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Thursday, May 08, 2014

Bethlehem's Unenforceable Hiring Freeze

Eric Evans
On Tuesday night, Bethlehem City Council voted 6-1 to enact a hiring freeze until the end of the year. Firefighters, police and EMS are exempted, so it only affects about half of the workforce. The ostensible reason for this move is a looming deficit. According to Michael Recchiuti, who proposed this freeze, the City might be in the red by as much as $4 million next year. Though this creates the impression that Council is tough and paying attention, it's an illusion. Window dressing. It will have no impact on City finances. It is best described as a "nuisance," which is exactly what Business Administrator David Brong called it.

Think about it. In order to trim a $4 million deficit, the City would have to shed 80 workers. This is on top of the 69 workers that former Mayor John Callahan already eliminated between 2010 and 2012. So it's idiotic to think that a Council-imposed hiring freeze would do anything other than depress morale.

Council would have more luck waving a wand. But they imposed the freeze anyway, knowing it is worthless. Why'd they do it? Because each one of them would like to be Mayor, and a hiring freeze would look good in a campaign ad. other than that, there was no point to what is actually a non-binding resolution that Mayor Bob Donchez could ignore.

Only one member of Council, Eric Evans, made any sense at all. He pointed out that a hiring freeze is "not our role."  He criticized Council for making a "power grab." He pointed to the hypocrisy in the Michael Recchiuti argument that Council would grant every position sought by the Administration. "Then why have it?" asked Evans.

But all the mayor wannabes voted for the freeze that they know they have no power to enforce. They might as well have adopted a resolution banishing the $4 million deficit or declaring me the most handsome person in the world.

It's meaningless.

Brong, who has spoken strongly against this hiring freeze in previous meetings, said he'd prefer to discuss strategies like a five-year spending plan over a tactic like a nuisance hiring freeze. But because he did not get up and start jumping around like a baboon, Karen Dolan concluded it must be OK, completely ignoring arguments made in previous meetings.

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

If it's meaningless, what's the problem?

Anonymous said...

What happens when a municipality or school district lays off all its employees and still runs a deficit? Bankruptcy I say. Don't laugh, that is coming in some places!!

Anonymous said...

They might as well have authorized Dean Browning to replace Scott Ott.

Anonymous said...

Good article Bernie. Brong sounds like a reasonable common sense guy. Now the others sound like the typical brainless gang members of their party.

Anonymous said...

Michael Recchiuti is a dumb as they get, if u think this was his idea, think again. This was fed to his weak mind and he led the charge. This kid should never be on council and I hope the voters of Bethlehem remember these days and his antics.

Anonymous said...

6:50 just shows you how blind and partisan people are on this site. Dumb? Stop with the personal attacks, He is a lawyer who graduated from Penn State.

Anonymous said...

Recchiuti is as dumb and stupid as they come and a joke to the civic & legal community.

Anonymous said...

Not only should there be a hiring freeze but the city has to cut positions. $4 Million in the hole ? I am tired of taxes being raised! Cut positions and keep the hiring freeze!!!

Anonymous said...

this is the anti donchez gang - plain and simple

Anonymous said...

Evans is Donchez's tool! He is in the Mayors pocket and brainless.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernie O'Hare said...

Stay on this topic please.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Hey folks when you want to call someone dumb, sign your name. Don'y care who it is, but let us know who you are. If you are unwilling to do that, then you should not make the statement.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Not only should there be a hiring freeze but the city has to cut positions. $4 Million in the hole ? I am tired of taxes being raised! Cut positions and keep the hiring freeze!!!"

Now this is a person I will call dumb. When 80 positions are cut bc you don't want your taxes to go up 26 cents, you won't be able to drive home bc your street will be full of potholes. In the Winter, don't leave home bc it will be several days before the plows come by, if at all. And late at night, when the burglars start taking your TVs, I'm sure you'll be happy bc your tax bill is not so high.

That's what I call stupidity, and i don't care if it is an idea proposed by a lawyer or PSU grad. Incidentally, I know many lawyers and PSU grads who are idiots.

I will say that this is an idiotic idea to those interested in good government. It is completely unenforceable, and the only thing it is good for is campaign literature.

Anonymous said...

I love this change of heart. This blog used to be all about shitting on the public employees and cutting taxes at any cost. Now its not. Thanks for participating.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Um.. When public sector employees gang up on someone like they did to a County worker and try to lynch her, I will speak up for the nonunion worker. When greedy union workers complain about Boy Scouts cleaning up in parks, or demand double time for providing coverage at a Friday night football game, I will condemn them. When they get into a drunken driving accident involving injury when they have lied and called in sick,i will condemn them.

But I have defended workers who were breathing air that made them sick and who have been unfairly fired for "naughty emails." I have spoken up for a county worker screwed out of a position in the Register of Wills by a darling of the administration. I have defended a police officer who was railroaded out of his job by an unsympathetic Council, a decision I know will be reversed at arbitration. I spoke up for a county worker (nonunion) who was unanimously fired by an insensitive Council without cause or due process.

I have always defended the worker. I have always opposed greed and corruption. Sometimes this puts me on the union side. Sometimes it does not. But union or not, I will always speak up for a worker who is unfairly treated. My position has been consistent in my years as a blogger. I think little things like justice and fairness matter more than a union label.

Anonymous said...

6:38 and 6:50 Alicia Karner's usual spin. She is a complete disaster for that Department and the City. Department heads are supposed to keep problems off of the Mayors desk and take pressure off of the Mayor. Not cause him more issues and problems.

Anonymous said...

Obviously You don't live in Bethlehem, You cant drive two mules without hitting a pothole you idiot and as far as plowing You moron the only streets that were cleaned in any acceptable time were the (special) street ie morganellis,donches,......


DG

Bernie O'Hare said...

Now I see Alicia getting blamed for the anonymous comment attacking Recchiutti and praising Brong. First, I know Alicia from her years in Northampton County and never once heard her speak about anyone like that. Second, I doubt very much she has the luxury to be commenting here or anywhere else at that time of day during the school week. Some people have lives.

Bernie O'Hare said...

DG obviously is full of hate and is now just fabricating complete nonsense.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Just deleted a comment posted by Mezzacrappa, anonymously. Could tell it was her from the hate. You owe me $67,140, Tricia, plus $11 interest every day, and I am collecting every penny.

Anonymous said...

Michael Recchiuti, waste for city Council and sad leader of Beth Dems

Anonymous said...

Bernie, It it's unenforceable then I hope Donchez has the stones to just do hire who he wants. Then we can all sit back and watch the comedy. LOL.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I hope none of you idiots live in glass houses. Why don't you all get off your assses and run for City Council and County Council. It's good to sit and critize others when your not capable of doing the job they are. Just because someone doesn't agree with your opionion does not mean they are dumb and stupid. Not all the people on Council want to be Mayor, they want what is best for our city. I thought I was in high school, but I remembered I am reading Bernie's Blog. Grow up Children!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Pretty much all of them want to be Mayor. I agree that anonymously calling people stupid is wrong, and when you come down to it, so are you. Sign your name and grow up, as you say.

Anonymous said...

Bernie , Stop complaining about people posting anon. You permit it and want it.

Anonymous said...

Come on Bernie, you know as well as everyone on city council this is about Alicia Karner. It is no accident Mr. Brong a Callahan clan member and relative is willing to fight for theses jobs. Ms. Karner was a strong Callahan worker. She wants to hire more people for her Department. City Council feels that is not necessary. She wants to just be a figurehead that runs around and barks orders like at the county.

Things are different in the city and she is going to have to do her job and stop initiating so much trouble. She can be her own worst enemy with her aggressive manner.
The city cannot afford to give her more employees. That is the bottom line.
City Council should be congratulated for not bending to the pressure.

Bernie O'Hare said...

1:12, anonymity is in place to encourage free discussion, not personal attacks.

Bernie O'Hare said...

1:23 is someone with lots of hate, and posits that City Council is aiming at Karner instead of really tying to reduce the deficit. This poster has unwittingly portrayed Council as a petty and vindictive body who will lie about reducing the deficit and concoct a hiring freeze for the sole purpose of getting Karner. I'm sure glad cRaZies like you are not on my side.

Anonymous said...

Anonymity is in place to encourage lies, rumors and false information so people are not held accountable. Make them post a name and be accountable for their words.

Anonymous said...

That is not true. Anyone that posts any where on the internet can be held accountable for liable statements. A recent Supreme Court ruling stated that newspapers and blogs had to give up computer data to lawyers of an individual who claimed to be harmed by posts on a website to use the data in a liable case that the individual won!

Anonymous said...

BO. I havn't heard many good things about Karner either. I know a lot of people who work in city hall and I have been told the same type of information about her being very abrasive and not well liked within city hall.

Anonymous said...

SHE IS ONE OF, IF NOT THE MOST HATED PERSON IN CITY HALL,next to Bernie that is....lmao!!!!!! As for You , bottomfeeder You raelly need to get on one side or the other, go have a piece of pizza at Rosanna's with Your sweetie Lucy...get a life!


BG

Anonymous said...

The fact is that city council controls the budget. The budget is a live document and is subject to change at anytime. If council wants to rescind prior approvals, go ahead, That is what their solitary role is. They cannot ever dictate who is hired-except for advise and consent, but they do control when funds are spent. The administration puts many budget amendments in front of council throughout the year. They cannot have it only their way. The solicitors should check. Council has the power to rescind budgets with super majorities not simple majorities. They cannot simply freeze hiring. They would have to upon notice of a vacancy make the appropriate motion to reduce that line item covering the vacancy.

Bernie O'Hare said...

They know they lack this power. It was pure posturing that might look good on campaign literature to the uninformed, but was no exercise on good government. According to some comments, it is also a hit on Karner.

Anonymous said...

BO. Should Donchez ignore City Council and hire anyway?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Not his style. He assumes the best in others and will no doubt try to work with them, But if he needs to fill a slot and can't wait for the mini-mayors, he'll hire.

Bernie O'Hare said...

They can prattle away. He has a City to run.

Anonymous said...

Economic Development is the only profession where anyone who gets elected regardless of background, becomes an instant expert. House painters, environmental administrators, teachers and lawyers all know more about econoic development than the pros. Show me the last company anyone on council has attracted to the city.

If Karner is abrasive, what would you have called messrs Kelly and Hanna? Neither one of them ever won a congeniality award and both saw the truth as a moving target.

Anonymous said...

Karner is hated because she is the only one with the guts to cut loose the dead weight. Maybe if others decided to dump unproductive, arrogant and selfish employees then they would be hated, too. A change of administration and only a couple of people get fired? Probably 1/3 of the employees should have been let go.

Bernie O'Hare said...

This thread is about the hiring freeze, not Alicia. Any additional comments attacker her anonymously will be deleted. The two people she eliminated, Becca and Irene, basically begged to be let go. Both had expressed their disdain for Donchez. Both stated they would continue doing what they wanted when they wanted. That basically consisted of booze at lunch in violation of city policy, followed by gossip sessions in each other's offices. They set a terrible example for the rest of the city. I'm not even sure they were employees or under contract. But the anonymous attacks here, and i have deleted attacks that are much more vicious,are almost definitely from those two, who apparently think City Council enacted the hiring freeze to get Karner.

Now I think that hiring freeze is incredibly stupid and shallow. But even I did not think Council could be that petty. Except for Dolan.

The nasty comments here prove that Karner made the right call. The Council members who defended these two in the past have had an opportunity to see what you two are really like. So thanks.

Anonymous said...

Agree on the insults Bernie. I have heard rumors in city hall but that is between Donchez hand his cabinet. As to the jobs, city council does have the right to say we refuse to approve the new hires.

You really personally attacked the two people fired. That is unfair and your comments have no proof other than the word of someone you like.

In fairness you zealously defend the person who fired them but viciously attack the fired employees based purely on second hand news.

Let us attack no one. Let us allow city council to decide if new people need to be hired.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Let me answer by telling you I sign my name and take complete responsibility for what I write. Ironically, I have never spoken to Alicia about the people who are no longer there. My information comes from other sources. Those two have displayed what they are like with relentless personal attacks at Karner. They have even gone so far as to suggest that the whole reason for the hiring freeze is to get her. Is this good government? I doubt it is true, although I do know those two have friends on Council. Maybe now they can be seen for the totally classless people they are. What I wrote is both fair and accurate. They spent the noon hour boozing it up and spent more time gossiping in each other's offices than they did working. They were disrespectful and arrogant and needed to go away. I admit my information is second hand, but highly reliable. Unlike the way they have treated Karner on this blog, I have avoided mentioning them in great detail. But that can change. That is up to them. But I am tired of the unending attacks at a good person whose children should not have to read anonymous hate. In case they haven't noticed, I can attack, too.

Anonymous said...

Berbie I would klike you tpo really read the words you wrote and think of the all the people involved. Is it fair to attack one person while claiming another is victimized? You should really consider this.

"a good person whose children should not have to read anonymous hate. In case they haven't noticed, I can attack, too"

Please apply that standard to people who were fired because they knew what was going on with their new boss. They will appeal their firings and they will win. The city will end up paying for big money for this political firing.

Also it served no aid to the city as they will not be replaced by new handpicked hires. Not going to happen.

You don't mind two people letting their children read second hand accounts of them getting maligned but protect a very visible and vocal cabinet head who fires first and asks questions, ahh, never.

You send mixed signals. Fortunately city council will not tolerate these games being played with peoples lives.

Jack R said...

Being a PSU graduate and/or an attorney has nothing to do with being or not being dumb. First I'm sure none you have any idea if the guy really is dumb. Second their are plenty of dumb lawyers and/or PSU graduates out there (and any other school/profession for that matter). Also, if by dumb you mean low intelligence their are plenty of dumb people with common sense and vice versa.

Bernie O'Hare said...

4:20, I am sending no mixed signal. It is a very clear one. I am tired of the personal attacks leveled anonymously at Karner. I know where they are coming from. I will give it back in spades.

Anonymous said...

When someone decides to arbitrarily fire people who they disagree with, city council is not obligated to let them hire people they like.

Also when people mention behavior it is important not to live in a glass house.

You know that Bernie

Bernie O'Hare said...

What I know is that these two troublemakers are the ones in glass houses, and I am warming up.

Anonymous said...

firing someone who is rebellious and insubordinate is never "arbitrary"

Bernie O'Hare said...

As I understand it, at least one of these (perhaps both) positions was a contract position paid for by a Grant. So I am not even sure that "fired" is even the right word. I believe the contract may have expired, but admit I do not know the details and have no intention of discussing it with city officials.

I also happen to know, from city workers, that they were delighted to see these two go. They brought down morale bc they flaunted their own violations of city policy and believed themselves untouchable.

City council's obligation is to the taxpayers of Bethlehem, not their bar buddies.

Anonymous said...

Most "employees" you claim to have talked must be hand picked. Numerous employees are talking about problems and it was not the former employees but someone else.

You are in love so you are blind.

City council will ensure that knee jerk angry decisions will not be compounded by hiring pals.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Wow! When I criticize a woman who abuses the public trust, like Karen Dolan, I am a sexist. When I defend someone I respect and admire, who happens to be a woman, I'm "in love".

Cuckoo

Anonymous said...

Employees like Karen quite a bit more than your buddy. In fact they have let city council know how much she is disrupting city hall.

Your ways are well known by now.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You don't even have her name right, and are talking out your ass.