Wednesday, April 12, 2017

NorCo HR Department Has Lunch on Taxpayers at Courthouse

Northampton County has very strict rules about paying for an employee's meals, unless you happen to work for the Human Resources Department. Do as they say, but not as they do.

The rule for most hourly employees is that you have to be 50 miles away from your work station, after which you are authorized $8 for breakfast, $10 for lunch and $20 for dinner. Or you can spend $38 in one meal. For managers, it's actually slightly less

Given that NorCo's Human Resources Department spent $56,758.14 on "staff development and training" last year, the workers there should know that they are unable to seek reimbursement for meals at the courthouse. But guess what? On February 17, they ordered lunch for 10 people at $8 a person. The lunch included sandwiches, cookies, chips, coffee and iced tea. You can see the order below, authorized by none other than Amy Baker Trapp. She's the HR Director and it is either she or her husband who referred to county workers as "entitled spoiled brat government employees."

County taxpayers picked up the tab on 2/8/17 for his lunch.

At least they picked a good place.

I have filed a Right-to-Know seeking information concerning expenses claimed by what increasingly appears to be a spendthrift HR Department, for whom the rules have no application.

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Voters appear not to care. The Republicans have conned the people and they are Ok with it all, Since republicans are great leaders.

Anonymous said...

this doesn't offend me that much, if there is a valid reason supporting it

Anonymous said...

It should offend you. Rules are rules they apply to everyone. Rules are made to limit abuse of taxpayer money. Bring a lunch like everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Just a question on this investigative piece.... how do you know it was just a random employee lunch? I don't see that stated on the document you listed. Personally, while i love the courthouse cafeteria, I'd rather have Josie's or Daddy's place for lunch from my employer. Also while you were out researching this, I actually had a personnel matter that required assistance from HR AFTER normal work hours and guess what....they responded immediately, listened to my issue, and took the time to explain things to me.

Anonymous said...

Maybe HR wouldn't have lunch meetings is they would come to work EVERY DAY and put in 8 hours each day IN THE OFFICE.

Anonymous said...

HR is in place to apply the rules not break them

Anonymous said...

Some may view this as a minor, nit-picking ethical lapse, but these abuses give all government employees a bad reputation. As a public sector employee, I don't feel right even claiming meals while traveling, since I can buy my own meals. I would never, ever accept a tax payer funded lunch while at the office, meals are not part of my compensation and shouldn't be. All the lavish furniture, art work, popcorn machine etc., it all raises many issues and gives the public the appearance that all government workers abuse public funds. Keep up the good investigative work, this is an important issue.

Anonymous said...

If this, in fact, was a payment for unauthorized employee meals, why was the money disbursed? Controller asleep at the switch?

Anonymous said...

Part of the Brown/Allen/Trapp saga at NC. I remember when Brown/Allen were charging mileage to drive to and from work. No transparency, nobody knows. This includes the clueless county council who tacitly supports this type of use of taxpayer's money. This whole clan of robber barons has to be elected out!

Anonymous said...

PopCORN and now lunch, looks like the hype salesperson hype is trying to sink the big hook on there inequities to staff and the public they are supossidly there too serve. berie will there be a colurful full fun powerpoint presentation perpatrating the positives with truely no factual data collected pushing a biased onesided oppinion.
The numbers game is a faked factual data representation that truely is not even close to true nubers as the count can't be counted as the people of there representations.

Jeffrey Anthony said...

Among many senior executives I spoken to over the years, there seems to be a growing regret that their organizations' payroll and benefits clerks got the fancy title HR VP and an ever growing staff.

The function of HR in a corporate setting is vague (how many "team building" exercises do you really need? And doesn't a well-structured bonus system deliver more tangible results with more rigorous metrics?) and in government, where the concept of Return-On-Investment is unknown (indeed, its mention is nearly verboten), HR's function and the results it is expected to deliver to the organization are vaguer still -- while its costs are very real.

Perhaps the problem isn't Ms. Trapp per se, but rather a structural and organizational problem. Perhaps if the county did a zero-based budgeting exercise, the necessity and extent of the HR staff as a whole would be brought into sharper focus...

Anonymous said...

Every department in Bethlehem Twp treats it's staff a free lunch/meal every month so how are they any different?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I do not know what the rules are in BT. I know what they are in NorCo, and this is improper and contrary to county policy.

Bernie O'Hare said...

", I actually had a personnel matter that required assistance from HR AFTER normal work hours and guess what....they responded immediately, listened to my issue, and took the time to explain things to me."

To whomever you are in the HR Department, this is no justification for charging a meal to the county. If that were so, the corrections officers should be charging the county for meals nearly every day.

Anonymous said...

Our government hates us because we constantly complain about their spending money like it's not their money because it's not their money. From county park namee Wayne Grube's lack of concern with council chamber renovation cost overruns ("I think it's nice."), to popcorn machines and taxpayer-funded lunches ('let them eat cake"), it never stops - regardless of party. Government types from both parties hate taxpayers.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Personally, while i love the courthouse cafeteria, I'd rather have Josie's or Daddy's place for lunch from my employer. "

Sorry, but the courthouse cafe is the equal of any place for lunch in Easton.

Anonymous said...

What a scam! Take the money out of Von Trapp's bloated salary. And discipline her for violating county policy.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"If this, in fact, was a payment for unauthorized employee meals, why was the money disbursed? Controller asleep at the switch?"

Because the Controller does nut authorize these payments. This payment was authorized by a Trapp subordinate in HR who apparently has authority to spend the county purse. This is something the Controller would eventually pickup in an audit. Also, it happened 2/8, about two months ago, right after Amy Trapp cut off his access to records. I suspect the Controller is going to be picking up quite a few of these problems.

Anonymous said...

"this is no justification for charging a meal to the county. "

there could be. day long training, that precluded them going out for lunch? a lunch training seminar that required their presence?

these would be valid, in my mind.

not saying that's the case, just saying I'd need more context before i get outraged.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Wrong. The county does not pay for meetings that include a lunch. The employee is responsible. This is not Allentown. They can dig into their own pockets.

Anonymous said...

Long day of planned training, pack a fuckin lunch...

Anonymous said...

Just like the starbucks gift cards at the prison they gave out for some bullshit presentation.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That actually violates the HRC, just like the divorce stipend paid to law clerks. Tips are for servers at restaurants, not public employees.

Anonymous said...

Why is this no different than what the Courts do to the taxpayers. I served on Jury Duty and the Jurors stated that they didn't want to go to lunch so they asked the Court Officer (I believe they call them tip staff)if we could order Pizza delivered to the Jury Room. We all agreed to chip in and pay for it to be delivered. We ordered the pizza and it was delivered and we ate it. When we asked for the bill, we were told the county paid for it. We were not in deliberation and we were not forbidden to go out to eat, we just simply didn't want to leave the courthouse and go through all that security again.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The county pays for meals provided to deliberating jurors. "You can have whatever you want, so long as it's pizza," is what Judge Kiury likes to say. That is only bc it is a captive audience.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Most taxpayers would agree that deliberating jurors should have their meals provided. The judges don't want them to leave and be subjected to outside influence.

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely no justification for this. But Brown won't punish her. He still thinks he is running his own private business where bosses can buy what they want when they want.

Anonymous said...

This comes from a serial cyber defamer who extorted many free lunches from a window in another state.

Hope you choke on your own vomit

Bernie O'Hare said...

A window?

Anonymous said...

Corrections Officers...They eat for free at the jail, BUT...the same meal the inmates get, NOT from the Courthouse Cafe.

Bernie O'Hare said...

They eat only when the inmates eat and only what the inmates eat.

Anonymous said...

@11:51 Seems to be having a few cognitive issues from all those illegal drugs.

Anonymous said...

That poster is a pane.

Anonymous said...

This inpropriety is not only against the HRC but is as unethical as calling county employees "spoiled."

I would hope that the County Council ends this mochary and wasteful spending of tax dollars by pressuring the Executive to fire her and taking the money wasted/owed out of her last check.

Keep up the good work BO and get your popcorn ready!

E Mest said...

This is what happens when new administration comes in and think they can run the show. They don't bother to read what the county policies are or don't care! When I worked in accounts payable, I actually policed invoices on my own and questioned the departments on their expenses. Mind you, it wasn't my job! My job was to pay the invoices. It's the departments supervisors job to police the invoices! But having worked there 27 years AND being a taxpayer myself I felt obligated! As new supervisors were hired or promoted the rules fell by the wayside.
The Northampton County/Brown administration ship is sinking!

Anonymous said...

Wow. This is a slap in the face to all the employees in other departments who follow the rules so diligently on behalf of the tax payors. Who reimburse the county when they are out of town at training and exceed their lunch allotment by mere cents. Not to mention the department heads who buy their employees a Christmas lunch out of their own pockets, even though they earn about the same as them. I could not be more disgusted.

Anonymous said...

Wow, E. Meat is really thinking outside the box as well as working diligently way above the pay grade! Thank you accounts payable for the fine job you are doing as well as duty to whatever entity you are working for, Public or private.
If in fact it is a public sector job in NC, do a do over audit of trapps office I am sure were she is from there will be allot of chess that a mouse could chew on.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Elaine is very sharp, and she trained a few people who are also very sharp.

Anonymous said...

The courthouse cafe operator is too nice to be a party to this fraud. Von Trapp has an arrogant "you are lucky to have me" attitude that extends to her bending the rules when she see fit. She is supposed to be an officer of adherence to county policy. Her minions are involved in disciplinary decisions relating to violations of county policy and procedures. And their boss just violated those policies herself! Like that tax cheat Allen, who had the gall to charge commuter mileage without any remorse or punishment, Von Trapp will just pay the bill having been caught with her hands in the cookie jar. Heads up to accounts payable for exposing this fraudulent action.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the employee do the job she was hired to do and not appoint herself some sort of fiscal policeperson that is not in her job description. Maybe her position should ne audited?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Sorry but you don't know where or how I got my information.

Anonymous said...

Way to go Elaine!!!! Every since her (or husband --- yeah right)called the hard working employees "Spoiled Entitled Brat Government Workers", when she does rarely come into the office, she comes in before employees come in and leaves before they leave. She is ashamed to show her face as she should be. She should be working core hours, the hours that employees are there!!!! Another policy broken! Also, how does she hire to correction officers to do HR jobs without HR experience or training???? Oh that's right they get their training on the backs of taxpayers. Anywhere else you need to have the credentials before you get the job.

She will add to will add to John Brown losing the race. If he knows what is good for him, he will get rid of her and her cabinet.

Anonymous said...

Heard she had the night cleaning crew told that they need to go on break at the same time and must go out the rotunda. What next, must they hold on to a rope like daycare.

Employees (even Cathy Allen) during the day go out any door, whenever they want. Doesn't sound like everyone is being treated the same.

Anonymous said...

This is no different than a over inflated expense account that has never truely any proper accounting for such a public privilige, I will qoute a now great man, " while many Americans are pooring generic cereal you are eating a fortyfive dollar breakfast"?

Sad and most of those eating generic cerael are public sector workers like those in NC and also public servants, and must get foodstamps to help feed there families?

Anonymous said...

Hey! I eat brand name cereal! From the dented crushed box discount store. Ide share where it is but then ide be back to generic myself.

Ya know popcorn and milk used to be a proper breakfast before corn flakes.

Anonymous said...

Allen hangs out on the loading dock smoking cigarettes in violation of posted restrictions. So what else is new for this self-privileged group of phonies?

Anonymous said...

As a county employee with a county procurement card, I guess I can go out for lunch now and charge it to the county. Damn, finally getting a benefit back instead of a cut.

Anonymous said...

But you will all vote for these people to go back in office in November or you will sleep in or be too tired to vote. Believe it when your actions match your words.

As Vaughn said, "I'll get reelected anyway".
That about sums it up!

Anonymous said...

It's good to be the king , ah Queen !

Anonymous said...

Interesting how local government and school districts have draconian rules regarding food and expenses given how lavishly State and Federal employees have it. Locals do all the real work.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You are wrong there. The state and federal gov't have strict rules on how much can be spent on the road, and they need to be replicated locally.