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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, February 03, 2017

The Steve Barron Witch Hunt




Last night, Northampton County Council had a very light agenda and a 20-minute meeting. Last night was a perfect opportunity for Council to have asked Children, Youth and Families (CYF) Director Kevin Dolan or Human Services Director Allison Frantz to reassure the public about the services they provide. Two weeks ago, Council looked like a a deer caught in the headlights when NBC-10 reporter Deanna Durante sought answers. They were clueless, and so was Executive John Brown when she asked him in a hallway why he had ignored her calls for three weeks. Having been publicly embarrassed, Council took no time to evaluate how to do better as representatives of the people. Instead, they chose to take the low road. They lashed out at Controller Steve Barron and attempted to make him the scapegoat for their own inadequacies. .

Let's review. In July of last year, 15 year-old Grace Packer was raped, murdered and dismembered  Her adoptive mother, Sara Packer, has been charged. She was not only a NorCo employee, but worked in Children, Youth and Families (CYF) between 2003 and 2007. She was actually the adoption supervisor at the time of her termination in 2007. She fostered over 30 children, including a child from NorCo.

Before there was an arrest, Durante discovered that Packer may very well have been a county employee. But wherever she called, she was stonewalled or actively misled. She would either receive no answers at all or would be told that Packer is not a current employee.

In addition to calling numerous administrators, she also called all members of Council  Ken Kraft said he would be unable to get that information if he tried himself, and suggested that she seek help from the Controller, Steve Barron.

Barron, who started his career in human services at group homes, immediately provided the correct information to Durante. He was deeply concerned whether Packer may have abused any children in her care while she was employed at Northampton County. He was especially concerned when he learned that she had been terminated, and that this termination appeared to be related to sexual abuse of children occurring within her home. Barron approached county officials and warned them this would eventually become a major issue. He warned them they needed to get out in front of the matter to reassure the public and defend the staff within CYF.

He was ignored.

In addition to speaking to Durante, Barron also provided the same information to WFMZ-TV69. A news camera closed in on computer records showing what appears to be a social security number for Sara packer, although it is not identified as such. The shot lasted under a second, and Barron may have unintentionally disclosed Packer's security number.

County Administrator Cathy Allen latched onto this piece of information. Rather than notifying WFMZ-TV69, she tucked it away and shared it with Brown.

When County Council and Brown were properly taken to task for circling the wagons about Packer, Brown petulantly replied that Barron has disclosed Packer's social security number. The next day, the Controller's access to computer data was shut off, making it impossible for his auditors to do their jobs. Barron has since met with county officials, who are supposed to restore Barron's access soon. But County Council, who should be embarrassed over their own failures, tried their best last night to tar and feather Barron.

Hayden Phillips started the ball rolling by seeking an opinion from the Council solicitor. Phil Lauer correctly advised that there are criminal sanctions for intentionally disclosing a social security number. He added that Packer may have a civil cause of action if she has been harmed by the accidental disclosure, but not Council.Phillips wanted Lauer to forward his opinion to the District Attorney, but Lauer responded that if there is any crime, it would be a federal crime.

There is no evidence that Barron acted intentionally or that Packer has been harmed in any way. But there is evidence that Allen and Brown acted intentionally. They were aware of the disclosure and made no effort to contact WFMZ-TV69 and ask that the number be blurred. That's the first thing Barron did when he became aware that the had accidentally provided a social security number, even though it is never identified as such.

This failure on their part was very intentional. They had no interest in protecting the privacy of county employees. They wanted to get Barron for refusing to circle the wagons like they did.

Once Lauer gave his opinion, Peg Ferraro attempted to change the subject. Ken Kraft attempted to defend Barron, but Hayden Phillips was unwilling to "bury my head in the sand." He was completely willing to do just that when it came to Packer and the CYF workforce. .

Bob Werner threw Barron under the bus, essentially accusing him of being unethical because the poor bastard was worried that we had employed an adoption supervisor who now stands accused of killing and then dismembering her adopted daughter.

Benol, who like Werner and Phillips, had clammed up two weeks ago when confronted by Durante, called Barron's disclosure "a political stunt." If anything was a political stunt, it was their own pathetic attempt to shift attention from their stonewalling, which continues to this day. If any crime was committed, the investigation should start with John Brown and Cathy Allen, who were aware of the disclosure and took no action until it suited them.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why should we expect two ethical deviants like Brown and tax cheat Allen to do the right thing here? Barron should did deep into the shady contracts that Brown and his ilk have executed while in office. Follow the money Steve, and somewhere, somehow Brown and Allen are profiting. Talk to the poorsaps in the purchasing office about how many times Brown and his minions have ignored procedures and cut corners to reward vendors they favor. And council WAKE UP and stop attacking the county Controller while kissing Brown's butt!!

Anonymous said...

Why are county council members so afraid to talk? I spoke to a former county council member who was frustrated because the county would not comment about this situation. He told me that a Department that does great things for many needy people is being tarnished because county leaders refuse to be open.

Sad. Hopefully we will see some knowledgeable people step up and consider running against the people who claim they can not be beaten.

Anonymous said...

Time for the voters to clean house! Vote these bums out!

Anonymous said...

I think McClure and some decent council candidates could pull it out for the Democrats. I doubt they could sweep county council but maybe a few could make it along with McClure. Is he actively trying to solicit people to run to bolster the ticket? Would not be a bad idea.

Anonymous said...

What Barron did was unethical, regardless of his objective. Ends don't justify means - especially in government. He has a history of unethical and self-aggrandizing behavior. He's worked very hard for many years to earn others' distrust.

Anonymous said...

The county administration should have investigated all of Parker's records and dealings with children while employed by the county. Anything that looked supisious should be turned over to authorities. Thats all they have to say and do. Then Barron wouldn't have had to get involved. It wasn't Barron's place to talk to the press about Parker it was the administrations. Again John Brown's lack of transparency. It wouldn't have been that hard to say Yes Parker was as past employee of the county and we are looking into her past records we will cooperate with the authorities in this matter

Anonymous said...

I agree with 0215. A simple short press release acknowledging her past employment and position stating that we are investigating her entire career with us and we will respond accordingly when completed. No, council turned their heads and refused to do their duties while the very non-transparent and vindictive Brown/Allen duo went on a witch hunt. These are the people we put in charge of our government, [shame on us], and these are the people we can remove from government! Fire the incompetents!

Bernie O'Hare said...

I would have insisted that CYF and DHS come to Council and present on 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?

I believe the answers to these questions would likely reassure the public. But regardless, they need to be asked and answered. Both Council and the Exec instead have pretended they are Odfficer Barbrady, and went after the one person who was willing to be transparent.

Bernie O'Hare said...

4:41, I know of one excellent candidate who will be announcing soon,as well as Lori Vargo Heffner.

Bernie O'Hare said...

5:52, A person who lacks the personal integrity to sign his or her name calls Barron unethical. I see. Barron knew that speaking to the press and being honest would result in payback,and that is what has happened. I am particularly dis=gusted by Werner, who really is lashing out at Barron bc Barron refused to back him for Executive.

Anonymous said...

Heffner got beat in a Democratic Bethlehem twp. District. How will she win county wide? Your secret "excellent" candidate must be some mancrush.

Anonymous said...

No need to witch hunt. She is residing the county administrator's office.

Anonymous said...

I wish Jerry and Ron would go for it again. I don't know if they are thinking about tit or not. I guess they are comfortable in retirement.

Anonymous said...

The points u made and questions u wants answers to are on point. However I will bet my last dollar, CYF and HS directors don't have the answers to many of those. That is the current and very sad situation in NorCo Human Services and Govt.

Anonymous said...

I doubt very much that that Christian Bonzo woman will run again as a Democrat. Since she lost four years ago she has gone full on Alt-right wing whacko with her Facebook posts. She really hates Democrats. Not sure about anyone else.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Her name is Christen Borso,and I have not heard she is running. I have not really spoken with her and am unclear whether she's been converted or whether her Facebook page has been hijacked. I would guess the latter.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I know Christen and it is the former. She is really angry about her last race and is pissed she ran as a Democrat. That is her Facebook page and she has gone to her Republican rots. In fact she has gone way to the right. Hates all things democrat, especially the Obamas. Ask Kenny Kraft.

Bernie O'Hare said...

She should not have run at all.

george schaller said...

Bernie,
I havn't redd this article until after my Sunday worship service a day for family bonding and and God!
Again left blameing right when it is a modern social issue allowable because of the insurable peril numberZ game upon innocent indigent heads and both are involved. I love your bariage of questions with the mention of Department Of Homeland SICurity. The places were one should look are not only in Northampton County but the HOLE of the nue nue nue REnue suposid REjuvination of the entire area?
Were was it educated if at all and not just appointed, how many timeZ it was RElocated and manipulated as a past employee.
For one to do a investigitory investigation one must delve deep and take vows of poverty to understand the deprevity theZe degenerates dish upon the most vulernable. I will give a hint as too the incubators of this and many other henious crimes against the pure at heart in a broad synopsys. Begin taking a look into those that dole dollars out for such services and than look were said monies were REallocated to unneeded agendas. Right now they are on the move again and the barter for the soup can, can be spotted within the nightZ.
There is Bad that clokeZ itself in Good, allthough the mixture has become a stence with smoke billowing from the pot of fermenting blue juice boiling in the pressure cooker theZe sic sadistic parasites still walk among us in the triboro.
I for one can name names as well as draw a cartooon chactureZ of current employees still under employ?
REpublican redd
humanist by design

Anonymous said...

Could someone please translate this guy into English?

Anonymous said...

Barron cleared! No charges!