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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Brown To Face Tough Crowd Tonight

County Executives, much like Presidents, are often liked a lot more after they leave office than when they're in it. Incumbent Executive John Brown is going to face a hostile crowd of County employees tonight. They're scared. Some think their jobs are in trouble. They're angry. Some can't really afford to pay more for their health insurance. They're frustrated. An Executive who claims they are the County's "most valuable asset," wants most of them to bite the bullet on wages while exalting a few. The biggest problem they have with John Brown right now is they don't really know or trust him. Is this quiet and unassuming man being honest with them, or is he going to balance next year's budget on their backs? Tonight Brown needs to take his case to them. He has made many mistakes in his first year, to be sure. But he is right about one thing. The County workforce really is the jewel of this County, not Gracedale or any program. If he is fair to them, that will erase many of his rookie errors. If he'snot, he's a one-termer.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

This "Cadillac Plan" thing better be played straight. The county has been less than consistent since the act was passed. A couple years ago retirees inquired if the provisions of the ACA applied to the county retirees. The ACA provides that an employer cannot differentiate care limits between those covered. As it stands now the county retirees have a ridiculously low major medical lifetime limit that is often exhausted in a few years.
When pressed on this, HR and Solicitor for Stoffa stated that the county can opt out of the provisions of the ACA and would not give the retirees healthcare compatible with active employees, dispite the law.

FAST FORQWARD A YEAR OR TWO AND YOU HAVE BOTH STOFFA AND BRO9WN NOW COMPLAINING THAT THEY WILL HAVE TO PAY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS DUE TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACA.

SO WHICH IS IT? YOU ARE EITHER EXEMPT OR YOU ARE NOT. YOU CANNOT PICK AND CHOSE THE PROVISIONS YOU LIKE AND DON'T LIKE.

Sorry, caps key got locked, didn't mean to yell but the county is sending mixed messages all over the place.

Anonymous said...

"The County workforce really is the jewel of this County ..."

Please. The taxpayers are the jewel of the county. Putting taxpayers last is typical of the left-leaning and it's what's wrong with NorCo.

Anonymous said...

Hope Brown stands strong. The voters sent a clear message and they didn't elect him to raise taxes. It's now time to make tough decisions. The surplus is gone and Gracedale continues to lose millions.

Anonymous said...

6:40am, County employees are tax payers as well.

Anonymous said...

Not a large portion of the. Most don't even live in the county

Anonymous said...

we all just live like everyone else to food on the table ,clothes on our kids back and pay the bills ...it's unfair to the workforce to ask they carry the burden and suffer earning even less...taxes should be raised everyone can share the burden!

Anonymous said...

i am curious how many of the county workers who are now complaining about the rising cost of health care have obama stickers on their car or were ardent supporters of the ACA?

Anonymous said...

Read before you make ignorant comments 8:04
If you republicans didn't take away the ability to do certain things ACA would have been great for all. But you change and then you complain like its not your fault.
http://www.aallnet.org/mm/Publications/llj/LLJ-Archives/Vol-105/no-2/2013-7.pdf

Anonymous said...

@8:10 considering the ACA passed the house and i believe the senate with zero republican support, the ramifications and costs of the ACA are the sole responsibility of the Dems.

Anonymous said...

It is not necessary to argue about the salaries of county workers. The salary range and job requirements are posted on the Courthouse bulletin boards. The "Cadillac" health plan that covers, at least the Human Service department, has a $12500 maximum major medical limit. It remains under Obamacare only because it is grandfathered in as it is, if newly instituted, not credible under the act. This is a very public relations conscious administration whose advice seems to include currying support through the press prior to notifying the general public where adverse opinions can be aired.

Anonymous said...

County Executives, much like Presidents, are often liked a lot more after they leave office than when they're in it.

Um, I'd say 97% of residents don't even know who the county executive is or what the role of county government is. It's the most irrelevant government entity there is - even more irrelevant than municipal government or school boards.

Anonymous said...

Of course we don’t trust Mr. Brown; he talks at us, never having a genuine dialogue. I always chuckle when I read that he is having a brown bag lunch with employees or attending Union meetings. Neither has happened with the Human Services workers, and probably not with most other county employees.

After he foists more of the health care costs on employees, we all expect him to begin a campaign against the pension, trying to freeze the plan, so no one accumulates more benefits.

Anonymous said...

What is lost in this debate (and possibly on Mr. Brown as well) is that Northampton County serves the residents of the county when they are facing difficult challenges: a baby born with significant delays; neglected children; parents who need training to better care for their kids; individuals with serious mental illness; older adults needing supports to stay in their homes. It is the employees of the County that try to empower citizens and address their troubles. Working with less advantaged residents used to be a respected job; not so with this administration.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" It's the most irrelevant government entity there is - even more irrelevant than municipal government or school boards."

Boy oh boy are you wrong. Local governments and school boards are the ones who have the biggest impact on your daily lives and the ones that affect your pocket nook the most. That has to be one of the most ignorant comments I've ever seen posted here.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"i am curious how many of the county workers who are now complaining about the rising cost of health care have obama stickers on their car or were ardent supporters of the ACA?"

Very few.Most are apolitical and just trying to put food on the table. They have no desire to argue about the merits of Obamacare or whether the Republicans or Democrats are right.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" Most don't even live in the county "

About two years ago, the last time Stoffa checked, about 1/3 of the County workforce lived outside the county. The rest are here and many pay taxes here.

Bernie O'Hare said...

". Putting taxpayers last is typical of the left-leaning and it's what's wrong with NorCo."

Then Brown must be left-leaning bc he said his workfroce is the county's most precious asset.

Incidentally, i never cease to be astonished at the idiots like you who use "left" and "right" when speacking of municipal government. Put the ideologies away. Save that for something else. besides, both ideologies are failures.

Anonymous said...

And that is why idiots like Brown win elections because this knucklehead believes local government has no impact. In a county with 70% of voters registered Democrat he can sneak in whiles these idiots stay home on election day. But don't miss the presidential election for God 's sake! Here's a thought...why not do your civic duty and vote EVERY November? And when this asswipe raises taxes (which is inevitable) he will have lied to the taxpayers as well. Something we county employees have been used to since he took office.

Anonymous said...

Oh by the way retiree employees. Old Peggy like her new Repub. friends will never vote for a retiree COKA. Nice job there county workforce.

Anonymous said...

for retiree cola.

Anonymous said...

Boy oh boy are you wrong. Local governments and school boards are the ones who have the biggest impact on your daily lives and the ones that affect your pocket nook the most. That has to be one of the most ignorant comments I've ever seen posted here.

I should have said that municipal govt and school governance are NOT irrelevant like county govt. Apologies. Thankfully, there are many of us who don't live our lives based on our "pocketbook" and find many more issues more important than the current tax rate.

Anonymous said...

And that is why idiots like Brown win elections because this knucklehead believes local government has no impact. In a county with 70% of voters registered Democrat he can sneak in whiles these idiots stay home on election day. But don't miss the presidential election for God 's sake! Here's a thought...why not do your civic duty and vote EVERY November? And when this asswipe raises taxes (which is inevitable) he will have lied to the taxpayers as well. Something we county employees have been used to since he took office.

I vote in every election. And FYI, I voted for John Callahan. I value services more than tax cuts. There may be a day when I need help too.

Anonymous said...

"county with 70% of voters registered Democrat"

Um very wrong. Currently registered Dems are 48% of voters in Norco.

Anonymous said...

if this isn't a play to force long time employees and some not so long time employees out I don't know what is, no pay raise ,changing the pension plan and rising healrh care cost etc... I can't think of anyone who would be happy working for less ??? can you ?? morale is as low vas anyone has ever seen ! why is it every problem lands on the employee ? this is pure and simple discrimination disguised as something else ...john brown isn't fooling me or anyone else !

Bernie O'Hare said...

One point. The pension plan is largely unchanged. The only change is in the life exectancy, which was outdated by all accounts. Stoffa did not want to change the life expectancy before because of the Great Recession.

Brown did say he wants wages to remain flat, and that is simply unacceptable. There are low-paid workers who have seen no raises in the last four years. I know workers who must supplement their income with second jobs to be abe to feed their kids. Brown is simply wrong about that. With a 1-mill tax hike, about $7.9 million or so, he'd have money for raises and to start filling the reserve fund. I frankly think there should be a 1.5 mill tax hike. I thought that two years ago.

Anonymous said...

Ask not what your county can do for you. Ask what you can do for your county.

Cartwright and Dent support amnesty for 20 million who'll be looking to fill your jobs (and everyone else's) soon.

Sal Panto should repeal his regressive commuter tax on county employees who brave Easton streets to do the citizens' work.

Bernie O'Hare said...

He might want to consider soimnething called participatory budgeting, in which the entire community prioritizes where money should and should not be spent. I think workers could make the case to the public in a participatory budgeting process like what is being tried in parts of Chicago.

69,060.39 said...

Zippedy doo dah...

Anonymous said...

What would a 1.5 mil tax hike cost the average homeowner in Northampton County ?

About $60.00 a YEAR?

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's about right. For a tank of gas, you could make the lives of many hard-working people a little better.

Anonymous said...

I used to work for the state and under one contract we received a 0 (zero) % wage increase for three years under Rendell. So county workers should not whine about a no raise contract. They took the job for its security and benefits. They may be hard-working but so are or were the thousands of county taxpayers, many of which are on fixed incomes. They have to pay the tab for county government. Sure, there are many who work for the county who pay property taxes too, but they are far outweighed by the majority of taxpayers who do not work for the county. And many of those are retired and struggle to pay their taxes from year to year. Think of them as well. They will not be out in force at tonight's council meeting, but they expressed their sentiments at the ballot box by electing Brown and others who are making difficult choices to hold the line on taxes.

Anonymous said...

1.5 mils is a 10%. Tax increase I believe

Anonymous said...

1.5/10.8 = 14% increase. No thanks. Make cuts.

Anonymous said...

Stoffa proposed a modest half mil tax increase three years ago but was shot down. If passed, it would have replenished the general fund and an increase now or in the near future would not have been necessary. Brown should stop blaming his predecessor for the financial mess the county is in today.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't the meeting streaming live??

Bernie O'Hare said...

You can thank me.

Anonymous said...

Guess Sahl didn't want the taxpayers to hear what's really going on. Hope you will update those of us who couldn't make it bc we have to work a 2nd job to supplement. Living the dream!

Anonymous said...

Well that entire thing seemed to have fell on deaf ears!!! He seemed totally unphased that the hard working employees are already suffering. Shame on him.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I beleive Mr. Brown the man many voted for as county exec. Just was whining he needed help and wanted to hire a person to work three days a week for a small salary of 200,000 thousand a year. Mr. Brown feels his spending budget should be increased to make his life easier. Sounds really strange that it is okay for him to ask for money to make his life better, but dont ask if you are just a county employee.
Here is another little fact, Brown wants a hiring freeze and yet there are departments that run 24/7. Without enough staff to run the departments you will have overtime pay, which Brown does not want to pay either.
Asking employees to take cuts when their salaries are not much over poverty level makes no sense. Start looking at the top and ask those people to go backwards. Are their salaries off limits because they are non-union county workers? We as taxpayers also pay those salaries too. You know the positions that are created to so friends get a big title positions, very little work, and nice fat paychecks.

3

Tired of Being Broke said...

Most of the County Workers are indeed tax payers! And let's not 4 get that the residents of Gracedale are long life tax payers also!! They deserve the county employees help in daily living!! The County Does Not have a Cadillac plan. And MOST of their employees make less then $30,000 a yr gross. Do pretty much no one working for the county is well off except administration & executives. The reason Gracedale is still losing $$ isn't because of the little people employees busting their humps everyday.....it's the Outside hired administration & executives who never really step foot much around GD who like to blow the $$ on dumb shit while the little workers, residents & tax payers are the ones who suffer!!!!

Anonymous said...

Not all administrative positions are paying the high salaries that some are receiving. Don't lump them all in one group bc they aren't all well off. Most work a 2nd job to supplement their income. Oh and they are Northampton County taxpayers. Trust me a $20,000 raise isn't typical for most of the administrative staff. We aren't all that fortunate.

Anonymous said...

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/northampton-county/index.ssf/2014/09/hundreds_of_northampton_county.html

Anonymous said...

The circus came to town tonight and performed in Northampton County Court House, Court Room 1. The ringleader was Puff Daddy Justus James, whipping his loyal union members into a frenzy. Other than Puff Daddy's shill on council, Lamutt McClueless, other council members remained dignified and did not pander to the mob. But this is surely only Act 1 for the circus so stay tuned...

Anonymous said...

Brown claims the "Employees are the backbone of the County"....or some other similarly stated comment....

Well get us a chiropractor because he's breaking that back with his unlubricated "reach-around."

Some of us haven't seen a meaningful raise in 6 years. Those of us at the top of our pay scales can't even afford to pay attention.

While inflation/cost of living continue to rise, he wants to freeze OUR wages, work understaffed at 24 hour facilities and "do more with less"....all the while, hand out hundred-thousand dollar contracts to his friends and buddies to make idiotic decisions on exactly what?

If Brown stopped his Obummer-like spending sprees, the County would be better off.

Let's cut to the chase. The County hasn't raised the taxes MUCH in what...10 years or so? It's about time, don't you think? And at an average of $60 per person per year? Pffft....I'll give him mine right now.

[i]4:12 PM
I used to work for the state and under one contract we received a 0 (zero) % wage increase for three years under Rendell. So county workers should not whine about a no raise contract. They took the job for its security and benefits. They may be hard-working but so are or were the thousands of county taxpayers, many of which are on fixed incomes. They have to pay the tab for county government. Sure, there are many who work for the county who pay property taxes too, but they are far outweighed by the majority of taxpayers who do not work for the county. And many of those are retired and struggle to pay their taxes from year to year. Think of them as well. They will not be out in force at tonight's council meeting, but they expressed their sentiments at the ballot box by electing Brown and others who are making difficult choices to hold the line on taxes.[/i]

Well good for you. State employees also got paid a lot more and had way better benefit packages than we did/do. Raising the tax for ~$60 per County resident per year isn't going to break the "fixed income" tax base. Awwe....they can't get their delivery of Viagra for a month or two....stop, you're breaking my heart.

...go whine to yourself, we aren't interested. Most employees aren't even in my pay grade. They are working at below $35K per year. Now, Brown wants to flip their healthcare up to 1000% or more without ANY kind of compensation to offset the burden? Hell, I'm at the maximum pay for my job and even I'M struggling to make ends meet.

...and people wonder why there are so many on public assistance.

Brown = One more Au Pair for the Nanny State.

Please.....just.....butt out.