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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Lamont McClure Shows His Mean Streak

Lamont McClure and Ken Kraft have been telling everyone that their amendment to Northampton County's revolving door ordinance (see my story here) really has no application to county employees who serve on the boards of nonprofits like CACLV, which receive county funds. They deny it is an attempt to punish CACLV Executive Director Alan Jennings or the two County employees who serve on his board. They claim this ordinance only applies to entities that do business or provide paid services with the County.

But let me clue them in. CACLV does business with the County. It does provide paid services. Their attempt to pretend it has no application to nonprofits is completely contrary to the plain language of the ordinance as well as the Council discussion on Thursday night. Moreover, it is completely contrary to what McClure himself said to Jennings in an email exchange on Friday.

I filed a RTK request with Jennings, figuring he would ask McClure what was going on. Sure enough, he did.

Below is Jennings' email to McClure, followed by McClure's insincere reply, in which he demonstrates pretty clearly that he is punishing Jennings over the Marcus hire and is kicking around two County workers who look out for our money on his board while the Controller does union organizing.

Jennings to McClure:

Hi, Lamont –

I had no idea that Council was considering the ordinance it adopted last night regarding County employees’ service on boards of directors. I was away on vacation when the first reading occurred and never learned of the proposal until someone told me about the post on Bernie's blog this morning.

I didn't realize how much our hiring of Ross Marcus disturbed Council members. I sent President Cusick an apology but got no response.

The federal law that authorizes the existence of Community Action Agencies like ours requires us to include elected officials or their appointed representatives on our boards. In fact, at least one-third of our board must represent that public sector.

For more than 40 years, we have had designated seats for representatives of the two counties and the three cities. For 30 years we have also included representatives of the communities with the next highest poverty rates; that means the Slatington area, Fountain Hill, and the Slate Belt, particularly Bangor.

The concept behind the federal law is that anti-poverty work should grow out of collaborative discussion involving all sectors of the community, which means the public sector, the private sector and low-income people themselves. I believe that process has served this region very well. You know from your own experience, for example, that it was CACLV that stepped up to take on the foreclosure crisis. I hope you know that we have many, many other examples of CACLV agility in taking on new community challenges.

It would be very unfortunate if Northampton County removed itself from that process. For that reason I will be encouraging the County executive to veto the ordinance.

As an aside, I had no idea that you had such disdain for this agency or me. If there is anything I can do to heal that relationship I hope you will give me that opportunity.

Best –


McClure's Reply to Jennings:

Frank Flisser [Council Clerk] forwarded your email to me. It’s always unfortunate, when people personalize an issue. Indeed, while the genesis for this Ordinance was the Ross Marcus hiring, this issue has little, to nothing to do with CACLV, in my mind. I don’t have any personal disdain for you or your organization. As you correctly noted, I’ve worked successfully with your CACLV in the past to help folks threatened by foreclosure. As you may remember, I was the author of the Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program in Northampton County and I fought to get it passed. I will work with CACLV again when it is in the best interests of the people of Northampton County.

With respect to the substance of the issues you raise in your email, Northampton County law was violated when you hired Ross Marcus. That violation of the law will not be addressed in the short term as CACLV is essentially a sole source provider for certain of the human services that it provides to the County. I understood you to have said that you had no fear of the contracts being put out to bid as you would mostly likely be the only bidder or the lowest bidder. That tells me you understood what the law in Northampton County was, but due to your leverage, you chose to hire Mr. Marcus anyway.

As for the provision that was passed last night, it is your right to advocate for a veto. In many ways, after the issues Mr. Stoffa raised last night, and that you reiterated today in your email, I look forward to the opportunity to attempt to override the veto as I don’t believe the manner in which Mr. Marcus came to be employed at CACLV in violation of Northampton County law, has been adequately vetted. Heretofore, the role, in the hiring of Mr. Marcus, of the board members who are also employees of Northampton County, has not been thoroughly explored.

We have also recently just passed through a situation where the County Controller was forced to resign a teaching position at the Community College. I certainly think teaching the leaders of tomorrow at a community college is a public good. However, the classes were during the regular work day, and while the Controller did not violate any law, he wisely chose to give up the post. In the override fight, it would probably also be important to review how much time Northampton County employees spend on CACLV business during regular county working hours.

While this Ordinance, was not meant to be personalized, you and Mr. Stoffa have done so, which is very unfortunate. This Ordinance was inspired by your actions in breach of your contracts with the county, but what it is meant to do is prevent county employees from serving two competing interests. The intent of the law is to ensure that county employees have the taxpayers best interests in mind at all times. I also believe you are technically mistaken regarding one point. Elected officials are not impacted by this Ordinance. Therefore, the County Executive, any of the 9 members of County Council, the Controller or even the DA could sit on CACLV’s board. Therefore, Northampton County will not disengage from the process.

Should you wish to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to call.


Anonymous said...

The law is the law...deal with it

Bernie O'Hare said...

It's not the law for ten days, during which time Stoffa can veto the ordinance.

Anonymous said...

Lets get this straight, Alan Jennings, you violate the law to give your unemployable bu8ddy Ross Marcus a job and it is McClure's fault?? Marcus was a terrible Human Services Director and this is the guy that you must hire?? Really?? Other counties he wanted to work for didn't seem to think so.

Hey Alan, instead of haring the guy your donors want you to hire, why not hire a qualified person or admit you created this position as a bailout for Marcus.

The bottom line is the county has a law against it and you, Marcus and Stoffa flaunted the law. You then use the poor as a shield for your actions putting them at risk.

Why is the CACLV Board not looking into your reckless and irresponsible actions.

Mr. McClure had to do this , since the original law has been ignored by the likes of you.

Bernie O'Hare said...

And this is not personal. ... Riiiiight.

Anonymous said...

Lamont didn't break any laws. You made the Baron situation personal,yet you endorse the breaking of county law by Jennings. Marcus went along with it, knowing it was against county law. That shows his true character.

every contract that CACLV has must by law be voided or at least put out to public bid.
Who knows, maybe Jennings is full of crap and someone will bid on it, in which case that bid will be automatically accepted and the law will be maintained.

This is not Mr. McClure's fault, this was brought on by the actions of Jennings, Marcus and Stoffa. They conspired to break county law, not Mr. McClure.

Good for Mr. Kraft for standing by the law.

Anonymous said...

Wow.. McClure's writing is choppy. He inappropriately uses commas.

Anonymous said...

this is the major problem of Norco - personal one-upmanship by a group of self centered a holes who fail to see the big picture - sort of a mini federal government. then you have the uninformed and non voting electorate. a sad combination.

my twin 4 year olds act better

if it wasn't so sad I would be laughing at you

Anonymous said...

The good part is we only have McClueless for two more years and then he will be gone. Yep, Gerrymandered right out on his dumb ass. He will be on the ballot in 2015. He will run for something. He can't make it as a lawyer without sucking on the public teat. It truly is sad that his vindictiveness creates such distractions for the Council, but that is the nature of McClueless. His budget actions has done nothing but gaurentee a huge tax increase in the near future. I voted for him on more than one occasion. That is the last time he gets my vote.

Anonymous said...

Lamont is right, to a degree. Marcus should never have been hired. It was a flagrant violation of County law, no matter how much some try to mitigate it. Very similar to Barron's violation of County law.

This, however, is a nasty and personal over-reaction to that offense.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"You made the Baron situation personal,yet you endorse the breaking of county law by Jennings. Marcus went along with it, knowing it was against county law."

I do not endorse breaking the law, but don't believe EVERY violation of the law should be pursued to the nth degree. Not even when Barron is the culprit.

In the Marcus case, the evil at which the revolving door ordinance is aimed (County employees enriching themselves with county vendors) does not exist. Hence, enforcing the law would be absurd.

In the Barron case, the evil at which the Charter was aimed (having a full time controller who spends the work day getting paid to do something else) did exist. But once he resigned that position, the evil goes away, just as Barron himself will go away in the next election. It would be pointless to pursue the violation.

John Stoffa, who has a county to run, does not want it mired down in hearings over barron or other unproductive crap. McClure would paralyze county government if he could.

There is no difference between McClure and the tea party extremists who shut down the federal government. Each would let government grind to a halt to get their way.

Anonymous said...

He got a created job with a huge county Human Services vendor, how is that not enriching himself??? Jennings hasn't needed this position for year and all of a sudden he "must",",must" hire Ross Marcus??

Please, I guess no one other than the Stoffa suck ups are buying that one.

He broke the law and no is pissing on the county for it. What a guy!

Anonymous said...

2:08 Barron/MacClure,

Are you jealous? Marcus has a job, but pretty soon neither of you won't. That is what happens when there is pandering and nepotism; no one likes you. You might do well for the short-term, but eventually your 15 minutes of fame are up. In Marcus' case, the good outweighed the wrong. And he is a stand-up, good guy. Now his job is secure. But all of you want to get the last say and try to steer contracts away from CALCV so you all can cut off your noses to spite your faces. Well newsflash! You guys don't look too great now and especially when your noses are missing. But MacClure has that unusual red glow to him anyway. His nose would have looked like Rudolph. Maybe it is best he does cut off his nose just in time for Christmas.

Anonymous said...

I thought all of council voted on this and voted yes. Why complain afterwards? I am polar opposite Ross in my politics but don't see there elm here. Baron on the other hand was paid by us to travel to and from his other job. He also needed time to change clothing. So maybe at an hour a day that the taxpayer paid him for or maybe more. This is theft by a controller. He should know better.

Anonymous said...

The law is the law and Jennings sand Marcus broke it. Nuff said!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

3:41 there was no vote on the breach. But Council appeared to be satisfied that the danger that the revolving door ordinance was designed to eliminate, did not exist.

Anonymous said...

The guy got a job from one of his biggest vendors. If that is not avilolati8on of the law nothing is.

Stop coddling criminals!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Tricia Mezzacappa, don't drink and blog. And stop impersonating Gregory on his F/ B page .