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Monday, January 13, 2014

Longenbach Considered as Brown Director of Admin

Bethlehem Attorney Karl Longenbach, an active Democrat, was Solicitor to former Northampton County Executive John Stoffa for seven of his eight years in office. But he resigned after Council refused to create a $102,900 supervisory position for another attorney in his own office. His argument at the time was that these full-time assistants add professionalism.

He has a point. Municipal law is becoming increasingly specialized, and a county can only benefit from having attorneys who practice nothing else. District Attorney John Morganelli obviously thinks that's true in the criminal arena. He has gradually replaced part-time veteran assistants, as they retire, with career prosecutors.

But the fatal flaw in Longenbach's argument was his own relationship with the full-time solicitor he wanted to promote. There was nothing professional about that. It was a clear violation of the County's nepotism policy, This, plus numerous complaints about this lawyer, is probably why Council passed on promoting her.

Now we have a new Solicitor, Vic Scomillio. He wants to abolish all full-time assistants in his office. Go figure. My guess is he wants to get rid of this assistant, who with Longenbach was an avid Callahan supporter.

Well, while Vic cleans house in the Solicitor's office, Executive John Brown was seriously considering Karl Longenbach, the guy who created that mess, as his next Director of Administration. In fact, if what I'm told is to be believed, it is actually Longenbach who ultimately passed on the opportunity.

Now I know why Brown chose to be secretive about his picks.

You could say that Brown, like Stoffa before him, is bipartisan and is just interested in what is best for the County. Unless nepotism and a terribly disorganized office is good for the County, I'd think you'd want to stay away from Longenbach.

So why did Brown go after Longenbach?

Two words. Richard McAteer.

Or three words. Lehigh Valley Partnership.

In Northampton County, Andy Daub and McAteer are two of the loudest voices of our unelected aristocracy, the Lehigh Valley Partnership. If they had things their way, we'd have no elections at all. Just municipalities with CEOs.

McAteer made his dough in Bethlehem Steel with all the other bluebloods, before it went broke. Then he got himself involved with a company called Computer Aid. That company took off.

Back in 2007, Computer Aid tried unsuccessfully to get the County work for IT services under Anthony Salvaggio. He's yet another heavy hitter whose name always appears on campaign donor lists.

Whether it's McAteer or Salvaggio, we're talking heave duty campaign money to those who will help them financially. It's an urban growth regime in which politicians and the bluebloods share an uneasy alliance. Although they favor Republicans, they will donate to Democrats like Edwin Pawlowski, who do their bidding.

These guys aren't really Democrats or Republicans. Their God and party is money. How else could NIZ developer J.B. Reilly justify an indoor basketball court while screwing Allentown's inner city kids out of a decent education?

Supposedly retired, McAteer still injects himself in things, as long as he can stay in the background. He's one of the Partnership boys on the RenewLV Board. He's on the Board at Lafayette College, chairs the Easton Redevelopment Authority, and has been doing his damned best to help out fellow millionaires like Wolf Building developer Mark Mulligan in Easton.

As Shadow Mayor during the Phil Mitman era, McAteer pretty much destroyed Easton. Sal Panto had nowhere to go but up. Although Panto has kept McAteer close, he goes his own way, thank God.

McAteer is the Easton Redevelopment Authority board director, who pushed Northampton County recently to violate its own law. He got them to reduce the assessment for the Wolf building for his millionaire pal Mulligan, long after the time for taking an appeal had passed.

McAteer and his right arm, Easton DCED Director Gretchen Longenbach, have already wrangled all kinds of grants and breaks for this guy all over Easton. They were even working to place the Wolf Building in a KOZ. That's a special tax mechanism that would mean virtually no taxes at all, not even property taxes, for ten years. But they wanted more. They wanted the County to drop its selling price. They wanted the assessment reduced, too.

After getting the matter in front of the County's Revenue Appeals Board improperly, the assessment was reduced. It was a 2-2 tie-vote. And guess who broke it? McAteer. He gave his proxy to another member in what seems like yet another abuse of authority by a quasi judicial board.

McAteer likes Gretchen Longenbach, and wants her to work for the County. But she makes too much money. She collects three salaries as Easton's DCED Director, Easton Redevelopment Authority Exec Director and Greater Easton Development Partnership Exec Director.

But Karl Longenbach, her father, is another story. He could add three years to his County pension. He might even save his girlfriend's job.

Never mind that he has absolutely no administrative experience and basically ruined one County office. McAteer says it's ok.

Brown, when he was sworn in last week, said he's here to serve. But apparently, he's here to serve the Lehigh Valley Partnership, not the people who actually elected him.

That's what bothers me about our local officials. Instead of representing the vast majority of us who do not own multinational corporations, these guys fall over each other to kiss the ass of the business interests that have pretty much ruined the Lehigh Valley over the past two generations with rampant overdevelopment and a disdain for the very people who made them rich.

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

Callahan is also connected to theses guys. Joe Uliana was Callahan's buddy and he lobbies for Computer Aid! Would you be all over those if pay to play Callahan was elected.

Oh and wasn't Joe all about Swaptions and getting the state house and senate to allow school districts and municipalities to enter swaps.

Just saying. Your argument is full of contradictions. I can find flattering articles about Gretchen you wrote not long ago. Bernie your loosing it!

Anonymous said...

Karl is the best and will be great. He has more county know how than most of Stoffa's other appointments. You know when the Republicans pushed Stoffa to hire an inexperienced Ross Marcus, you didn't say a peep.

You are just pissed that you have lost your insider status. The employees at the courthouse are thrilled that they no longer have to fear you. They know you will smear people when you get mad but are happy with Mr. Brown at this point. They were terrified of Callahan and the poisonous atmosphere he created in Bethlehem.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Longenbach is a good and decent man. Bernie is not used to hanging out with such people, so try to be tolerant.

Anonymous said...

Picking Karl would be an excellent start! Karl would give Brown great advice and knows county operations form both legislative and executive sides.

Anonymous said...

longenback is a conniving leech on society. a lousy lawyer his only claims to fame are sucking on the public teat and womanizing.

Brown has been able to make stoffa look brilliant (which he isn't) in less than two weeks.

Anonymous said...

anon 2:00 and 5:48


nice try gretchen

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Callahan is also connected to theses guys. Joe Uliana was Callahan's buddy and he lobbies for Computer Aid! Would you be all over those if pay to play Callahan was elected. "

I am opposed to the pernicious influence of an unelected urban growth regime, and it makes no difference to me whether they have bought Democrats or Republicans. Brown is their servant.Had Callahan been their servant, I'd be after him.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"You know when the Republicans pushed Stoffa to hire an inexperienced Ross Marcus, you didn't say a peep."

Was Marcus a tool of the LV PartnershiP? Did he violate the county's nepotism policy? And was he inexperienced, or are you saying that bc you don't like the decisions he made when human services took your sister away?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Picking Karl would be an excellent start! Karl would give Brown great advice and knows county operations form both legislative and executive sides."

Karl ruined the Solicitor's office, was undependable, and had a relationship that violated the county's nepotism policy. It is sheer idiocy to even consider him. The fact that Brown did so indicates he is getting and taking bad advice.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I will add that Callahan angered the LV Partnership with what really was mild criticism of the NIZ. That translated into $50k in contributions against him.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully you are just making this shit up, but you certainly can fault Mr. Brown for not having these picks lined up at the time of his swearing in. A controversial pick for public defender, no Sheriff, no Directors of Administration, Finance, Human Services, Economic Development, etc. announced yet. He's either off to a slow start or is over his head.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Unfortunately, this is all too true

Anonymous said...

Disgusting.

But, we can't be surprised.

Those who seek and gain power, feeding egos, filling wallets, fucking the help and the taxpayer.

We had two evils to choose from. Neither, if your account is to be believed, was the lesser.

Same trough, different pigs.

-Clem

Anonymous said...

Any least Callahan had a plan and rand a government for the last ten years. We elected a consultant with no job and nor real worl experience. The voters where led so far astray with this guy they even voter for a John Birch society councilman and 3 known T-party hacks. Thank god I won't be here to see this mess to the final accident.

Anonymous said...

Blue blood connection is real close to the mark. Give it a little time to unfurl before the rush to judgement ensues. Sometimes the means justifies the end result. JB's MO is to proceed slowly but surely toward the ultimate goal. All in good time so try to be patient. Give him a chance to prove his mettle here at county.

Anonymous said...

Democracy is an imperfect system/philosophy of government and you got to roll with the whims of those who actually cast ballots. Make the best of it and maybe you will be surprised at the outcome despite the misgivings. The people spoke..move on..

Anonymous said...

Tea party labels attached to new council members may not be truly fair. Phillips? Yes he most definitely is. The others? Not so sure and we will see where the voting goes. I believe Seth is a voice of reason and he will have a lot to say as to policy and spending and will not always vote as you think he might.

Anonymous said...

B.O.-
Any thoughts on the double dipping former deputy warden Mike Bateman being arrested for a hit and run DUI? He was collecting a hefty pension from the taxpayers as well sucking up a part-time gig in the Matos Administration. Maybe one of the biggest cheerleaders of the fraudulent CEC program needs a dose of it himself. I hope that Mr.Brown turns his attention to trimming the fat in the prison administration and give these fat cats a wake up call........and while he's at it, cut that anchor on the taxpayers CEC! I work in the courthouse and have to deal with unprofessionals on a daily basis.

Anonymous said...

Brown is clearly out of his depth and in over his head. sad for the county this could have been avoided.

Anonymous said...

10:51. You get your chance to see how Seth will vote next Thursday night. If he votes party line for Sletvold for CPD you know he is another party line voter. So let's re visit this post in 11 day, ok?

Anonymous said...

Will Seth marry his baby nmama? It would be the Republican thing to do.

Anonymous said...

Will wait to see how Mr. Vaughn does later this week. I am optimistic that he is not owned by anyone and will do the right thing. As to the jail..your post above is spot on target. You nailed it and JB knows all about the jail and hopefully will take action there.

Anonymous said...

Karl is the only Stoffa person worth keeping. Karl knows the system and Brown could sue that help.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Karl is no Stoffa person.He is a Karl person, although he certainly knows how to work the system for his own benefit.

Anonymous said...

The same guys had the system wired to take the reins no matter who won. It would be the same story had Callahan won. Billy Givens warned us about this for years. You're more ginned up now because your guy lost. He had the same friends. Money comes to money and these are smart guys. Money in politics sucks. Stop the presses.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I agree the LV Partnership would be knocking at Callahan's door, too. But guess what? There are some pols still left who tell the LV Partnership to take a hike. That includes Stoffa, Seyfried, Morganelli, Angle and a few others. My guy did lose. Would I point it out if he started playing with them? I think so. But it probably would be in a more friendly way at least at first, so you have a valid criticism.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I miss Billy.

Anonymous said...

"Stoffa, Seyfried"

Longenbach was OK when he worked for Stoffa but not now.

Both Stoffa and Seyfried were into the Partnership guys. Seyfried loved them until they dumped him for Brackbill. He though they loved him but never really did.
Stoffa's top campaign contributor Jack Bradt former Republican Cahir was a big time Partnership guy and probably still is.

So please Bernie spread your disinformation somewhere else.

Your boy Stoffa is gone and your boys Callahan and Angle are out with good reason.

Morganelli has been collecting big dollars for years and raking it in form his attorneys. You are an angry drama queen.

Peter J.Cochran said...

Bernie I'm not judging anyone here as I know some of the subjects, BUT< I hope this is not a shameless example of political patronage over performance. My issue as a taxpayer is : Do we discourage competent entry employees from even applying at county government ,because they don't know anyone tat can get them hired? I think so. Now not that some are good folks its just that the pool of candidates are stifled . .

Bernie O'Hare said...

7:22,

1) Longenbach was not "OK" when he worked for Stoffa. Something happened to him. I wrote a number of critical pieces.

2) Stoffs took no money from anyone when he ran for his second term as Exec. He refused to play that game.

3) Seyfried never had anything to do with the LV Partnership.

4) Morganelli refused to go along with the regional crime center, and was punished for that by getting no contribtions from the LV Partnership in his '08 bid for AG. He has never gone to a single one of their secret meetings.

5) Angle was there once, told them what he thought of them, and hasn't been back.

Peter J.Cochran said...

Does the talent pool leave the valley? Answer is YES Now some would stay her for family issues IF tey could get a fair shot. I dumber than some others stayed here and FOUGHT it out. I remember applying for domestic relation investigator,What happwned was they hired a fellow tat did not even appear in the room on a snow bound morning. I sent a legal table around the room so I wound have all the names of the applicants ,guess what? The guy they hired was nOT even in the test !

Leopold Wunderlich said...

Over at SPG they are tearing you apart Peter J. Cochran you should make an appearance.

Peter J.Cochran said...

Sorry. Lap top missing HHHHH's No worst wast Easton Civil Service Board , they had the PERSONNEL DIRECTOR as recording secretary ? is this how we do business? Here I was a Vietnam Veteran from the U.S.Marine Corps with 3 campaign stars and they don't apply veterans preference to me! Had to fight tat out also.Politics are ... ,but duty politicians should be be regularly HUNG FROM STREET LIGHTS. assholes!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Leopold, you can commiserate with those cRaZies, but do me a favor and don't anonymously instruct my readers what they should be doing.

Anonymous said...

"Seyfried never had anything to do with the LV Partnership."

You are so wrong. But you love the guy so you won't accept the truth.

Anonymous said...

"should be be regularly HUNG FROM STREET LIGHTS. assholes!"

Are you insane or just naturally nuts?

Anonymous said...

Still no thoughts from my comment at 11:53 Bernie? Please don't tell me you're going soft on the Prison Admin! We have tons of problems here in the courthouse but the Prison Admin makes our problems look tiny. I feel sorry for the subordinates who are stuck carrying those deadbeats.

Bernie O'Hare said...

No, I know very little about the matter. I do know that a DUI is the kind of offense that could happen to a next door neighbor and is not necessarily a sign of a problem. I also know that, aside from McClure, the CEC program has been regarded a success. Finally, you are off topic. If you want to attack someone, especially when he is down, you are going to have to identify yourself and accept responsibility for your words.

Anonymous said...

Stoffa loved CEC = Bernie loves CEC. Simple math!

Anonymous said...

1. Your psychopathology is increasingly manifest. Your father is dead. Its no use trying now trying to prove to him in your Angle like man of the people feeding your bloated ego way that you actually possess any human value or worth. He was only left with the knowledge that you violated your professional ethics to the harm of those who had the misfortune of being represented by you. What a disappointment in a son.
2. You are as usual misinformed. If you knew the truth or cared at all to learn the truth you would know that the trail of disparagement spun out across the internet is unwarranted.
3. Anyone who gives you even an ounce of credibility is as pathetic as you are.
4. Keep up the good work. Why don't you devote your efforts to advancing the urban development you decry. Of that would take, education, talent, skill, creativity and dedication all of which you lack. You are left with the cause of discouraging anyone who would consider working for a public body knowing the calumny that awaits them.

5. Its obvious why comments are anonymous. No one wants to have his or her name associated with your yellow journalism.

Anonymous said...

anon 2:44 Ouch!! and Bingo!!

Anonymous said...

the comments about Stoffa and seyfried being into the Lehigh Valley Partnership are really interesting. How did they participate? Not every program supported by the partnership lined the pockets of individuals. Some of the programs were needed. i.e. Route 22 Improvements, Building of Route 33 bridge, bringing jobs to the valley, route 512 expansion,development of Bethlehem Steel properties, land preservation, (if I might ass that program flies in the face of the Partnership)and the list gos on and on.etc. etc Thank you John Stoffa and Gerry Seyfried for being there for us. Please give me some examples where these two men sold us out. Thank you

Celtic Warrior said...

@2:44 I was walking into Panera around 3:15Pm this afternoon and while waiting in line noticed a doughy middle aged man sobbing uncontrollably while staring at an Ipad. After ordering thought it would be nice to walk over and console him but as I looked closer and the stench grew realized it was none other than the infamous Bernie O'Hara staring at your comment sitting next to a quart of bacon potato cheddar soup.

Anonymous said...

You are sick. Do yourself a favor and get some professional help. No one should have comments made about them like these.

Anonymous said...

"No one should have comments made about them like these."

have you ever read this log?

Anonymous said...

Purify yourself; you need it!

Anonymous said...

Karl is a good and decent man. He knows the county and I hope he gets the appointment.

Anonymous said...

bo u werent involved in 89 and 93. Seyfried's life ambition was to hang with the lv partnership big wigs, big biz call them what u will. They hated him in 89 and backed him in 89. Stoffa went with the big biz agenda or where bradt told him to go. Reibman wanted longenback but salomon wanted spirk in there.

Anonymous said...

biz backed seyfreid in 93 but not 89 that honor was all bradts

Anonymous said...

Bernie, interesting that we hear no more news on Permit's being wavied for new businesses in Easton, 3rd street fish market ? too bad Daddy's Place didn't get special treatment. Need to watch Mulligan's new place closely.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The fees were not waived. They were reduced. Now Easton is going the other way, and refuses to waive fees for nonprofits trying to improve the community.

Peter J.Cochran said...

Tax breaks in the long run , don't work historically. Additionally , the fact that Anom 2;26 am from I would guess a government owned system would that HANG FROM LAMP POST literally --broadcasts to me that this author IS STUPID. Here is another test of logic about politicians here on Bernie's blog, Mr. or Ms Anon 2;26- Who were the villains? , Benito Mussolini -or the folks that hung him outside a widow ledge in 1945?

Anonymous said...

Peter, so you are a tax expert as well as a military genius. Still no job.

C.

Peter J.Cochran said...

Right! I feed my birds.In Pennsylvania real estate exemption is based upon an anachronistic historical premise that EASTON HOSPITAL for example is a statutory privileged landowner requiring public support to SUBSIDIZE their so-called "charitable"activities regardless of their ability to pay.It was created asto encourage their growth. Guess what, In different economy politicians pontificate about expanding the income base by taxing previously exempt items and activities. This hospital paid not real estate taxes. When it was sold to a for-profit corporation it magically became subject to real estate taxation The same buildings ,render the same services and employs the same personnel as when it was a so called "CHARITABLE" institution.- What do you have in cross, Mr.C 4;41?

Anonymous said...

Time for bed Peter. Dream of gun champions

Anonymous said...

Wow. Your commentary on Dick MacAteer is so off the mark it's laughable. You know nothing at all about Easton. You have shown that time and time again. Best to either understand what you are choosing to comment on, or keep your mouth shut.

Bernie O'Hare said...

My remarks about McAteer are pretty much on the money. If anything, they are not detailed enough. It is McAteer who found a soft landing for Mitman after running Easton into the ground for him. It is McAteer who took Brown all over the place, introduced him to the LVPartnership, and got him a sit on the RenewLV Board. It is McAteer who trampled all over county law for a rich fat cat named Mulligan. Shall I go on? I shall. Contrary to what assholes like you think, it is not blue bloods like you who made this country great. It is a little thing called the First Amendment, which enables me to speak truth to power. That's what really bothers you.