million (with debt service included) was added to the total debt last year alone?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Seamus' personal identity is irrelevant. He make no personal attacks and defends Callahan. I appreciate his willingness to engage a different POV and to do so w/o getting nasty.

JC said...

Personal message to all of the foolish bethlumites. I laugh at your ignorance and I bathe in councils adoration. I am the king. booze women and lawlessness will follow me for all my days as you supreme leader

JC - also known as Jesus Christ of Bethlum - the anointed one

Anonymous said...

wasn't he first known as Cunningham lite?

Anonymous said...

People you seem to forget that contact was made to the council president. There was not a specific form to fill out nor does the law state that a vote needs to take place. The example of dual ownership of an account is valid if the law council enacted stated such. The law is being reviewed and I’m sure more substantial notification process will be established and if ever needed it will be followed. The City finished in the black last year by $600,000 let’s not lose that fact. As I stated on an earlier post I’m disappointed that the transfer had to be made at all, but it did need to be done and it’s time to move on.

To me the Wawa example is moronic, but to be truthful if the cashier at Wawa knew me from coming in daily and I said hey I just noticed I'm short today can I hit you up tomorrow I bet they would say no problem. I know this has happened to me at Starbucks before.

As far as do John and I disagree, yes we do often. Having people around with varying opinions (as is checks and balances no matter how painful) is important and if any of you really knew the Mayor you would know he values people who get in his face and challenge him on issues. Even Bernie’s blog helps with this, although he is not nor does he admit to being balance in some cases. One of the reasons the mayor and Ihave been friends for near 30 years is because I’m not a yes man nor do I worship at his feet, but once a decision is made it is the path to be taken. You can’t have people “going rogue”, you want people to help enlighten the leader with diversity of opinion but then rally around the decisions made.

Cheers,
Seamus

Anonymous said...

The issue here is one of lack of planning. The Administration had to know at least a month ago that this temporary transfer was going to be needed. However, their lack of planning DOES NOT allow themto break the law. They had a lot of time to make sure that council voted on this transfer.

This is symbiotic of other major problems that the city faces, and even mre serious problems. Bethlehem finances are not the shining star they were.

Anonymous said...

Seamus, makes it very clear as to why the Callahan Clan mindset is so authoritarian. All you little people just don't get it. We grew up together, we plot together, we do chicks together. You common people just don't get it. We have an arrangement with the City Council or at least a majority of the Council.

Faagett abod it!

Anonymous said...

Hey 4:49 Ive been married for 18 years, Mayor Callahan 19...

The "doing chicks" thing is so overplayed.... get a new tune

Anonymous said...

Seamus, or should I call you JF, again, is there anything you won't defend when it comes to Callahan his thugs and rubberstamps?

Anonymous said...

I understand that Seamus is thinking about running for political office. Hopefully if his sights are on City Council he'll replace Dolan. With his rants, imagine how long the meetings would be if he and Dolan sat together telling us all how they know better and how we should all just sit down and shut up and accept that the progressives that lead us can and should transfer money from whatever source and for whatever reason whenever they find themselves short.

Anonymous said...

Imagine Seamus and Callahan as friends 30 years ago, freshmen in High School planning their takeover of the world, like Pinky and the Brain. So which one is the genius and which one is insane?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else hope that the next Democrat on city council will not be in the mold of wee willie, or Mile Ricotta?

How about someone with brains and not in the habit of kissing ass.

Anonymous said...

Is Belinski running or re-election? I hear she may hang it up.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Not sure, but I've heard (unconfirmed) that she may step down before her term is over.

Anonymous said...

Bernie - the Republicans who were running for City Council and who attend all the meetings warned the people about what happens to the finances at City Council and the rubber stampers (including nice guy, Bob Donchez) but the people elected more of the "Good Old Boys" gang members and look what you get???? More underhandedness by Callahan and him expecting his best buddies to stick up for him like they do and will and NOTHING CHANGES. No one gets in trouble and everyone makes excuses for it. Past behavior predicts future behavior! I rest my case.... All Callahan and City Council members do is screw the people of Bethlehem and no one does anything about it. What is wrong with this picture - they lie and everyone believes them. Keep printing the truth Bernie and hopefully more people will open their eyes in the future!