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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Allen Nomination in Scalding Water ... and Blogs Suck

Cathy Allen and "Dee" Freeman
Whether someone has a college degree has little to do with his or her ability to do a job. The best proof of that is Northampton County Executive John Brown, a Notre Dame alum. He has yet to learn the five-vote rule. Don't propose someone for a position or contract without ensuring in advance that you have the votes. So far, Brown has needlessly embarrassing Bob Sletvold, his failed nominee for Chief Public Defender. From there, Deana Zosky tanked as his proposed business consultant. Now, he's headed to almost certain defeat in his effort to persuade County Council to confirm Cathy Allen as his Director of Administration. At yesterday's Personnel Committee, Republican Hayden Phillips panned the nomination. If all four Democrats join Phillips, which seems likely, her nomination will fail. Thus far, only Council President Peg Ferraro and Glenn Geissinger have voiced their support. The vote is scheduled for tonight, unless Brown pulls the nomination.

Allen's Background

Currently a Deputy Director of Administration with about two months of experience, Allen has no previous County experience, although she has been a member of Bangor Borough Council for five years. Brown apparently got to know her there when he was Mayor. She has no education beyond a high school diploma, and her private sector experience consists of working in a two-person insurance office in which the other person was the boss.

Allen worked for Marino Saveri, another Bangor Borough Council member who also was Administrator of the Borough Authority. Saveri worked out some deal under which Borough Council members who acted as delegates to the Borough Authority received a monthly stipend. When Bangor's own Solicitor told them this was illegal, Allen voted (unsuccessfully) to continue the practice.

When her boss resigned from Borough Council, Allen was involved in the appointment of a volunteer coach who was soon thereafter charged with corrupting the morals of a minor. So was then Mayor Brown, who cast a tie-breaking vote to appoint this person, who turned out to be Marino Saveri's goddaughter. When this coach was charged, she resigned from office the next day. But Allen sat on the letter for a month not divulging it.  

So my concern is that Cathy Allen has had the wrong kind of life experience to be an $88,000 Director of Administration. Her resume falls far short of the qualifications spelled out by the County's Human Resources Department.

Yesterday, Allen continued to display her lack of transparency and accountability by declining to answer Council's questions. She sat there, and let others do the talking.

In a move worthy of Marino Saveri, she let one of the County's vendors make a pitch for her.

County vendor makes pitch for Allen

Millard "Dee" Freeman is the Administrator at Gracedale, the County nursing home. He's not a County employee, but works for Premier Health Care, a privatized service. He has no reason to get involved in County policy. But he has every reason in the world to speak highly of the County Executive and his proposed Director of Administration. After all, that could lead to his own contract being renewed.  So Freeman was at Allen's side yesterday, doing the talking for her.

Freeman said he was addressing Council to counteract some of the negative information he had read about Allen "on the blogs", which presumably is a reference to me. He called her one of those "people you go to when you want to get it done now." He praised the "amazing job" she did in addressing the nursing home's scalding water problem. "From Gracedale's perspective, I have to give her major kudos," he said.

He has known Allen about a month.

Council member Ken Kraft, who chairs the Personnel Committee was unhappy at the obvious attempt by Freeman to ingratiate himself with the brown administration. "It's odd that a vendor gets up and gives a statement for someone," he noted.

Freeman said his bosses would probably be unhappy with him.

"Yeah, I'm not very happy with it either," answered Kraft. "I don't think it's your place to come here and tell us how she works with you."

Nobody Likes the Blogs (Lehigh Valley Ramblings)

Freeman apologized, and again explained that he felt compelled to give a different picture than the one being presented "on the blogs". That's an obvious reference to me, since my blog is the only one that has discussed the Allen nomination. It worked. Kraft, whom I also hammered yesterday for his ridiculous proposal to make the Sheriff an elected office, jumped on the "I hate blogs" bandwagon.

"Well, I don't know how much people weigh blogs and blog inputs and things in these matters here on Council. So if that's where you got your information, you know ..."    

So there you have it. According to all of Northampton County officialdom, blogs suck.

I feel so special.

Allen's Qualifications Fall Short of Written Policy

Pointing out that Director of Administration is the "most important position" in County government, next to the Exec, Bob Werner observed that Allen's appointment would be contrary to written policy and criteria established by Human Resources. Kraft, noting the actual compensation is about $120,000, agreed that she falls short. "She's been in a two-person office, and the only person she supervises is herself." Kraft when on to say that if Council had a say in Deputy Director, she'd be unqualified for that, too.

Hayden Phillips compared her supplied resume against the job qualifications. "I can't get there, it's not even close," he observed.

The Arguments For Allen

Peg Ferraro stated that she believes in deferring to the Executive on cabinet appointments and has only voted once against a nomination in her 19 years as a Council member. Glenn Geissinger said her "life experiences" mean more than a sheet of paper.

Executive Brown piggybacked onto the "life experience" argument. "I have worked with Cathy for four years. I have come to depend on her heavily." He said her appointment is "in the highest and best interests of the County." He asked Council to give her an opportunity.

In the end,Werner and Kraft voted against the nomination, with Ferraro and Geissinger voting yes. It goes to Council tonight, where it seems headed to defeat.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Democrats are really screwing this up. At least one of them should vote for Allen to counteract Phillips and then force the remaining
Republicans to vote for her to get her in.

After a campaign for county council based on tea party principles, it would be interesting to see how Benol would vote. Giesinger has already showed he bullshited his way through the primary and general election.
Another Ferraro Rhino who said and promised what he had to, to get elected.

Anonymous said...

I'm seriously reconsidering my support for Peg if she is for this appointment.

Anonymous said...

Can't Executive Callahan do something about this???

Anonymous said...

Vacant - Director of Fiscal Affairs

county corruption said...

This is by far politics at its worst. John Brown reminds me of a couple friends of mine- both ivy league educated- both have absolutely no business sense- whatsoever! Three things determine an individuals salary: experience, performance, and time on the job- period. Cathy Allen meets none of the 3 criteria- anyone who votes for a person of this caliber- for the most important cabinet position in the entire county, needs to have their heads examined and should immediately resign from council. Northampton County deserves so much better! Earth to Peg....

Anonymous said...

I liked and respected Freeman until this blatant display of self-serving , ingratiating comments. He is a contractor who doesn't even live in the county, and yet supports a person who is clearly unqualified for the job. More Norco taxpayers should speak up against this travesty. Do they want their taxes used to pay an unqualified job candidate nearly $90 K a year and over $120 K with benefits when they themselves probably struggle to survive on half of that income? Council as elected officials represent the people, not the county exec. They are responsible for insuring that precious tax dollars are spent wisely. Peg and other supporters of this nomination have forgotten their fiduciary responsibilities by agreeing to having the county pay handsomely for an unqualified administrator.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Hayden Phillips. He's been an outstanding independent voice of reason on Council rather than a "Republican yes man" on these matters. Yet Bernie crapped on him during the election last year. Sadly John Brown is tone deaf and isn't up to the job we elected him to do.

gruntled said...

1:30 - Benol NEVER ran on Tea Party principles. I think he is now distancing himself from the current TP whackos.

Anonymous said...

thus far john brown's decision making really concerns me , it appears he just doesn't know what he's doing it's disappointing to watch ...as for allen's even wanting the job shows me she isn't up for the job , is she had any brains she would gracefully decline knowing full well she doesn't meet the criteria nor have a clue what the job entails.. what is wrong with peg ? the entire situation is very upsetting as a taxpayer i'm outraged ! hopefully , the right thing happens here and she isn't nominated...

Anonymous said...

Mr. Phillips is to be congratulated for his independent stance on major issues. He was a question mark for many but I see him now as a man of the people and not a party hack or nut job. He seems to have a ton of common sense and that is a rare quality indeed. Keep up the good work Hayden.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Ohare has been giving Phillips some credit lately for making good decisions. Nobody is above making a mistake - like those of us who thought Brown would do right by the county.

Anonymous said...

She would not defend herself? Imagine that. No confidence in her own abilities? Not willing to fight for JB and his pick? Afraid of the press maybe? Secrecy is her game..she learned from her master..20 years worth of lessons. Transparency is not an option..ever.

Anonymous said...

@746 CAPS.
Shouting Is rude. All caps is juvenile. Insults toward Allen that are suggestive about her private sex life shows you to be a complete scumbag. Stick to legitimate reasons why she doesn't deserve the appt.

Anonymous said...

Cathy..take the low profile patronage job hand out and move on. Be satisfied with the crumbs that fall off the county table.

Anonymous said...

If she had any bit of a conscience and true sense of loyalty to Brown..she would withdraw her own name. But she won't. Can't admit when something is wrong and do the right thing.

Anonymous said...

Should have said no thank you when JB asked you about this idea. Again..your master never turned down a chance to be greedy and grab as much as possible. Ethics never got in his way. Probably was lesson number 1.

Anonymous said...

These "Key Positions" make or break an Administration. You need Qualified Knowledgeable people to move your agenda forward. Of course some "on the job training" is necessary but it should be minimal. I would take twenty to thirty years experience in a specialty field over a college education neophyte any day of the week, if that person truly had the background, experience, and gained expertise in that respective field. Unfortunately this individual hasn't done that and therefore should not be approved as Director of Administration.

Anonymous said...

Obama had no experience, qualifications, etc ...

Got double standards?

Anonymous said...

JB's vision for the county is the correct one. The problem is carrying it out. He is an idealist at heart and can see where we need to go. Someone needs to talk to him soon and offer their assistance to him before we go too much further down the road and abate this PR nightmare that is unfolding on his door step. A General is only as good as the officers and enlisted men under his command.

Anonymous said...

Thank God for Blogs because the print media is horrible. How can a democracy survive unless the people are informed? Rumor around the courthouse is that JB is out to get you Bernie. He will do anything and everything to keep information away from you. He’ll be surprised, you need street smarts to tangle with BO and his appointments shows he’s lacking there.

Anonymous said...

JB should really seek out advice from those with knowledge ...Gerry seigfried comes to mind and ron angle ...although ron lacks charisma he is a smart guy ... I can't believe JB wants to do a bad job ... it seems as though while he might have good ideas he doesn't know how to execute them ..i'm still on the fence about him ...just wish he could get his act together so we could have some confidence in him.

c said...

So I have been in agreement with Phillips on many issues, despite my diametric opposition to his open space position. He is proving to be an interesting cat.

Anonymous said...

9:03: President Obama was a U.S. Senator and an Executive in Human Services. Plus, all of his appointments were very well qualified, experienced and knowledgeable. Moreover, Hillary Clinton will be our next chief of Staff. Get over it.

maverick said...

I agree with you Anon. 9:50 I would have reached out to both of them I'm a pragmatist- I want the best person- Dem. or Rep. Jerry knows the county inside/out and Ron isn't an idiot. Even though I don't agree with him on every issue or his style- I admire Ron's conviction- particularly his position on Gracedale- even though it was unpopular and knew it probably would cost him an election.

Bernie O'Hare said...

9:39, it does not appear to be in his nature to be transparent, and Allen appears to share that trait. This only hurts him.

Anonymous said...

Jerry Seyfried and Ron Angle for help?? With help like that JB should keep Allen.

Those old men are legend sin their own minds(and Bernie's).

Anonymous said...

But they do know the job and what it takes to get it done.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Allen's reputation is well deserved and she owns it. Brown had very little to do with that if anything. He trusts her and I'm sure he has his reasons for saying that. I don't trust her and have my own reasons for feeling that way. Council has all the information they need to make an informed decision. Democracy in action. Basic rule of thumb and fingers..count to 5 before you say or propose something that has consequences for the entire county.

Anonymous said...

Secrecy in government is an elitist trait. I know more than you do and my opinion is the only one that counts so go away and shut up and let us run things the way we want to without any interference or questions. We know what is good for you so back off.

Anonymous said...

I know why she left early. She was jonzing for a butt. She can't go more than a few hours without lighting one up. No self restraint either as cursing comes very easily into her conversations. What a gal.

Anonymous said...

Blogs really do suck. I counted on a blogger to hand over his blog for eight months to give me free campaign ads. Then, I started to believe his blog posts about me and my inevitable landslide victory. I was already measuring new linoleum for the Exec office. Blogs really suck.

John Callahan maybe

Anonymous said...

Blogs really do suck. I counted on a blogger to hand over his blog for eight months to give me free campaign ads. Then, I started to believe his blog posts about me and my inevitable landslide victory. I was already measuring new linoleum for the Exec office. Blogs really suck.

John Callahan maybe

Anonymous said...

Oh I get it, bring up Callahan so you can deflect attention from what a horrible job John Brown is doing. Good try. john brown is clearly out of his depth, tone deaf and has no idea what he is doing. He lacks the leadership AND vision for moving Norco forward. Nor does he seem able to put the talent in place to to do it for him. Very sad. By the way it seems Callahan has moved on nicely and actually ran the Boston Marathon monday. That must really upset some of you.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It upset me bc I wish I had been able to run it. Running a Spring Marathon is only for elie athletes. My servants can only carry me for seven miles without passing out. I decided to cut their rations.

Anonymous said...

Obama had no experience, qualifications, etc ...

US Congressman, US Senator, president of Harvard Law Review. Yeah, no qualifications. Just a shmuck like you, right barrister?

Anonymous said...

Secrecy in government is an elitist trait. I know more than you do and my opinion is the only one that counts so go away and shut up and let us run things the way we want to without any interference or questions. We know what is good for you so back off.

Take this advice: run now and get your tin foil hat, the good one, not the flimsy one. Place it on your head and draw the curtains. Assume the fetal position. Some might such their thumbs at this point. IT will be over before you know it. You will survive. Trust me.

Anonymous said...


I know why she left early. She was jonzing for a butt. She can't go more than a few hours without lighting one up. No self restraint either as cursing comes very easily into her conversations. What a gal.


So horrible! A smoking, foul mouthed woman! Her place belongs in the kitchen with her hair finely quaffed and ready to service her man, right Gomer?

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:01 AM FYI - Obama was not a US Congressman. Illinois State Senator 1997 to 2003. US Senator 2004 to 2008.