|Diana Morganelli (center) has female crowd on her side|
Five weeks ago, Cathy Reuscher told Morganelli she had been out of the "financial arena" for too long to be of much value. Adam Waldon referred to the Parking Authority as a "hornet's nest," and said it might be too much for her. Karen Dolan lectured that accounting principles have changed a lot in the past thirty years. What all three of them were saying is that stay-at-home moms need not apply. They did not use those precise words, but that's certainly what they meant.
They also were looking for a way to stick it to Mayor Donchez. His best friend happens to be DA John Morganelli, whose wife Diana is the nominee. What better way to send a message than by rejecting her appointment to an unpaid, voluntary position?
In the weeks that followed, public condemnation of this poor decision was swift and harsh. The common reaction is exemplified by Anne Evans, who told Council that the actions of this three-person junta were "demeaning and sexist, not just to [Diana], but to all the women of Bethlehem."
So after the drums began a-beatin', the Morganelli phone began a-ringin'.
Bryan Callahan told everyone he called her on Mother's Day weekend. He had her on the phone, I'm told, for fifty minutes. This is on top of the fifty minutes she had already been grilled. Then came a call from Adam Waldron. He called after learning that there were now four votes for Morganelli, and he was suddenly in the minority. He droned on for another forty minutes. Finally came a call from Cathy Reuscher. I have no idea whether Morganelli took my advice and pretended to be a tree. I do know that she spent over four hours, both in a committee and on the phone, answering their questions.
I'd rather go through root canal.
Before the unanimous vote in favor of Morganelli last night, Karen Dolan's passive aggressive behavior was on full display. In an appointment to another Board, Dolan made a point of noting she supported it even though the nominee had been a stay-at-home mom. She later complained that their decision had been "mischaracterized," and that the phrase "stay-at-home" mom had never been used. Then, beating back crocodile tears, Dolan told Morganelli, "I never wanted to do anything that would hurt you." Dolan called the whole thing an "incredible learning process for me."
If I were Morganelli, I'd buy a flak jacket. When Dolan turns on the water works, she's on the attack. It's clear to me that she feels she was right to reject Morganelli and that the decision was misrepresented because it wasn't reported the way she wanted it reported. She went so far as to suggest that, perhaps, they should have tabled the appointment.
Adam Waldron, who insulted not just Morganelli but the entire Parking Authority, discussed the numerous emails he received, one of which was from me. He promised to do a "better job", but I doubt it. He never responded to my email, indicating to me that he changed course simply because he realizes his poor judgment in this matter might cost him his seat.
Reuscher, who also ignored an email from me, said next to nothing, other than that Morganelli will be a "great asset to the City." She did as she was told. Again.
The truth is that City Council would have happily rejected Morganelli if there had not been such a public outcry. The proof of this is Bryan Callahan, who whined at the end of the meeting.
"It's not a healthy thing," he complained to the Mayor, repeating that phrase nine times in the course of a rambling speech. He complained that just because they rejected Morganelli, there were accusations of "over reaching" and "power grabbing." He also pointed out that Donchez himself turned down a Mayoral appointment.
Mayor Donchez agreed, pointing out that he did vote against a nomination once in 18 years on Council. He added that he has reached out repeatedly to members of Council, having breakfast with three of them in the last week alone. "I don't know what more I could do," he added.
He defied Callahan to come up with one instance in which he accused them of "over-reaching" or "power-grabbing." "I think you're totally inaccurate," he added.
Neither Callahan nor Dolan really understand that you simply don't have the right to abuse a volunteer for an appointed, unpaid post. Whether she's the DA's wife or not. That's not over-reaching, it's just disrespectful. For a Council that prides itself on its faux civility, the way it handled this matter was pure politics. But they chose to dance with the wrong person.
District Attorney John Morganelli did not attend the meeting. He was getting ready for today's Investigating Grand Jury.