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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, May 02, 2014

NorCo Says Good-Bye to Tom Harp

Tom Harp
Though the May 1 meeting of Northampton County Council was a quick one, Ken Kraft stopped to recognized Director of Administration Tom Harp, who is retiring after five years with the County.

Harp was the driving force behind a state-of-the-art Archives building, the Citizens' Academy and the move into a centralized human services building.

"It's been a pleasure working with all of you," noted Harp, noting that Northampton County "is where I grew up, where I went to school. My heart is here in the County."

Tom grew up in Bethlehem, graduating from Liberty ('67) and Moravian ('71). After that, he started a long and distinguished career in human services. He began by working with the developmentally disabled in White Haven. During his 8 years there, he picked up a Master's degree in Counseling from the University of Scranton.

Tom returned to the Lehigh Valley as a counselor in Allentown's Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, helping people with disabilities find work. He was promoted to Supervisor and eventually became the District Administrator, overseeing a staff of 35 people in four different counties. He ended his 35 years in human services as the state's bureau director.

Over this time, Tom got to know John Stoffa, who then headed Human Services in both Northampton and Lehigh County. Stoffa recruited him to join the Allentown Kiwanas, which does a lot of work for downtown Allentown kids with youth soccer, the Boys and Girls Club, Salvation Army and some arts groups. Once retired, Tom intensified his work with the Kiwanis and even joined the board at the LV Center for Independent Living.

Tom initially accepted a rather low-paying job as Deputy Director to help his friend, John Stoffa. He took over as Director in 2011, and stayed on to assist Executive John Brown in his early days.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

state -of-the-art building?

It is a pole building warehouse in the middle of Forks Twp. A bit of hyperbole there?

Bernie O'Hare said...

It is state of the art, likely the best Archives in the state.

Anonymous said...

That pole building is a multi-million dollar warehouse that will get knocked down by the first hurricane to blow through.
What a waste of resources.

Anonymous said...

Worked out well for him. Stoffa gave his pal a job and as a result Harp gets another taxpayer funded pension.

Keeping it real so it doesn't just end up being another fluff piece.

Anonymous said...

Haters are gonna hate. Tom is one of the good guys who worked hard and got things done. He is a true public servant. A very genuine tribute, Bernie.

Anonymous said...

Don't hate da playa. Hate da game.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Most of the hate comes from one or two people like Mezzacappa, Ron Shegda.

Anonymous said...

Brown will have a hard time finding anyone to replace Harp, even if you think he was only a hall walker, he has real life experience at the job, unlike John Browns friend Cathy who is woefully unqualified for 95% of the jobs in the county

Concerned Tax Payer

Anonymous said...

Add ignoring the exposure of county employees to asbestos and other hazardous materials until he stumbled out of the DA's file room coughing and gagging from the non-existent problem.

Anonymous said...

Harpo was a good friend of Stoffs. He helped him get a second pension. Both these guys spent their entire lives living off the public dime.

He was the architect of numerous projects that will cost taxpayers millions for years to come. Hopefully the end of a bad eight years for the county.

Now they can toast each other in retirement on the taxpayers tab.

Enough with the gushing nonsense Bernie. A concerned taxpayer

Anonymous said...

Great comment at 2:23. They were so busy planning new buildings they ignored the ones that were here to the determent of employee health. All so they could sell their plans.

John Q. Public said...

You know, you all talk out of your ass. The main reasons they got the people out of Gov. Wolf and Bechtold (and should've been Gracedale, too) is because they cared. Instead of exposing the employees and the people they serve to abestos, lead paint, and a rise in taxes to remodel those buildings, they moved to a new facility. Yeah they havemultiple pensions, but there is one thing you forgot; they worked. Unlike Shegda, Gregory, and Mezzacappa that float from job to job and brilliant idea to a ludacris political campaign. You just sound jealous.

Anonymous said...

To Shegda, Mezzacappa, and Gregory:

I bet your sisters are real proud of you and how you turned out.

Anonymous said...

Wolf and Bechtel were dumps. Truth is that those program cuts were made by the state and you know it. Had Gracedale been sold Northampton County could have continued to fund some of them. Instead as other counties continue to sell, it continues to lose $5 million a year.