Thursday, May 07, 2015
250 NorCo Retirees Have Lunch With Judicial Candidates
After last year's mass exodus, there are now 1143 retired Northampton County employees. Nearly 250 of them packed into Northampton Memorial Community Center yesterday for lunch with judicial candidates Abe Kassis, Sam Murray and Vic Scomillio. Former Executive Gerald "Jerry" Seyfried, who is a master at putting together these kinds of events, was still amazed at the number of people who appeared. In addition to Seyfried, former Executives John Stoffa and Glenn Reibman attended. Recently retired employees like Marie Cunningham and Frank Flisser came. So did former workers who have been gone a bit longer, like Annie Stofko and Maurice Dimmick.
How do they like their new lives? "I love it," stated Regina Mugavero, who retired recently from the Court Administrator's office.
You're not going to believe this, but I was seated at a table with Stoffa, Jerry, Mike Corriere, the three judicial candidates and Ken Kraft, who was County Council's delegate.
Kassis, Murray and Scomillio are in the middle of a race against each other, but they have remained on friendly terms and kidded each other during the lunch. All three were gentlemen, which reflects well on each of them and their profession.
Executive John Brown was invited, but did not appear. He sent no representative from his Administration, either.
Judges Emil Giordano, Paula Roscioli and Anthony Beltrami were busy being judges and sent their regrets.
Stoffa, sporting a new hat that he tells me comes from Spain, is the retiree representative on the Retirement Board. He reports that the total pension plan stands strong at $361 million. It is 84.3% funded, compared to just 50% in 2008.
Here's what the candidates had to say in the time allotted to them.
Abe Kassis. - Like everyone else, he was surprised at the turnout, and feels like he's among family when with workers and retirees. If elected, this veteran prosecutor pledged to treat everyone with respect "the way we respect each other in this room." He promised he would go that extra mile.
Sam Murray. - Sam joked that when he walked into the community center, he saw so many friendly faces that he felt like he was back at the courthouse. He discussed his commitment to his wife and three choildren, his 32 years of experience as a lawyer and his time as both a Custody Master and Juvenile hearing Court Officer. He mentioned his Little League coaching experience, which took a Bethlehem team to the World Series. But the topic he feels most passionate about is his work with Easton's Community Center, which feeds children in Easton's West Ward, where he grew up, both before and after school.
Vic Scomillio.- He is running to help "protect values we all share." he started as a Clerk to Judge Robert Simpson (who now sits on the Commonwealth Court) and has 15 years of experience representing businesses, big and small, as well as ordinary people. An Eagle Scout, he volunteers with North Penn Legal Services and would like to see more problem-solving courts like a court for veterans who run afoul of the law.
Before the lunch ended, retirees paused to remember former Northampton county employees who passed on in the past year. They include Mary Cantalupo, Sigfriedo Diaz, Thomas Fenstermacher, Dominic Fimiano, Henry Heil, Tom Marchetti, Joanne Miller, Harold Smith, Pat Repsher, Alan Fowler, Pat Hannon and Rae Moyer.