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Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Scomillio Judicial Candidacy a Referendum on Brown

In Northampton County, a County Solicitor position is usually a springboard from which one ascends into the judicial heavens. It's easy in that role to appear to be dignified and above the fray, the way we like our judges.So when Bethlehem Attorney Vic Scomillio accepted a position as the County Solicitor under Executive John Brown, that's really when he announced he was running for judge. He's been running a year. The announcement that went out yesterday is just a confirmation of the obvious. I get the strategy, and under normal circumstances, I'd say Scomillio is a shoe in. He's an excellent lawyer and is very personable. What could possibly go wrong? Plenty. Brown's first year as Executive has been a disaster. He has managed to tie Scomillio to several very unpopular decision. He has also implicated Scomillio in violations of the Home Rule Charter and Administrative Code. Instead of being the favorite, I'd have to call him an underdog.

In Brown's first year in office, morale has deteriorated so badly that a record 139 workers have decided to retire. Reduced staffing in the Civil Division, which is down four deputies and six people, has resulted in about a six week backlog in indexing court filings. What judge can be happy about that?  At the jail, staffing cuts have forced corrections officers into mandatory overtime. They are tired and angry, and that's when they might let their guard down and get assaulted or worse. What judge would be pleased with that public safety danger.

Scomillio is giving legal advice to an Executive who is simply incapable of being transparent and even posts armed Deputy Sheriffs outside of a news conference. What's even worse, he's the attorney representing an Executive who has made decisions that are simply illegal. Let's review.
  • Scomillio was forced to defend an Executive who brazenly issued a no-bid contract for a public relations consultant. It took a lawsuit from the Controller before he finally agreed to go thre RFP route.
  • Scomillio is the Solicitor to an Executive who issued 3 piecemeal contracts to cost consultant C3, keeping them under the $25,000 threshold that would require Council notification, in violation of the Administrative Code.
  • Scomillio represents an Executive who thought nothing of having a political get together with his PR consultant and a political consultant about fundraising, and then arranged to have a meeting in his office to discuss political fundraising in more detail. 
  • Scomillio has assisted that Executive in refusing to disclose approximately 140 emails with cost consultant C3 concerning reductions in health care benefits, in what certainly appears to be a violation of the Right-to-Know Law (an appeal is pending). 
  • Scomillio is the lawyer who attempted to justify balancing the County budget with an illegal $20 million line of credit, something that even Council's Republican Solicitor concluded is contrary to the Home Rule Charter.    
  • Scomillio is the lawyer who allowed his Executive to propose someone as Director of Administration whose high school diploma is below the education required for the position in the job description prepared in accordance with the Administrative Code.
  • Scomillio is the legal adviser to a County Exec and Administrator who violated the County's own policies concerning travel  expenses. 
  • Scomillio may yet be determined to have violated the civil rights of  an assistant county solicitor who claims in court that her career service position was ended for political reasons.
The only thing he's got going for him is his lawsuit against a very unpopular Easton commuter tax.

Now I'm sure that when Victor signed on to be Brown's legal adviser, he assumed that Brown would be level-headed and follow the law. Privately, he may have urged the Executive to be more transparent and that it's illegal to borrow $20 million to balance a budget. But publicly, Scomillio is tied to Brown, hook, line and sinker. And I mean sinker.

Even if he gets the GOP nod, I am predicting right now that his candidacy is already dead. I think he is tainted by Brown, as are Republicans running for the District Council and Controller seats.

Among the Democrats, I hear that Easton Attorney Sam Murray is pondering a run. He's a former Custody Master and is a Master in juvenile cases.  Assistant DA Abe Kassis might also run, I'm told. DA John Morganelli is running for DA. He likes that job, works hard, is good at it, and could probably be elected DA for life.

Republicans believe they will win everything this year, and are meeting at Chrin Community Center later this month to organize campaigns. I believe they are mistaken. They have been hurt by Brown, who forced them to vote for an unpopular tax hike because he lacked the guts to do the right thing.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Scomillio has excellent credentials but I agree that his misguided loyalty to the WORST executive in county history will hurt his chances. His legal advice enabled Brown to continue his practices of evasion, secrecy, and deception. He does not have the wisdom or temperament to be a judge.

Bernie O'Hare said...

He's a great guy and an excellent lawyer, but he is shacked to Brown. Right or wrong, he will be branded with every mis step that Brown has made,and there have been plenty.

Anonymous said...

The Dude either has great political timing or no timing at all.

Problem for him is the mixed primaries. Other Republicans not affiliated with Brown may fare better. Cross filing elections are no real political test for judge. Name recognition and or $$$$$ is what its about. If he ends up as the cross-filed Republican vs. a cross-filed Democrat, he could won.

A lot of people like to talk smack bur when push comes to shove the Republicans are doing better over all.

The real referendum(if there is such a thing) will be the four county council District seats. If the Republicans are smart, they will focus their efforts and money they have a great shot a one maybe two and possibly three. A lot depends on the candidates they pick. If they get whacko slugs, game over.

Anonymous said...

Abe is running. He hasn't been campaigning since the loss in 2013 for nothing.

Anonymous said...

Your points are well taken Bernie. In all fairness though, how many sub-$25,000 contracts did John Stoffa give his consultant buddy Ken Mohr?

Bernie O'Hare said...

None. Even the sub- $25k contracts went to Council. And your point is absurd in addition to being inaccurate. I am talking about a solicitor running for judge while you are fixated with your hate of Stoffa. Don't attempt this false analogy again or I will delete your lie.

Anonymous said...

using your logic this is why longenback didn't get to be a ju
dge because stoffa was so bad.


your sick mind is full of hate.

MrBill1949 said...

Bernie, thanks for the update. The local newspaper websites won't print anything like this unless it's inflammatory and slanted.

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention the Sletvold appointment fiasco where he must have has some input.

This Republican will not be voting for Scomillio. He's done a poor job as county solicitor and does not deserve a promotion. If he disagreed strongly with Brown on these issues, the honorable thing to do would be resign. There is a real chance that Vic loses in the Republican primary if a woman runs or a quality Dem cross-files.

Anonymous said...

The only thing required of his opponent is to make sure the names Brown and Scomillio are synonymous.

Anonymous said...

7:31 is as Republican as one of those dopes with the rubber rat fetish.

The only one "branding" Scomilio is this blogs author, who's already told us what an excellent individual and lawyer Vic is.

Anonymous said...

So who the hell is going to tell the voters about Scomillios record? The Judge candidates may only talk about thier own records, accomplishments and training. They may not talk about Scomillios record. It is a big big ethics violation and they will be censored by the Courts. They only way to get the word out is my confidential mailers and blogs. The newspapers aren't going to get involved.

Anonymous said...

Scomillio cannot win unless he gets the support of Gregory. He single handedly defeated Callaghan and the Democratic ticket and will single handedly defeat Scomillio. That is if he gets out of jail in time.

Anonymous said...

Scomilio has another problem with some Republican committee people.He fractured our party when Jennifer Sletvold ran with his disparaging comments about her and I will NEVER help him in this race. He knows about these comments and then tried to make it up to her by getting her husband an appointment! He is SLICK and not to be trusted with any Judgeship! Brown was disappointing enough,I can not believe he is a candidate.

Anonymous said...

GO VIC!!!

He has my vote

We will gain an honest judge, and lose a terrific county Soliciotr

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Bernie, thanks for the update. The local newspaper websites won't print anything like this unless it's inflammatory and slanted."

I'm pretty sure this is inflammatory and slanted.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The only thing required of his opponent is to make sure the names Brown and Scomillio are synonymous."

Bingo. It's not fair to Vic, but I can guarantee it is going to happen.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:31, You are mistaken. According to the Ethics Comm'n, "The general principle is that one may make statements or announcements about personal views but may not make pledges or promises directly or inferentially about decision making. A candidate is prohibited from making commitments with respect to cases, controversies or issues that are likely to come before the Court. You should be aware that if you do announce your views on a particular issue, you may have to recuse yourself from deciding that issue should it come before you. You should keep in mind that as a judge your duty is to decide cases, and avoid knowingly putting yourself in a position that invites recusal. The test would be whether a reasonable person looking at the totality of the statement would believe that the candidate has specifically undertaken to reach or is committed to a particular end result."

I doubt very much that any of the candidates will tie Scomillio to brown. They know better than to appear nonjudicial. But the party will. It sends out mailers, too. It's a real problem for Vic. He has been tied to brown, and all of brown's shortcomings will be laid at Vic's doorstop.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The only one "branding" Scomilio is this blogs author, who's already told us what an excellent individual and lawyer Vic is."

I have, and he is. But rest assured that vic will be branded. I am just pointing to the obvious strategy that will be used against him.

Anonymous said...

Vic is a good guy and an excellent lawyer. We could be getting stuck with a violent lush who strangled his wife in front of the kids. The latter would get this blog's endorsement. This indicates Vic has all the right enemies.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You seem to think that I consider Vic an enemy. i don't. As i stated several times, i consider him a good person and excellent attorney. What I am pointing out is the obvious campaign strategy that will be used against him. He will be held accountable for Brown's disastrous first year in office, even though it is unfair. As for supporting a violent lush who strangles his wife in front of his kids, I am aware of no judicial candidate who has that background. i am aware that Gregory has a background of violence against women, and you support him. You also hate the county worker, and have sneered at them over these cuts. they will be voting, and employees will be reminded of all the vicious things that the Brown-Scomillio team have done.

Anonymous said...

Your hatred is so vile and deep for Executive John Brown that your delusional mind tells you magical things.

You and Angle are so pissed because the former Stoffa priviliges of pilliaging the courthouse for gossip and unabated access to information no longer exist, as they should not, and never should have. It was disgraceful and criminal.

You and Angle are persona non gratta

Your year long temper tantrum of sending missles of hate and disprespect to the Office of County Executive is also criminal

Get mental help you useless, vile, jobless fraud!

Anonymous said...

Woah, 12:44... take your meds! You must be Trashia or one of her twisted allies.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yeah, well, maybe she should file another private criminal complaint for disrespecting the county Executive. Must be a crime to criticize him.

Anonymous said...

Leeson gets elevated with his weak credentials and lukewarm recommendation. A guy of Scomilio's timber gets shit thrown on him by this blog. What a world. No wonder lawyers are so despised.

Anonymous said...

12:44 Its cute when someone with mental illness and has no job accuses someone else of the same.

Anonymous said...

Bernie he really has no choice. If he stays on it is just gonna get worse including his chances. The sooner he bails the better.

Anonymous said...

12:44 Wouldnt your time be better spent creating new user names for lehighvalleylive? You are pathetic.......comical but pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Word around the courthouse is that Vic is doing everything he can to distance himself from Brownie. Dont be surprised to hear some news from Vic in the very near future about his current position as solicitor, you heard it here first and can thank me later.

Anonymous said...

12:44

Spell much?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Word around the courthouse is that Vic is doing everything he can to distance himself from Brownie. "

I'm not sure that does it. Unfortunately, because of attorney-client privilege, Vic can't come out and say that Brown ignored his legal advice. So he can resign, but he is going to be tagged. It's a shame bc he is a good lawyer. But that is politics.

Anonymous said...

Anyone even remotely tied to John Brown should have resigned when he started with his craziness. Judges need good judgement. Anyone with any integrety would have left long ago. Sorry but I hope he and all the Rs on councel get the boot!

Anonymous said...

What's unfair about linking him to the disaster known as Brown? If he had advised him that the LOC was a no go from the start (a no brainer) or that the $750,000.00 consultant contract had to be bid (another no brainer) these two rings of the 3 ring circus could have been avoided.
Of course that presumes that he actually read the Home Rule Charter. He sat quietly by seeking to please his Master hoping the blame would be placed on him and not harm his quest to wear a size small (as in legal intelligence and temperament) black robe.

Anonymous said...

7:03 agree 200%. Sorry Vic you should do your job.

Anonymous said...

3:26. If Vic resigns, he must malign. (Note to Vic - you didn't do it in time.)

Anonymous said...

In real estate it is location.

In politics, it is timing.

Quitting when it is clear you can't use Brown anymore makes you look more despicable than you do right now.

You are ugly.

MegaBakerdude said...
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