Thursday, February 06, 2014

Scott "Pinocchio" Ott

Lehigh County Comm'r and two time County Exec wannabe Scott Ott has started off 2014 by doing what he does best - playing Pinocchio. At a news conference in Harrisburg last week, Ott announced that Lehigh County does not collect union dues for its workforce because it's a home rule county. His remarks are complete bullshit. He's incredibly misinformed for an incumbent Commissioner who thinks he should be running the County, ior is playing word games as pols and preachers like to do.  

Ott was one of a chorus of conservatives who thinks government should be barred from deducting union dues, especially when it includes political contributions. He spoke in support of a house bill to that effect, proposed by Lancaster County State Rep. Bryan Cutler.

Locally, that bill has the support of State Representatives Joe Emrick, Gary Day and Ryan MacKenzie. We could argue all day about the relative merits of this legislation. But in his report of this event, Pennsylvania Legislative Service's Jason Gottesman writes,
Scott Ott, Lehigh County Commissioner, said the legislation stops the Commonwealth from picking the pocket of an individual and directing that money to a labor union. He stated the measure puts a layer of defense around an elected official by disallowing honest work to be viewed in the light of impropriety. “It is a dynamic that has led to sometimes baseless accusations,” he said and argued allowing the voluntary contribution allows for more sovereignty over property and removes the shadow of impropriety from elected officials. He said Lehigh County, as a home rule county, has chosen to not collect dues on behalf of third parties. He encouraged the governor to actively and publicly work to ensure the bill, which he said he would sign, actually gets to his desk.
(Emphasis added).

This is completely untrue.

In the only union contract approved since Ott became a Commissioner, which was for Deputy Sheriffs, the contract expressly requires the County to withhold dues and remit them to the union.

True, Lehigh County Commissioners recently adopted a resolution calling on Executive Tom Muller to remove automatic dues deductions in upcoming negotiations, but it's nonbinding.

It has about as much validity as a resolution banning snowstorms for the rest of the Winter.

Ott has a growing list of misstatements.

- In 2013, while running for Exec, he bragged that he "cut spending" right after voting to approving a budget that both increased spending to the County's highest level ever.

- In 2012, he jammed a reassessment against the recommendation of the Executive, which increased county and school taxes on ten of thousands of mostly low-income residents despite a promise that he never would increase anyone's taxes by a single dime.

- In 2011, he told voters he had a specific plan to "roll back" the 16% tax increase. although that hasn't happened and no such plan ever existed.

In his most recent Exec race, Ott claimed that everything he needed know to do the job he learned as a school bus driver. Too bad that din't include telling the truth.


Anonymous said...

And don't forget his 2009 Executive run when he was saying he had the power to cut from the whole 360 million budget and not just the ~100 million that came from local tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

Unlike Musty Muller, Scott is honest about his beliefs and not trying to pad another pension.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Well, he sure as he'll isn't honest about facts.

Anonymous said...

You're basing your post on a third party report of the event, not on direct quotes. Then you're twisting it to suit your purpose.

As readers of this blog know, you can't believe everything you read.

Anonymous said...

regardless of whether you've twisted anything, it sounds like you believe that government SHOULD collect union dues used for political donations. That sure is cozy

Anonymous said...

Bernie, don't forget that Ott's a racist who practically calls for black children to be tortured and executed. He's also responsible for all this snow and bad water at the Sochi Olympics. Let 'em have it, Bernie. Scream louder, too.

Anonymous said...

completely unfit to govern. A true example of what is wrong with Washington at every turn

FAH KIN AH SUM said...

Ott's train of thought derailed - there were no survivors

Anonymous said...

Looks like either Dean "I'm butt hurt because I got rejected by the voters twice" Browning or Tom "I can't wait to raise taxes" Muller continues to spoon feed you information.

While I'm no fan of tea-party people like Ott, I wonder what magic potion Browning or Muller made you drink to post this blog. Union dues are being involuntarily deducted from worker's paychecks and being used for political purposes that in some cases, the workers do not support the political stance of the union officials. Municipal governments are being the free collection agency, and no other organization has that right.

Maybe telling people that part of the story might do some good, instead of bashing individual, part-time legislators.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:58

You might include that Ott was twice rejected by voters in what were very favorable years for R's (just look at how R's did in Northampton County in 2013 and 2009).

We can debate the merits and problems with deducting union dues. However keep in mind that deduction process is approved during contract ratification by the very membership that pays those dues. So one argument could be that union members have elected to have the money taken out of their paycheck just like any other self directed deduction (such as to a credit union, to Vanguard, etc). And the counter is that without the automatic deduction unions would not be able to collect the dues and would be financially weakened. So a better debate might be what item do you trade in the negotiation process to get that provision dropped.

However, that all misses the primary point of Bernie's post which is that Ott has a very lose relationship with telling the truth. Part-time legislator or not, Ott has claimed he cut spending when the facts are otherwise. And since you mentioned Browning, Ott ran against him in 2011 saying that he and his bloc had a plan to completely get rid of the 16% tax increase, balance the budget and to stop spending down the reserves. How has that worked out? And Ott didn't run in 2011 saying he wouldn't be able to do any of what he was promising since he would be "just a part-time legislator". Instead he made a commitment to voters and he hasn't come close to fulfilling in 2 plus years.

Anonymous said...

You'll recall Gary Day was Mayor Bill
"It's a done deal" Heydt's go to guy.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"You're basing your post on a third party report of the event, not on direct quotes. Then you're twisting it to suit your purpose"

Yeah, that third party source is the Pennsylvania legislative Service. I'll add that Ott has made similar remarks to anti-union Mediatrackers.

Ott tries to pretend that a nonbinding resolution is the equivalent of state law and that LC can do whatever it wants. He is wrong on both counts and must now that, or is dumber than I thought.

"Lehigh County has the power to enforce such a measure on its own because it operates under a city charter or Home Rule, which gives it some autonomy from the state.

And though Muller could refuse to negotiate the removal of automatic dues deductions, the commissioners have the power to take over contract negotiations on behalf of the county. A few years ago, the commissioners delegated the responsibility of contract negotiating to the executive, but they could take back the reins at any time.

“If the executive should decide that he disagrees with the board, the board still has the option of retracting his delegated authority to negotiate these contracts,” Ott said."

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Bernie, don't forget that Ott's a racist"

You may think it's a minor matter but Ott did anger many at a NAACP debate in Allentown, and I quoted one woman who told me his remarks offended her as an African American.

I will giver credence to her, but none to an anonymous political hack like you, whose unhealthy obsession with this topic makes me wonder about you, too.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"regardless of whether you've twisted anything, it sounds like you believe that government SHOULD collect union dues used for political donations. That sure is cozy"

I blogged about that topic in January.

Don't try the bait and switch. the topic here is Scott Ott and his strange relationship wit the truth.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Looks like either Dean "I'm butt hurt because I got rejected by the voters twice" Browning or Tom "I can't wait to raise taxes" Muller continues to spoon feed you information."

Translation: I want to divert attention from what O'Hare is saying, so I'll trash him, Muller and Browinging by claiming that either Ott or Muller fed this to O'Hare. I'll insult them while I'm at it. And I'll remain anonymous bc i am dishonest just like Ott.

Anonymous said...

Muller's unattractive.
Ott's a nut bag.

Anonymous said...

When Stoffa and his gang were fighting the unions trying to screw them, O'Hare was here everyday calling out the union thugs. He wanted to bust up th public unions an destroy everything about them. But of course Stoffa is a huge O'Hare mancrush.

Now that Scott Ott and Lisa want to stop the public union menace O'Hare goes after them. he hates Ott so he changes his view.

Don't be fooled people. Stoffa didn't;t just want to end dues he wanted to bust the unions and O'Hare did everything he could to help.

This is just a personal vendetta by O'Hare against Scott.

Bernie O'Hare said...

As I've already pointed out this post has nothing to do with the validity of the idea. This post has everything to do with the honesty of Scott Ott. The personal attack at me is nothing more than a bait and switch.

As far as public-sector unions are concerned I have been highly critical of them in the past and remain so. When they formed a lynch mob and attempted to have an employee fired unfairly I spoke out against them. When they demanded doubletime or triple time for covering a Friday night football game I spoke out. I question why they are even necessary. But I would prefer to see union members make these decisions as opposed to some Harrisburg Republican

Anonymous said...

God save Lehigh Co. and Allentown.
Two sets of pathetic options.

Anonymous said...

The duchebag who introduced this Bill in Harrisburg is on PCN now. He is talking up how this is such wonderful compromise while talking down the fact it is all about Republican politics and and protecting their own boys. He even admit they took out the cops and other safety folks too get it passed. How about nursing home workers?

This guy is another slick young teabagger. What bushtit.

Anonymous said...

Hey O'Hare what is the take on this in Northampton County? We have a new government that if not teabagger is teabagger friendly. What is happening and will this be something they go after?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Hey O'Hare" is not the way to talk to someone. People like you make the tea party look pretty good.

Anonymous said...

State law allows union dues to be deducted from paychecks. These are funds needed to maintain offices and staff, similar to your country clubs and private clubs, in order to function. The law is specific, in that, no moneys shall be deducted and used for political purposes. Union members give money individually (privately) to support political activities, not through payroll deductions, which by law is illegal right now.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Then I have no problem with current practice.