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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Brown's Trapp Problem

Amy Trapp is Northampton County's current Director of Human Resources. I'll be the first to admit that when she came here, I was quite impressed. She told me that she would be in all the departments and everyone would know her by name. She said she viewed her role as being an employee advocate. She agreed on the need for a pay study, and said one would be implemented gradually. She also said it was ridiculous to test people on skills having nothing to do with jobs being sought. I was completely conned by her, so it's hard for me to slam Executive John Brown for failing to see through the veneer. But by now, he must know that she is toxic. She has made so many enemies in her short tenure here that it's bound to hurt him in November.

$800 popcorn machines. Trips to Vegas and New Orleans. Lunches at the courthouse on the taxpayer dime. The creation of her own fiefdom with people she imported from corruption-plagued Allentown. Attempts to force everyone to use biometric punch clocks without consensus. The "entitled spoiled brat government employees remark," posted on this blog on an account owned by her husband. And lets not forget those $10 and $15 gift cards she purchased with employee money. She's unable to explain what happened to some of them. 

Brown has both kept her and has in fact praised her. Now she's violating the Northampton County's Home Rule Charter's creation of a career service for its nonunion employees. This is designed to attract and retain the best qualified individuals through a fair and open competitive selection process. Vacant positions must be advertised and filled from within, if possible, through impartial standards.

Perhaps the biggest complaint I hear from employees is that cronyism is becoming rampant. People are selected for jobs based on who they know instead of on merit. This has gone on for years, and under previous Executives. If you've ever wondered why 75% of the County workforce is unionized, this is why.

But currently, the biggest offender is Human Resources  - the one department that should be ensuring that all others operate fairly. If you've ever wondered why 75% of the County workforce is unionized, this is why.

HR Director Amy Trapp has routinely passed over county workers who have applied for positions in her department to bring in people from the outside or who caught her eye, and then has spent county tax dollars to train these people because they were unqualified when selected. When she selects people from the inside, she tips them off about the vacancy and tells them to apply.

The most recent example involves a female corrections officer who Trapp wants in her department. This officer has told several of her co-workers that Trapp has approached her and told her to apply for the vacancy. Giving this person a leg up is completely contrary to the open and competitive process envisioned by the Home Rule Charter.

It gets better. Earlier this year, this officer applied for a lieutenant's position. She thought the fix was in then, and told some black officers that they she'd be writing them up if they wore cornrow hair styles or weaves. I'm unaware whether the grooming policy prohibits these styles, but if it does, this appears to be discriminatory.

Someone must have complained, so this corrections officer was passed over for Lieutenant.

But Trapp now wants this person in Human Resources. Instead of merit selection, the system has devolved into blatant cronyism.

And I was scheduled for corn rows on Thursday.

Brown apparently thinks he'll win the election without the support of the workforce. 

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

You really think all of this will filter down to Brown losing his re-election bid? I mean the turnout will be crazy low and that has to favor a republican incumbent.

By the way, nice picture. You look like Granny from the Beverly Hillbilly's.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that picture of Trapp is UUUUUgly, looking like that alone should disqualify her. But she must be doing a good job to attract all this attention.

Anonymous said...

Too bad you don't have to write facts like a reql reporter. This is why you are a bottom feeding blogger because you make stuff up and have no journalistic integrity...

Anonymous said...

You really have an infatuation with this woman don’t you? Do you have pictures of her throughout your house or just one room with a shrine dedicated to her?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

@6:18 I agree with everything you said, except for the last paragraph which was unnecessary and actually serves to cheapen your assertions. There is enough to criticize Trapp on without going there. Like het violating employees' Weingarten rights.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I've dealt with her. She is a bully. She goes into meetings with the goal of making the employee cry, regardless of the facts. She belittles people and does not treat employees with respect or dignity. That doesn't mean you need to mention any physical characteristics she may have or have had in the past and try to psychoanalyze why she treats others the way she does. Conventionally "pretty" people can be assholes too.

Anonymous said...

Well, let’s see.... this correction officer has gone around previously saying she was getting a position and how did that work out? What makes you think her assertion is true if she’s been incorrect before? Maybe she just THINKS she’s a shoo-in....

Anonymous said...

Amy Trapp called her and told her to apply 7:26 am. Don't you get that?

Anonymous said...

The county does not want a pay study and that is obvious. They haven't given out pay step increases in quite some time. They don't mind giving out measly 2 percent raises but refuse to reward those employees who stay with the county their individual pay step increases. Eventually you will have 98% of the county's workforce unionize because of this. All you have to do is look at the unionized workers raises over the last 10 years compared to non union and you'll see a drastic difference.
As far as the cronyism, I'm not surprised. This has been going on well before Ms. Trapp every stepped into her office. The only way to avoid this is to have an independent person oversee the hiring process. We all know this will never happen. Life goes on...

Anonymous said...

If county hall walkers despise Brown, he must be doing something right. The election is another lesser of two evils choice. I’ll take my chances with Brown. I think I’d spontaneously combust if I tried to vote for sleazy McNo-show. It’s a miserable choice. Voters have already lost.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I've deleted a few comments that I consider too personal.

7:34, Are you suggesting that HR should be a nonpolitical appointment? The HRC is coming under review soon and I'd like to understand your points. Cronyism has been a problem in NC, and it does extend beyond Trapp. By making the person who does the hiring independent, you just give that person the power to find spots for her friends, so I do not see your suggestion as a solution.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"You really think all of this will filter down to Brown losing his re-election bid? I mean the turnout will be crazy low and that has to favor a republican incumbent."

1) I do think Brown is going to lose. County employees are angry with him and Trapp. Although 1/3 of them live outside the county, I believe that the employees their families and the retirees translate to about 5,000 votes (At one time, it was 7,000). The way he has treated them, combined wit the way Trapp has treated them, leads me to believe most will vote against him. In the last election, Brown probably got about 30-40% of the employee vote. I know numerous county workers who voted for him and who now regret it.

2) Four years ago, Lucy Lennon held unemployed Brown by the hand and walked him up and down the streets of Bethlehem. The result was lots of votes. People like to be asked and were disenchanted by Callahan, especially after he interjected himself in the Mayoral race. This time around, Brown has not gone door-to-door. What angered Bethlehem about Callahan does not apply top McClure. He will get heavy Democratic support in what is essentially a one-party town. The write-in campaign of Dr. Paige Van Wirt has created a buzz and may slightly increase turnout. There is also a disputed Magistrate race as well as a disputed Mayor race in nearby Freemansburg.

3) Brown should do well in the northern tier but has alienated voters in Lehigh Tp over his refusal to pay for their booking center, something that officials there feel he promised. While I could never see these very conservative voters going for McClure, they might not vote for Brown.

4) Brown has angered Nazareth area voters over a jail at Gracedale. While he has finally denied any intention of doing so, he refused to take a firm stand until just a few days ago. He has instead insulted a true grass roots movement as being politically motivated, when the fact is they are Republicans. In the meantime, the county party has failed to grasp the importance of this issue and has instead been saying, to quote party boss Lee Snover, "a jail has to go somewhere." This has had a ripple effect, and I notice that Nazareth Mayoral candidate Lance Colondo has made it party of his election pitch.

5) The county party is so focused on next year's Congressional races and pleasing Donald Trump that it has forgotten its job is to help elect Republicans in the county. At a recent dinner, Lee Snover was so intent about pushing Simmons for Congress next year that she never bothered to ask the Republicans running for County Council this year to say a few words.

6) Trump has hurt the chances of county Republicans. In a county-wide race, this is going to hurt. Even people who voted for him are growing weary if the incessant twitter storms and his mean-spiritedness. He is due for a rebuke, and i think it is coming in November.

As a caveat, I am known for making the wrong prediction in election contests on a rather regular basis and have been called the kiss of death. Lamont McClure is begging me to back Brown.

Anonymous said...

The taxes in Northampton county are already way too high. time to cut the fat, cut employees, cut, cut , cut.

Anonymous said...

A good manager will hire the best person they can find for the job, not just the most senior member of the union. Seniority should never be the way to advance people.

Anonymous said...

She makes people cry? Really!? Are we talking about adults or kindergarten children?

Anonymous said...

She starts a conversation with "I can terminate you".

Anonymous said...

Republicans don't have a chance in bethlehm....

Peter j.Cochran said...

Bernie, it's been that way since I've first attempted occupation . I took sheriff deputy test and the bases were all ready loaded . This issue IS WHY qualified people have gone elsewhere leaving hiring to what this issue is . When you have to make a living finding fugitives by accually running them down ,or no pay check , take it from me the dynamics change . So I invented Constables to do domestic work for example and for awhile constables were doing the job that domestic relations was paying ' investigators ' to go to lunch and then turn left and get their drycleaning ,

.peter j.Cochran said...

I think Mr. Brown will find about Consulting job ,maybe the. Bridge Commission .

george schaller said...

Bernie,
I haven't seen it wearing the white pleather tent that Omar Replicated for Allentown's giggles and jiggles. Its truely one in the same circus venue just a bunch of traveling gypsy's.

Anonymous said...

Her GOAL is to make people cry. Which is bizarre, I'll admit. But like has been said before...she's a bully.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, what???

Anonymous said...

Brown deserves to lose votes for not getting rid of her and letting her treat employees horrible. When she insisted on a ridiculous salary, Council should have showed her the door. She has spent ridiculous amounts of taxpayer dollars!

She must have been bullied when she was younger and now she takes glory in bullying others. She definitely has a self-centered ego, which reflected with her LOUD boisterous voice and the way she walks into a room. She needs to be put in her place and booted.

Anonymous said...

What place is that, barefoot and in the kitchen? A guy walks into a room and commands attention,visually or vocally, and they’re admired. A (confident) woman does the same and she must be seeking attention or she’s a bully or self-centered, etc., etc., etc.

Bernie O'Hare said...

No, this has nothing to do with her sex. It has everything to do with her personality. She is a bully and acts unprofessionally. Her continued presence at the courthouse is proof that Brown has no regard for the employees.

Anonymous said...

I know first hand that she basically starts conversations with: I can terminate you. After that it only goes down hill. Right or not she yells till she makes some point of hers. I'm definitely voting this year and all my family and friends are being fully informed of how they operate.

Anonymous said...

Cut the crap O’ hare, like you’re some kind of employee advocate. Yea, Brown should fire her because a handful of employees don’t like her or cry because of her.

Anonymous said...

With first hand knowledge of how she acts I'm not quite sure why I keep getting deleted. I've been on the receiving end of her yelling fits. I've had to brush up on workplace law and consult an attorney.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, there is nothing you can do or say to educate the clueless. Sigh...

Anonymous said...

I've been in career services for 10 years. Not 1 step increase. Not a single one. People coming in in my same position start making the same as I make today. Where's the incentive to stay and do a good job? It's demoralizing. The county is not doing right by it's experienced and dedicated career service employees. We are not union so no need for people to boohoo this comment.

Anonymous said...

Quit!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Your comments were going into my spam folder.

Shu said...

Ooh.....HR position......I DON'T THINK SO...........

Shu said...

7:26am...hmm...wow that's really accurate info....

Anonymous said...

This is definitely true!!! I've heard her say it. Along with Luke DeBoer the labor relations officer and Courtney Kendejeski, the deputy director of HR.