|Cathy Allen and "Dee" Freeman|
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.