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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Purge Begins

Vic stumping for Team R in the Fall
"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."

As reported in The Express Times, incoming Northampton County Exec John Brown seems to be following the bard's advice. Almost all the lawyers in the Solicitor and Public Defender office received their walking papers today.

Republican Vic Scomilio, an excellent attorney who has often been considered a potential judge, has been nominated as Brown's new Solicitor. Vic will take over the reins from Democrat Dan Spengler.

I believe a few Assistant Solicitors have survived, like Dave Backenstoe. Those are political patronage jobs, and they change when party shifts occur. But it would be insane to get rid of the County's best municipal lawyer, especially since he is a Republican.

It is unclear to me whether Brown will also replace the two full-time solicitors, who are career service.

Bob Sletvold reportedly is being considered for the Public Defender slot, where he would replace Mike Corriere. Most of the patronage lawyers there were being given their walking papers on Friday.

Bob is a great lawyer, but I don't know if he wants the job. It creates a conflict. His wife Jennifer was just elected judge. If he is Chief Public Defender, she will be unable to preside over almost all criminal and juvenile matters.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Would like to heat more on Mr. Browns philosophy on the rest of his cabinet. I wish he would consider interviews, accept applications. Who knows what he would come up with.

I hope he just doesn't plug in whomever Andy Daub and the partnership tell him to hire as favors. He is facing some big challenges and he needs to be creative and make even surprise some folks. He needs some real experience and knowledge.

Anonymous said...

In a world where experience means keeping the same old same old, it's refreshing to finally see new blood. His first major move seems quite creative and very solid. The endless Andy Daub whining reminds me of my three year old granddaughter when she needs her nap.

Anonymous said...

You can't get rid of "career service" employees unless it's for "JUST CAUSE". Good luck with that.
It has been tried and tested many times. Career service employees are not only protected by the "home rule charter", their cases have also been heard in the courts and upheld at that level. Just Cause is the key here. You better have a good reason for firing a career service employee.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I agree, That is why it is called "career" service. Employees in those positions have property rights. So I believe the removal of a FT employee is contrary to the constitution as a general rule. The Exec is entitled to some confidential employees under the HRC. It could be that all solicitors, by virtue of the legal advice they give the Exec, should be considered confidential employees.

But then again, council just eliminated a career service job and told the employee to shut up when she protested. One of the lowest things I've seen, just to be vindictive, led by union agent Kraft. He only likes workers who belong to a union.

Bernie O'Hare said...

4:36, not much transparency.

Anonymous said...

I think that we have been misled on this transparency issue by state and federal models. The last presidential election produced a transition team of thousands and a multi million dollar budget. The last governor's election in PA produced a transition team with over 400 members. Some teams assigned to state departments had thirty to forty members. We don't have to make government that difficult. Brown's approach is correct. He should choose his closest advisers without public interference. He does not need big committees and big press conferences to announce his choices. Any candidate would have those key, few choices already lined up. As far as the rest, take your time. It took Obama and Corbett over 18 months to name many minor replacements. This call for a transparent, open process is out of place when making appointments. That should be a confidential and private undertaking. I know you disagree, but Brown has the ultimate responsibility to make good choices. If he chooses wisely, he will be rewarded. If he chooses badly, he will receive a ton of criticism.The only conspiracy theory that works-forget Andy Daub- is that we have a new county executive and expect new administrators as what normally happens following every general election.

Anonymous said...

Tell the truth Ohare, she talked on Wednesday and was told by Cusic a republican and council president that it was not nescerarry for her to speak again, that it was vetted the day before. But in your small mind that means "told to shut up" stop the lies, they knew the position was being cut months before it was, no surprises like your boy a Brown did, firing everybody the day before Christmas.

Anonymous said...

How do you know Brown hasn't interviewed or accepted resumes? Because he hasn't publicized it? Brown has spent the last month with over 100+ candidates for varied positions. He is doing it the right way-out of the public's eye.

Bernie O'Hare said...

10:27m, I told the truth. She spoke on Wednesday to some members of Council who were unwilling to listen to her. Kraft refused to even look at the memo she gave him. Then before the full Council, she was told to sit down and shut up. They did not want to hear from her. That is the truth. It was a disgusting display, done unanimously, by an arrogant Council led by a union agent who was being vindictive. Moreover, she was not given months notice, as you falsely claim. This woman had her civil rights violated at Kutztown when she and a group of other workers were let go bc of their age. Now you violated her due process rights, and she will sue and she will win, just like Alan Fowler did. It's just too bad they can't get the money from you personally. I see no reason why taxpayers should be penalized for your idiocy.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"He should choose his closest advisers without public interference."

Wow! I've got news for you. His closest advisers have to be confirmed by the representatives of the public. I agree that the public need not sit in on interviews or see who has applies. They should know his choices as soon as he does, and should know who is advising him. That is called transparency.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" no surprises like your boy a Brown did, firing everybody the day before Christmas."

This was known on the day after the election. All the patronage jobs would go to the Rs. It has happened before and will happen again. This is noting like firing some poor lady who has nothing to do with politics just to be a vindictive prick as Ken Kraft did without notice a week or so ago. When you protest this kind of purge, you sound like what you are - a big phony.

Anonymous said...

Who really runs the county?

1. The People?
2. The Lawyers?
3. The Engineers?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Ken Kraft, Steve Barron and Lamont McClure think it should be AFSCME.

They don't give a shit about "the people."

Anonymous said...

Isn't AFSME a group of people? So now your saying all county employees are not people? It's a wonder you can even go in that building the way you feel all the employees are parasites and takers.

Bernie O'Hare said...

AFSCME is a group of people, just like lawyers or engineers or the LV Partnership are a group of people.

But they are not THE people, the ones voting on election day.

The attempt to equate county employees with the people or AFSCME is logically flawed. Moreover, most county employees in unions are not that crazy about the arrangement. When disciplinary action is taken, the unions are next to useless and have to be threatened before they actually help the union employee. Workers still go years without a raise and then, when they get it, it is peanuts. The unions did nothing to stop Easton from adopting its commuter tax, even though it would cost workers money. As long as the union is still getting its dues money it does not care.

I would agree that AFSCME has tended to be a parasite on the county worker and has done him no good. He is better off under career service.

That's why Kraft is trying to ruin career service. He wants people to flock to the unions, where they still get no real help.

There are very few voices for the people, whether it is the guy looking for a job in Hellertown or the low paid county worker. Not one member of the Council that fired that woman can ever call themselves a voice of the people.

Anonymous said...

The timing is ugly. Either shows insensitivity , lack of planning or who gives a f--- attitude. Think those terminated folks are gonna do any work for the next 2 weeks?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Agreed.

Anonymous said...

anon 10:36. Really?? If that were even half true there would have been some info leaked. People can smell bullshit even over a computer. Stop the nonsense. Being handed a list of "acceptable" names are not interviews.

Anonymous said...

Northampton County Solicitor's Office- Closed until 2014. Happy New Year suckers!!

Anonymous said...

I voted for brown, but if he purges Michael corriere, I can be relentless.

Bernie O'Hare said...

To be relentless, you should identify yourself. Corriere has been among those purged.