|Billy "Billybytes" Givens and yours truly,|
shortly before Billy's untimely passing
I've written a few stories about the sad plight of Human Services caseworkers who have been ordered to return to the centralized human services building instead of pretending to work from home. Human Services Director Sue Wandalowski devised a detailed plan to minimize their risk of infection. Her plan was so good that it was circulated statewide. But these supposed public servants hated the idea of returning. They emailed Council members, spoke at the last Council meeting and tried to get the press on their side. Steve Cantanese, President of the local SEIU, told The Morning Call that McClure's insistence that they return to the office is "one of the most blatant disregards for workers in public safety that we've seen."
Yeah, it's right up there with the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in 1911.
While Human Services staffers were bitching, Northampton County's COs at the jail quietly rescued an inmate who had tried to end his life. They and Gracedale workers have been the real heroes during this pandemic. Unlike the social workers, they have experienced actual cases of Covid-19 within their ranks.
Last night, caseworkers were once again before Council, and threatened to return at every meeting until they get satisfaction.
Kazzy Johnson, their shop steward, said that it's too risky to work at the centralized human services building. She complained "this Council [and] the public was served with untruths by our administrators, some of the media and by a blogger whose only goal was to disparage us and to spread hate and lies about us to the community."
My goal then and now was to tell the truth, and that's what I did. If they were working from home, they'd still be there. If she wishes to be disparaged, I could oblige.
Now Council has no intention of doing a damn thing. This is a labor issue, and if they inject themselves, the County could end up on the wrong side of an unfair labor practice accusation. Kazzy's words were nevertheless music to the ears of Council members.
I've been even more critical of them than the caseworkers. And they deserve it. I've spared no one. They are, after all, elected officials who should expect a certain amount of scrutiny. But they hate it as much as Donald Trump dislikes being called out. So President Ron Heckman used Kazzy to take a shot at me.
"I know one thing I am allowed to say, and that is ... I wouldn't worry ... regarding any blogger because I doubt if anybody on Council takes a specific blogger that seriously. All you have to do is read what some bloggers write about us. We'll hear you, we'll hear the administration, management, but I wouldn't take - if you're gonna' talk about a blogger, you don't even have to bother. That's not an issue for us."
Oh yes it is. When a Council member was poised to take a job as Finance Director, I was taken seriously when I pointed out his own checkered financial history. When a former County Administrator had a slew of tax liens, that became an issue. When I reported that a former Human Resources Director spent money on $700 popcorn machines and trips to Vegas, that became an issue. When a former Executive got caught by yours truly in lies about building a new jail on Gracedale's campus, that became an issue. When a current member of Council was sanctioned by a County judge for "perjury" in a custody dispute, that became an issue. When two union reps on the current Council tried to screw a group of county workers simply because they left a union, that became an issue. When GPA's former Solicitor tried to stick the County with hundreds of thousands of dollars in inflated legal fees, that became an issue. When I reported that some Gracedale nurses let a resident's pressure wound fester for over a month without changing the bandage, that became an issue.
I'll agree I'm unpopular with the Brahmins. My role, like the late and great blogging pioneer BillyBytes, is to expose those who "hold themselves up as models of probity but are venal, be they officials such as mayors and school board members, political parties, or the mainstream media."
As I said, I must be doing something right.
On Monday, I'll tell you about the rest of the meeting.
Blogger's Note: For the past few days, two trolls have attempted unsuccessfully to hijack this blog. I can delete them in seconds, but have to be online. It is unfair to you to subject you to spam comments, so I will be enabling comment moderation when I am not online.