About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, August 03, 2017

McClure: Human Services Vacancies Endanger Children, Elderly



If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound? If a politician calls a newxs conference and only a blogger appears, is it still a news conference? Bethlehem Attorney Lamont McClure might be able to weigh in on these philosophical questions. He's the Democratic nominee for Northampton County Executive, and called a presser yesterday to lament Human Services vacancies, particularly in the agencies that are supposed to protect our elderly and children. None of the daily news outlets appeared. After the election, they will piously condemn voter apathy and wonder why no one votes.

I get the idea of a news blackout right before an election, when politicians become desperate and will make outrageous claims about the other side. But in August? McClure's news conference, which went on without them, was intended to inform the voters that there are vacancies in several Human Services departments.

Human Services Director Allison Frantz discussed these vacancies at a committee meeting in July. I was the sole member of the press, if you can call me that, who was there. At that time, she disclosed staff shortages at Area Agency on Aging (17%), Children Youth and Families (CYF) (13 caseworkers) and Information and Referral Emergency Services (IRES) (3 PT caseworkers). McClure's fear, and a warranted one is that Executive John Brown is dragging his feet to fill these vacancies, something he did with corrections officers at the jail and row office workers.

"We're going full tilt and we don't have any down time," CYF Director Kevin Dolan told NorCo Council in June. "'Something bad is gonna' happen,' a fellow CYF Director recently told him. Referrals of possible child abuse have risen in his office from 3,514 in 2014 to an estimated 7,500 this year. Most of these new referrals are a result of what are commonly called the Sandusky laws, which now require more reporting.

The Area Agency on Aging is dealing with a surge in baby boomers while IRES is responding to the opioid epidemic.

So the problem goes beyond a need to fill vacancies. There actually is a need for more staff.

Will Brown fill this need? "We need to get those filled now," said McClure.

This was the point of McClure's news conference. An excerpt is posted above.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is there a democratic party in Northampton County? If so they must have a leader, and why wouldn't this leader and their executive committee call their Committee members in each ward to support and be at their candidates conference?

Anonymous said...

The local press should neb ashamed of themselves. This is serious matter. Peoples lives depend on this issue. Brown and county council raise d property taxes. They want to build a mega-million dollar prison in the slate belt but short-staff necessary services. What the hell is wrong with them? Other than fanatic party people, hard to imagine anyone voting for Brown and his clowns on election day. Time to throw the amateurs out, they are still clueless.

Anonymous said...

If you want local news, this is the place. If you want junk advertisements, seek the MC or Times Express. No comparison!

Anonymous said...

12:37. Great questions, where is the Northampton County Democratic Party and Chair. Silent after his wife got a job with Cartwright. No need to help anybody when you've helped yourself with your position in the so called party of the Ds

Anonymous said...

Not only are the vacancies a danger to the children, those filling some of the incompetent voided chairs in offices at CPS are just empty chairs collecting checks as well as building there pension. I am very sure this is not the only human service area that is lacking in NC, because this is a administrations design.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Any person who relies on his county party to get elected has already lost. I believe Lamont knows this very well.

Anonymous said...

Playing with #'s. 17% is one person. What percentage of meeting did McClure miss while on CC.

Anonymous said...

Bring back the Mediterranean Manslab to human services, He was very loved by my great aunt Eugenia the Dacchau survivor.

Anonymous said...

Are there any write in candidates for either party?

Anonymous said...

McClure missed Committee Meetings, Not Council Meetings, Big Difference 9:27am

Anonymous said...

No one cares till someone dies. Then the papers exploit the story for months! Look at the Sara Parker story. The county lost many seasoned workers when Brown changed health care. The non-union staff received one raise during that time frame and the union staff are dragging their feet because of the health care issue. They have had no raises either. New workers are overwhelmed from door, because of the massive amount of work and responsibility that comes with the job. Those seasoned employees that remained are dedicated but unappreciated by the current administration.

PLEASE GET OUT AND VOTE!

Jeff Fox said...

Anonymous at August 3, 2017 at 11:44 AM

"McClure missed Committee Meetings, Not Council Meetings, Big Difference 9:27am"

There is a big difference. Committee meetings are where most of the "work", is done. At least it should be. Council meetings tend to be public showtime. They may get more of the press, but most of the "heavy lifting" is/should be done in committee, and then reported and/or a recommendation made to the full council. Debate can happen there, but most of it seems to be political grandstanding. One can usually predict who will say what about what.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jeff, I agree on the importance of committee hearings, which is why I do an annual report card. I like to attend them bc they give me a better understanding of county issues. Thanks to those meetings, I knew in June that there is a crisis in CYF.

Anonymous said...

A majority of seasoned, competent workers will not venture to this workforce. The employee is poorly treated by management in NC and elsewhere. Tyrant incompetents have made the assent to management by political ass-kissing. No where is there accountability for the top levels of government. A free for all. The Lehigh valley is the 7th borough. Flee while you can.

Anonymous said...

The only thing Brown and his county council have accomplished in four years is raising real estate taxes 10%. Of course there is all the chaos and mayhem as well.

Anonymous said...

How many meeting did John Brown miss last year? I would say many more than McClure has ever missed. Guaran-damn-teed!