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Friday, February 10, 2017

DA John Morganelli Rejects Politically Inspired Complaint Against Controller

Hayden Phillips
A mid-week snowstorm resulted in a large number of absences at the NorCo courthouse on Thursday. But DA John Morganelli was at his office as usual. "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays his couriers of criminal justice from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Morganelli is pretty busy right now with a homicide in Bethlehem and another in Palmer Township. But he had to drop those matters to respond to the latest political vendetta against Controller Steve Barron.

Northampton County Council is embarrassed, as it should be, over its head-in-the sand reaction to the senseless rape and murder of a 15 year old girl named Grace Packer. The woman accused of hatching this plot and then getting off as her boyfriend raped this 15-year old girl was the girl's adopting mother, Sara Packer. She was employed by NorCo between 2003 and 2010 and was amazingly an adoption supervisor. This raises all kinds of questions about NorCo's Children Youth and families (CYF) division, especially since a caseworker there was sentenced to 12 years behind bars in 2010 for sexually abusing a child. Rather than answer those questions, which would reassure the public and provide some solace to CYF workers, both Council and Executive John Brown hung that department out to dry while ignoring the press.

Brown, whose last updated the county website with "News" on November 7, has never understood the importance of being transparent and keeping the public informed. His Council is just as bad. Instead of addressing the jail, reassessment, or the low morale in the county workforce, meetings have deteriorated into 20-minute sessions in which Council members pat themselves on the back.

The Brown administration both ignored press inquiries from NBC10 and WFMZ-TV69 concerning Grace Packer, or actively misled them by saying that Sara Packer is not a current employee. NBC-10's Deanna Durante was ignored by all Council members, too,save for Ken Kraft. He put her in touch with Barron.

Barron, whose career started in group homes, was unwilling to circle the wagons like Council and Brown. He reviewed Packer's records and determined she had been employed by the County CYF as an adoption supervisor for seven years, between 2003 and 2010, when she was fired over, believe it or not, the sexual abuse of Grace Packer by her the husband. Instead of stonewalling, Barron released this public information to the media. He did the job that the Brown administration refused to do.

And he paid for it.

During one session with WFMZ-TV69, a camera zoomed in on his computer screen, and for less than a second, showed a number that might be Packer's social security number. Executive John Brown was made aware of this error.But instead of notifying WFMZ so they could correct this error, he tucked this information away so he could blast Barron at a Council meeting that occurred over a week after his discovery. He also had Barron's access to computer records cut off.

Council wanted to make political hay, too. Hayden Phillips was as quiet as a church mouse when NBC-10's Deanna Durante came to Council to demand answers. But once she was gone and out of the way, he decided to exact revenge against the man who defeated him in the last Controller race. He asked Council Solicitor Phil Lauer to draft a memo indicating what laws were broken and laying out Council's options.

Lauer told him what I had said here. Because the disclosure was unintentional, there is no criminal liability. Unsatisfied with that answer, Phillips then referred Lauer's opinion to DA John Morganelli,and without authority from the rest of Council.

Morganelli reached the same conclusion that Lauer did before him, and that I did before both of them. There is no criminal liability. Barron's disclosure was unintentional. The DA also refused to refer this matter to the US Attorney, so Barron can stow his rubber underwear for the time being. You can read the District Attorney's opinion below.

Speaking of criminal liability, if anyone acted intentionally, it is John Brown. He was aware of a continuing disclosure of an employee's social security number and did nothing to stop it. If he really cared about employee privacy, he would have reacted immediately. Also, when you prevent a government official from doing his job, that's called obstruction.

In the meantime, Council's Human Services Chair Seth Vaughn has refused to invite CYF and Human Services officials to a hearing to answer some questions that would violate no one's privacy, would reassure the public, and would give the CYF division a much-needed boost in the arm. He has refused to convene a hearing because the questions come from me,just as Council has failed to lest their county emailadresses on the county website.

They are afraid someone might ask them a question.

Instead of burying their heads in the sand or playing vindictive political games against the person who beat him in the Controller's race, Hayden Phillips and Seth Vaughn needs to get answers concerning the following:

1) How a CYF caseworker is hired;
2) What training a certifications and continuing education are required;
3) How complaints against a CYF caseworker are handled;
4) How many complaints have been made against CYF caseworkers, year by year;
5) What is the caseload of each caseworker;
6) Does this caseload exceed the state recommendation:
7) How are caseworkers supervized,and how are supervisors themselves supervized;
8) How are foster parents selected;
9) How many foster parents are there in NC?
10) How are foster parents paid?
11) Are caseworkers allowed to be foster parents?
12) How are complaints against foster parents handled?

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Phillips apparently has a lot of extra time on his hands. What a waste. You're right Bernie - this smacks of a witch hunt. Good grief - politicians SUCK.

Anonymous said...

What a clown show this Executive and County Council has become. Bernie, I do not remember a time when so many clueless individuals have been in county government at one time. The dumbing down of America has a home in Northampton County.

It is a shame that such a vital county area as Human Services is being overseen by these people. These services are critical to so many people. Vaughn appears to be totally clueless. Phillips is looking for tea party points and Giessinger is just looking for a political future. Chairman of the HS committee, how the Hell did that happen?

Anonymous said...

While not necessarily a fan of Barron, what Phillips did was unfair, dastardly and evil. For Phillips to use his position to launch a criminal investigation for political purposes and spend taxpayer money for the same without a vote of the entire Council in public or executive session is wrong and out of line. He, Phillips, should be responsible for all costs associated with this evil witch hunt. Phillips is all about personal destruction at any cost. It should be alarming that politicos in Northampton County try to use the District Attorney to silence or penalize people they do not like. Should Barron now file a criminal complaint and request for investigation that Phillips broke some law in ordering the Council Solicitor to file a complaint with the District Attorney without full Council support? Isn't the Executive responsible for Human Resources matters and not Council? Anyway, Phillips went rogue and was out of line to request a Criminal Investigation of Barron in something that was clearly, clearly unintended. Signed, NORCO taxpayer.

Anonymous said...

6:05. Ditto

Anonymous said...

Partisan protection.

Anonymous said...

Here is another reason why Brown/Allen and cohorts on council MUST GO! Non-transparency, vindictiveness, rude, chicken---- behavior are the norms of this government apparatus. Willful intent is the key here, and Phillips, who thinks he is of some importance, apparently cannot read, comprehend and understand the basic elements of law. Therefore, this reckless cowboy, at the expense of the taxpayers, should resign, due to his careless and reckless actions as the alleged voice of NC citizens. Fire the incompetents!

Anonymous said...

Elections have consequences people. Stop complaining about the choices you and the majority of county voters made. Buyers remorse? Clearly...there is a leadership void in county government at many levels but most obviously..at the top! Time for change is here. Get rid of the people who only pretend to care about our precious county and it's residents.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have generally been impressed by Phillips, but believe he allowed his own personal animus against Barron to cloud his judgment.

Jeffrey Fox said...

I have been able to contact county employees via email by using the first initial, last name@northamptoncounty.org

george schaller said...

Bernie,
Not that Morganelli doesn't has his tasks the ones that are brought to his attention cut out for him already! But to add to those are the prosecutorial discretion cases that cognazant criminals are complicate in while acting in some sort of official capacity over a soul that they have no guardianship over whatsoever! These teams of bandits are a threat to national security and have been reared on American soil!
Whodathawt the terrorists are Americans not those want to come and try to live the American dream promised?
REpublican redd
humanist by design

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jeff, That does not work for all county employees.The simple reality is that a government that is transparent and accountable would list the official email addresses of at least the council members so that the public can contact them with questions or concerns. If they can post their pictures, as they have, the email address should be right below.

Anonymous said...

Transparency a mere buzz word to most politicos. Real open government is shunned for the most part as lawyers have inserted themselves into public affairs way too often by offering opinions based on maintaining secrecy and the avoidance of any debates or questioning of public officials. Citizens right to know should be at the top of any real peoples candidate for office and then follow thru on the promise.

Anonymous said...

Tea party Republicans have the support of the majority of voters. Those that don't like it move to Mexico. Whine, complain and bitch all you want but next year at this time the tea party will still rule the county.

Anonymous said...

The real answer is what will the Unity-Pac be doing and whom do they support.

Anonymous said...

3:56pm and Trump and his ilk will have ruined the rest of it

Peter J.Cochran said...

Bernie, you have a photo of a council member that is not in this issue. AND I I STATED HE would be a great person on council .

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
Please not this shitslinging of party favorZ, when it is all involved that are gloryhole gathererZ gapeing for one another and we all can see the dribblings seeping down the rear of there legZ!

Peter J.Cochran said...

I POST WITH MY NAME -BECAUSE I'M NOT ASHAMED. Cowards like to ,but I say come get me if you can -otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I have heard that someone you know has decided to run for county council, They were not going to but this blowup with Human Services and how it has been handled has made up their mind. If it is true the person has a good resume and will be a welcome choice. I can't conform a name because I am not sure 100%, just pretty sure based on the source.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The person to whom you refer may very will be running .

Anonymous said...

Resume? Resume?? Please not another old used up retread. We want new and exciting people, not tax and spend retreads that Bernie may like.
I doubt anyone of real value is running as a Democrat. Besides how good can someone be who decides to run just because of some non story in Human Services. Single issue much? Please!

Anonymous said...

Hayden Phillips thinks he can do what he wants. The guy is no longer a military bigwig he is a civilian now and has to follow civilian laws. That's how it goes petey.

Anonymous said...

Sort of looks likes Lord Puff n Stuff.

Anonymous said...

Philips looks a little like Mr Potatohead in that pic.

Jeff Fox said...

Agreed Bernie.

Jeff Fox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I can tell you that the Human Service Division is run by administrators that are either clueless or are old and tired and have been removed mentally for quite some time, with the exception of the Aging Admin.

CYF has mishandled hundreds of cases in past and more current.

Ken Kraft said...

5:09 pm sign your name and tell us some truths instead of disparaging an entire division of working people.

its easy to make things up in the new age if you don't have to sign your name and be accountable for whom you slander

Anonymous said...

Mr.Kraft,
With due respect, I outlined for you abuse of clients, abuse of taxpayer funds, and immoral, illegal, and unethical practice in the CYF division.
May I inquire about your course of action into these issues please?
Thank you.
Mary Beth

Ken Kraft said...

Mary Beth, please remind me and all of us the abuse of clients, abuse of taxpayer funds, and immoral, illegal, and unethical practice in the CYF division.

Anonymous said...

Mary Beth sounds like a troubled former employee who had problems with authority.

Anonymous said...

While whistleblowing is good in many cases, watch out for the incessant whistleblower. Many times they are pushing blame onto others while protecting their own backsides by creating a smoke screen.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the opportunity Mr. Kraft. Some caseworkers would like if you would meet with these families and others to get it first hand, but here are a few---A family was berated and degraded in court with Christmas songs being sung. The mother told her caseworker directly that she found this offensive.
Upon a father entering dependency court, he was told, " Let the games begin." He said, " This is not a game, these are my children."
Please remember these are individuals who had their children removed, and hopefully none of you or your family will ever have to experience such...
I would hope as a politician in Northampton County you would aggressively pursue that these kids and families be treated just as you would expect your family be treated.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

OMG!! The horror of it all! I'll bet one of those insensitive caseworkers gave wet willies to the parents as an extra insult.