Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Nazareth Borough Solicitor Loses Cool Over Police Study

Al Pierce
On Thursday night, I visited Nazareth Borough Council, armed with cupcakes. Last night I was there again, this time with a Sticker Gang T-shirt. Since they tossed my cupcakes in the garbage, I declined to offer them T-shirts. What I did do was take them task for continuing to bury their heads in the sand about their runaway police department. On Thursday, appointed Council member Lance Colondo lashed out. Last night, it was Borough Solicitor Al Pierce's turn.

Kicking Can Down The Road

They were set to vote on their Big Answer to the police problem - a DCED study to be conducted by the state at no cost. But this just kicks the can down the road. They know their problem is the Chief. By the time this study is done, the Borough will likely be facing another ten civil rights lawsuits and even more dissension in the police department. This is the kind of leadership I'd expect from an ostrich, not an independent Borough Council. 

What the failed to disclose is that the already have a police study. The problem is they just don't like it. When I pointed this out, there were numerous denials from Council.

Council is being disingenuous. I've heard about this study from numerous people. Some of them sit behind the dais. Former Council member Jack Herbst could speak to this study as well. He intended to be at last night's Council meeting, but was feeling ill yesterday. As most of you Nazareth people know, Jack has had too many close calls with his heart. I told him yesterday that his health matters more than a Council meeting.

I also presented Council with a petition signed by 130 people, most of them Nazareth residents, "requesting that Nazareth Police Chief Thomas Trachta be dismissed for abusing the civil rights of ordinary citizens, abuse of office, failure to supervise and blackballing a police applicant with false information."

I asked President Dan Chiavaroli not to throw this petition in the garbage like he did with the cupcakes.

The Ethics Act

I also acquainted them with the Ethics Act. Nazareth Borough has a controlling interest on Nazareth Ambulance's Board of Directors. I can see why that might make sense. but under the Ethics Act, a member of Council like Chiavaroli, who sits on the Ambulance Board, must recuse himself from any votes concerning the Ambulance Company. Up until now, he has been voting on these matters. He stopped doing that last night, so that's one small victory. 

This prohibition applies to nonprofits, and according to a 2009 Supreme Court decision, it makes no difference whether there's a financial benefit to the Council member. If it is a financial benefit to the Ambulance Corps, it's a conflict. 

After this decision, Lehigh County Commissioners began resigning from nonprofit boards.

The Ambulance Grant

The reason for this ethical requirement can be seen in Nazareth's own actions. In 2012, Nazareth obtained a $27,500 gaming grant that would allow the ambulance company to extend Stoudt Boulevard to Gracedale Avenue. That's great for the ambulance company, which does good work. It's even better for Gracedale, the County nursing home, because there will be quicker access. But this means nothing to Borough residents. Instead of some road in Upper Nazareth, residents would be better served by upgrades to the aging police fleet, pool, or any of a number of pressing borough concerns.

They knew they were bidding on the Gracedale contract, and knew they had competition. Because they rushed and got this grant before they were ready to use it, the money must now be returned.

The Pool Grant

This year, Nazareth is seeking a $50,000 pool grant from the Gaming Board, but never bothered to send anyone when the board met to review proposals. Gaming Board members signaled at that time that they will be reluctant to approve grants by municipalities with a poor track record.  Now since gaming Board members are rating these requests individually, it's possible that Nazareth's request will be approved. The borough  should have sent an advocate.

The likely result here is that Nazareth has lost $77,500 in gaming money. That's hard to justify when you're talking about a 2-mill tax hike.

Borough Solicitor Lashes Out

After I had finished speaking, Becky Butz asked about whether there was a previous police study, and I was actually requested to clarify what I had already said.

Some Council members claimed was simply an internal investigation, but it was much broader than some background check. Mayor Carl Strye acknowledged that they did, in fact, hire a private investigator, but distinguished that from a study by saying that a study is when you hire someone from the outside to report on problems in the police department. I agreed and told him that's what they did. They hired a private investigator from the outside to report on the police department.

At this point, Al Pierce lashed out.

"Nothing you have said is accurate," he shouted, and then repeated himself as though saying something twice would make it true.

"Are you telling me your own Mayor is inaccurate?" I asked.

"At this point, you're talking to yourself," he huffed.   

Actually, I was speaking to Borough Council, and at their invitation. Pierce, with that remark, made pretty clear what he thinks of the Sunshine Act. He is the lawyer who advised Council incorrectly that borough committees could meet in secret. He is obviously embarrassed that he never picked up on that Ethics Act violation. 

So we have a tyrannical chief, a Council unwilling to lead, and a solicitor who lashed out unprofessionally at citizens who take him out of his comfort zone. Al is a good attorney and I respect him personally and professionally, but he needs to join the twentieth century. Twenty-first is asking for a bit too much.

As for Council, they need to start leading or it will be very costly to taxpayers.

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

As you said, "he is an attorney", and you are not.

Stop living in the past cupcake. You got schooled.

Bernie O'Hare said...

He threw a hissy fit and acted unprofessionally. He looked pretty bad, but you wouldn't know that from your Wedt Easton hideout , as you look over your shoulder and worry about the sheriffs.

Anonymous said...

Good to see Nazareth is not playing alone with your stupid games. Glad a real attorney let you have it.

Grossy said...

I can tell by the time of the postings that no one lost any sleep over it (the alleged hissy fit).

Anonymous said...

The attorney did what he gets paid to do, "protect the body that hired him" He may be wrong but at least he spoke up. That alone is very unusual for him. I don't have a lot of respect for Al. Had dealings with him in the past that left a lot to be desired.

Anonymous said...

Officer Shleig for Chief
Officer Shleig for Chief
Officer Shleig for Chief
Officer Shleig for Chief
Officer Shleig for Chief

Anonymous said...

6:50

We don't have an Officer Shleig. I told you he is a District Judge now. It spelled Schlegel! We have two full-time police officers Alan Koch and Fred Lahovski.

I think that you meant to chant KFC = KOCH FOR CHIEF
KFC = KOCH FOR CHIEF
KFC = KOCH FOR CHIEF
KFC = KOCH FOR CHIEF
KFC = KOCH FOR CHIEF!

Anonymous said...

No there is an officer Steven Shleig ! There is 4 full timers Shleig, Lahovsky, Trachta, Koch!

Anonymous said...

I have never seen a solicitor lose his cool at a town meeting. Pierce is part of the problem, not the solution. Maybe he needs some cupcakes to loosen up the stick in his rear end.

Anonymous said...

@12:21 sounds like Mezzacappa. She knows far too well what "schooled" is - it has happened to her several times, and will happen again a couple more times very soon. Moron Labia.

The quotes do not reflect Bernie was "schooled". They show a solicitor who was blindly trying to protect the body he was hired to serve, and his outbursts were nonresponsive. The quotes show Bernie was ignored.

Anonymous said...

Actually 5 now with the new guy

Anonymous said...

6:50 would rather have homer simpson

Anonymous said...

Need a regional police force. Is Colonial an option?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I wish. I think Colonial is staying away.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The attorney did what he gets paid to do, "protect the body that hired him" "

Actually, his job is to advise them. He interjected himself unprofessionally. His remark to a citizen also demonstrated a disdain for the Sunshine Act, probably bc he is embarrassed. Instead of protecting them, he made them look worse.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"We don't have an Officer Shleig. I told you he is a District Judge now. It spelled Schlegel!"

There is an Officer Schleig on the Nazareth force. Not the same guy as Magisterial District Judge Schlegel. Nazareth also has Officers Shimer, Koch and Lahovski as full-time police officers, in addition to the full-time chief.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"We don't have an Officer Shleig. I told you he is a District Judge now. It spelled Schlegel!"

There is an Officer Schleig on the Nazareth force. Not the same guy as Magisterial District Judge Schlegel. Nazareth also has Officers Shimer, Koch and Lahovski as full-time police officers, in addition to the full-time chief.

Anonymous said...

If Shleig were promoted to chief that department would instantly change !! He is a class act! That's why him and Trachta don't get along bc he follows the rules and won't play into Trachtas bs like Troxell!!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Schleig is Mr. Clean. I have tried to talk to him bc I know the Chief hates him, but he won't meet me, even though I'm sure he has plenty of stories to tell. I have said hello to him in passing. From everything I have heard, the guy is a boy scout. He is honest to a fault and I'm told he doesn't even curse. He is a straight arrow. Nazareth is lucky to have him, along with Officers Shimer, Koch and Lahovski. They are a great core and are not the problem. They are the solution. Nazareth needs more good FT officers and fewer PT journeymen.

Anonymous said...

If this officer Schleig, and Officers Shimer, Koch and Lahovski are full-time police officers, are such "good guys" Why then according to lehighvalley live, are they not allowed to go and speak to the Borough's secretary Chris Lilly. They can only go to Chief Trachta, or his secretary Victoria Rubio? I'm assuming it's because are part of some kind of union, as most full-time police officers are. Either Teamsters or FOP right?

Bernie O'Hare said...

This policy, which is so poorly written that I'm not really quirte sure what it means, may be an attempt to prevent union police officers - they are FOP - from aggrieving improper behavior by their supervisors. I have looked at it several times and am still not sure what the hell it means. It should be re-written.

Anonymous said...

It Appears that this legal document, is based on anti - union animosity.

Anonymous said...

I thought all policies and procedures are open to contractual agreement between the employer and it's union employees. Isn't this a Unfair Labor Practice? Is this going to cost us tax payers more money to fight it in court? This seems to only benefit Chris Lilly. Why are we Bending over back for her?

Anonymous said...

WAY TO GO AL! I am glad council is taking their time to figure out this mess. Shows they are serious and want it done right.Wish I was there.Rome wasn,t built in a day.

Anonymous said...

What is there to figure? Council has done nothing! The study they are requesting is just to figure how many police officers to crime ratios. The study will take at the earliest ten months. It has nothing to do with Chief Trachta alleged allegations of officer's misconduct. So in fact the council has done nothing!

Anonymous said...

Take their time! How about 4 years and counting. Trachta would have/should have been gone in August, but come October Mayor Senakers, with his massive ego, thought that he could handle it. Or maybe befriend this thug because he might have a file on the ex president of the Vig. A lot of talk about missing money. Instead of getting rid of Chief Cupcake her advocated giving him a new contract! Not only that, but money for a new car for the officers was spent on a new car for Trachta. Wonder if he Sneakers got him a raise with the new contract. Feed a bully and he'll become more of a bully. Yes Mr. Hot Topic, I mean Colondo, you should be afraid, very afraid. If you'd been around for more tun a couple of years you'd understand.

Anonymous said...

Bernie-1, Pierce-0

Anonymous said...

It's sad when even the fire chief says he's glad the people who represent him are putting on a showboat circus. He has even said that he's ashamed of the direction nazareth is going. Bernie where are your StickerGang buddies? I thought I may have seen on of them at the meeting last night but wasn't sure?

Bernie O'Hare said...

The Sticker Gang is doing well. They all work, but Trevor was at last night's meeting.

GERHART FOR COUNCIL!

Anonymous said...

Uttering pronouncements upon professional ethics. Now that is a hoot!

Anonymous said...

Maybe all the negative nellies need to move to a perfect town!Let me know when you find it.

Anonymous said...

Can I go too

Anonymous said...

Maybe they need to figure that there is one family running fire company an club.Some good back ground checking there.HERES YOUR SIGN!

Anonymous said...

"GERHART FOR COUNCIL!"

Next to Sarah Palin running this would be a dream.
Please, please run Trevor. Is this the check stealing kid? Oh please run sweet Trevor, I know many who would contribute to the fund for the mailer informing the town of your stellar background.

Oh and Bernie, you rendering an opinion on a lawyers "professionalism" is akin to Mezzalunney giving classes on court room behavior.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Uttering pronouncements upon professional ethics. Now that is a hoot!"

Here's another. It's dishonest to post an attack at someone without saying who you are.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Please, please run Trevor. Is this the check stealing kid? Oh please run sweet Trevor,"

Actually, it is GEHRET FOR COUNCIL. I'd vote for him in a heatbeat. As for his check stealing, he was standing up to some asshole who took advantage of him, had him work for him and then refused to pay him. Gehret is no secondclass citizen but this asshole treated him like one. My question: Dis police ever charge this thug, a supposed businessman, with theft of services, as they should have?

It is time for the Trevors of this world to rise up and let their voices be heard. They stand up for the people, and would do a far better job in Nazareth than most Council members, who have already demonstrated they are cowards. Next election cycle, I plan to organize a major registration drive among the townies. We will put together a theme centered around doing the right thing instead of pretending all is well.

Anonymous said...

A public defacer and check stealer. Not the government you want, the government you deserve. Time to take a stand and stop this nonsense Nazareth. Stand up to these clowns.

Love to know his voting history. Maybe you can sign petitions at the 7-11 offering cigarettes for each signature, if that is legal by your definition.

Anonymous said...

Shleig for Chief
Shleig for Chief
Shleig for Chief
Shleig for Chief

Bernie O'Hare said...

4:23, If you actually lived here, you'd know there is no 7-11 in Nazareth. I do live here, know how to get people registered and want a new kind of politician to replace anonymous cowards like you, who defend archaic views and play the politics of hate.

Anonymous said...

Hooray! We need more forgers with rap sheets in local government. Power to the criminals. I vote for Nazareth to change its name to Arkum!

Anonymous said...

6:28

Arkum is a fictional prison in the series Batman. I believe you meant to say Alcatraz.....Moron!

Anonymous said...

KFC = KOCH FOR CHIEF
KFC = KOCH FOR CHIEF
KFC = KOCH FOR CHIEF
KFC = KOCH FOR CHIEF
KFC = KOCH FOR CHIEF
KFC = KOCH FOR CHIEF
KFC = KOCH FOR CHIEF

Anonymous said...

SFC = Shleig for Chief
SFC= Shleig for Chief
SFC= Shleig for Chief
SFC= Shleig for Chief

Anonymous said...

KFC = KOCH FOR CHIEF
KFC = KOCH FOR CHIEF
KFC = KOCH FOR CHIEF
KFC = KOCH FOR CHIEF
KFC = KOCH FOR CHIEF
KFC = KOCH FOR CHIEF
KFC = KOCH FOR CHIEF

Listen Koch is the only one who has years of experience and was a past Chief. He was the DARE officer for me and many others. He is the only one who has enough common sense to know when and how to act as a professional. Shleig I've never seen or heard of! His name reminds of Nazi Germany! Too German sounding.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, like your name could ever be too German sounding in Nazareth. Dumbass!

Anonymous said...

KFC = KOCH FOR CHIEF
KFC = KOCH FOR CHIEF
KFC = KOCH FOR CHIEF