Thursday, March 27, 2008

Nepotism in Norristown?

I'm not sure if nepotism is the right word to use here because the home rule charter Norristown is now under doesn't really say an elected official is not allowed to get a borough job for two of his children. It does have several entries about employees of the borough not being allowed to hiring family members, especially if that person would be supervising said family member. And it has another entry about nepotism after the fact, describing an instance where someone already employed might be in violation if a relative is elected or appointed to a position.
Why I find this so astonishing and why I'm going into such detail is that I can't believe there isn't a clause in the new home rule charter that states something along the lines of 'relatives of elected officials are not to be hired by any department head within the municipality.'
Here's the deal. Two of Councilman David Hodo's children have been hired by the borough. Now I know David. I've spoken with him on a number of occasions and he seems like a fine gentleman to me, but certainly we can all see where there is at the very least an appearance of a conflict of interest.
What is an employee to do if an elected official, one who could very well hold said employee's livelihood in the palm of his hand, comes to the employee and asks them to hire their son or daughter?
Now what happens if said children find themselves in a bit of a pickle with the local police department?
There are just too many 'what ifs.'
Nepotism or favoritism. No matter how you slice it, it just doesn't seem right.

44 comments:

County Guy said...

Stan,
You are absolutely correct, it does not seem right. That being said this is no surprise. All the County Commissioner hire are friends. Mathews hired Greg Honeyman, Peter Leiss (who had no HR experience). Ellis hired his girlfriend. Family, friends, what's the difference. It seems qualifications do not matter in the County or Norristown. It's been that way for years and will never change. Glad you wrote about it though!

Hey speaking of friends what ever happen to Mike Marino's hired friend Andy Gullota? Is he still on the "double my salary payroll". Rumor has it he was getting hired for some type of other job which the county indirectly ran.

Anonymous said...

Stan, you criticize people who write into your site for not substantiating their statements. In fact, you accuse them of using the site as a "bully pulpit." So, when you infer that someone has gotten into a pickle with the police, you are also guilty of the bully pulpit accusation. Either put the facts out their or don't. But, don't use your power as a reporter to malign others.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it does look like nepotism, and that "look like" is a problem that the whole of council could consider and refine in a compatible Administrative Code Ordinance.

The HR Charter does not specifically prohibit what happened here because the drafters felt it would be just as unfair to deny a person a job because a relative was an official or because another relative was already an employee. In the same manner the Charter does not describe how close a relative might be to have nepotism.

The Commission felt that officials should be sensitive to the issue and if the public felt this kind of situation was a fault with an elected official they can show their objection at the ballot box.

Bill DeAngelis

boro guy said...

I have to agree with the county guy, he is right on the money. Accoridng to a recent Inky article, Matthews comes right out and said the he hired his friend Barry Miller for county solicitor, and it was a tit for tat thing so that Hoeffel could hire some of his friends. HOw blantant is that, I guess the next thing will be the hiring of Matthews and Hoeffel's wives. Poor Bruce, he gets to hire no one. I guess outsiders don't have a prayer. The concilman should resign if he relatives want to keep their jobs in the boro, what could they be drinking in the water??

Anonymous said...

Stan, the Boro should not hire children or relatives of an elected/appointed official. But, job opportunities are posted and first come basis should be used... no benefits given or guarantee that they will be considered next year for their spring/summer/winter breaks... There are many jobs out there - apply, if you are suited for the position you should be proud of your accomplishment. YOU OWE ME comment from a relative will be held over your head...for many years if you do not go it on your own.

Jorge Valdez said...

To anonymous - You may not have great reading skills but to me Stan is not inferring that anybody had a problem with the police. It seems that he is listing one of many possible examples where a conflict of interest COULD occur.

Stan - What kind of jobs do the 2 sons have? I think the type of job and how qualifed the sons are should play a role into whether this nepotism or simply guys that are qualifed and willing to do the job the right way.

It seems like the bottom line is that the people who are really qualified to take these government jobs want nothing to do with them. Those people can make a lot more money in the private sector and not have to deal with the idiocy of local politicians.

Anonymous said...

You have nepotism in Norristown and we have cronyism here in Lower Providence Township...so what's the difference except for our citizens to get unqualified useless on boards and Commissions.
The Professor

Anonymous said...

To the person who said there is cronyism in LP. Please explain. Better yet, get a pair and run for supervisor..oh, that's right you'll get beat again. Stop with the negative talk about LP.

Anonymous said...

Stan: The professor must be getting rather long in tooth since he omitted the word "people from the sentence ending with "unqualified useless ------". Please consider this a correction for me.
The Professor

Anonymous said...

Stan,
Norristown's Home Rule Charter definitely should state there will be NO hire of any relative, no matter how far removed (i.e. cousins, great grand child, etc.) of an Elected/Appointed Official. If a person is qualified for a certain position, he/she should check other municipalities for openings.

Anonymous said...

As a Republican resident living in the 2-3 voting district of Lower Providence Township, I was most
appalled to see the unprofessional campaign literature passed out by the challengers Bo and Janice for my district. Considering you both get free printing for your campaign material(cronyism?), couldn't you two a least do on bettet job on it's composition. This family of four can not support either of you if that is an example of the representation that we will be receiving. Obviously I must reamian anonymous at this time, but I will tell you face to face at the polls.

Anonymous said...

Stan, I would like to make a comment on "Beyond the Headlines"... Norristown has produced many great adults who are civic minded - Ernie Hadrick is one. I met Ernie & his brother during the very hard times in the early 1960's when he helped in the Kitchen at the Gen. Washington CC in Audubon during Banquet Season. A character that made time pass more swiftly and at the end of the night you were still in a good mood. The dance that he & his brother did had something to do with a "Chicken" - but I really can't remember what it was but they sure could flap their arms that went with the music. A truly nice family...his father also worked on the grounds after his shift at BFG. So glad to see how well he turned out - although, I would not believe with his family & their values he would have turned out any differently. Keep up the good work with "Beyond the Headlines". Bono is doing a fine job too - Although I'm not a resident of Norristown the Boro looks like it is really trying to get their act together. Poley Park is a great start.

Anonymous said...

First, there is no dedicated Poley Park,just a park bench over a ventilator and a sign that marks where William Poley, a councilman who died in 1967 talked with neighbors.

A complete employment ban on all relatives, without regard to distance would be unjust.

Any family extends out to several hundred relatives. Accepting that, the dozen elected and appointed officials quickly means that thousands who are distant cousins shouldn't be hired by the government. Then God forbid some Norristown employee not an official should have a relative get promoted or elected and it becomes nepotism by default.

Nepotism is hard to define, but you can recognize it when you see it. Punish only the abusers.

upset in trooper said...

I also am a resident of the Trooper District and couldn't agree more with the person from District 2-3. Their literature is appalling and full of halftruths and nonsense. It would appear that they run the township and made all good things happen here. Maybe they are tooo busy with cleaning up the township to run for another office. My vote will be for Ms. Eskie and Mr. Stewart, they work the polls and have no other job or conflict with the township. I also plan to confront them on election day should they show up!

Anonymous said...

Regarding the two previous comments from area LPT citizens regarding the games being played by the two committee candidates challanging the incumbents, are political signs necessary for this election? The inane literature was bad enough but in all my years living in this voting district, never have two political new comers pushed so hard for such a minor unpaid position. You two, Bo and Janice, lighten up, you are not the Second Coming and are just making fools of yourselves. Others are laughing at you two! Unlike the others I will sign my name and also see you at the polls.
Suzanne Taylor
Trooper

Anonymous said...

To me, it sounds like Donovan and Kearney are running for committee and doing more than most ever have in the past. I guess that's a bad thing in the Republican party?? Granted, I haven't seen the literature they distributed and forgive me for asking but, haven't the two incumbent committee persons been there since the stone age? Maybe it's time for some younger voices in LP? If you look at a majority of the Republican Committee people in LP, they've been around an awfully long time. Maybe it is time for a change?? I don't agree with Kearney & Donovan on alot of things but I can't fault them for running hard against 2 long-time incumbents. What did this literature say that was so bad? Curious to know. Both obviously have an interest in LP or they wouldn't be on the zoning hearing board. Who needs that aggravation? As for cronyism, that seems to be the only way to get anything in LP. Sad. It would be nice to see a Democrat on any of the boards in LP. Maybe that's the change we need....people with no friends, no business relationships, no favors to cash in.

Mary said...

Ms. Taylor, The push for an unpaid position, not in the least. The push is aimed for the two open seats in 2009 for Supervisor. Do these two really believe that everyone is as stupid as they. AS Forest once said "stupid is stupid does". As another fellow once said " only the shadow knows".
2-3 voter

Anonymous said...

To those who idiots from LP:

Please stick to the topic of the blog. You guys pick a fight amonst each other in every blog. You are making LP the butt of jokes among those twsps in Montgomery County. Please, if you have nothing decent to say about LP, do not say at all. LP is the best community in PA. I am especially tired of reading about the professors comments, degrading everyone and everything about LP. Do the residents of LP a favor Mr. Professor and go back to Gilligans Island and play with your coconuts.

Anonymous said...

Stan:
Would it be at all possible to set up a separate blog for all of us in Lower Providence Township who have issues with our current Board of Supervisors. Several of these officials have grown extremly arrogant and have lost sight of the simple day to day issues that affect the lives of our citizens. Many voters just say to wait until 2009 and boot them out, but unfortunately November 2009 is still a year and a half away. Therefore how about a quick blog where we can vent our displeaures and frustrations for a week or so. It would be a great attitude adjustment for most of us and a wake up call for those affected. Thank you, Stan.
The Professor

Anonymous said...

All those Republican signs along Valley Forge Rd(Rt 363)between Ridge Pike and Soni Dr. look ridiculous. Just why are the challengers so anxious to win? Could it be that Mr. Dininny is getting worried that the the voters will soon discover where all the bodies are buried. Film at 11:00 folks.
Art Flannigan
Trooper, Pa.

Anonymous said...

I dont think we need a separate blog. . . lets keep it all here in the open

Tori said...

Hey Art . . .
No, I think Mr. Dininny should be more concerned with what he's permitting to go on inside the township bldg. rather than signs on Valley Forge Rd.
Tori

Anonymous said...

I am not an LP resident or an LP blogger. I would prefer that discussions were left out in the open, rather than segregated to a different site. I think many of our elected officials need a reminder of why we call them public servants.
On a different note, with so many Republicans changing political party in order to vote against a particular candidate… does that mean that the majority of Montgomery County residents are now Democrats? LOL!

Anonymous said...

You laugh, Anon @ 9:16, but that's exactly what it means, at least for the April 22 primary.

As of last week's count, REP registration was about 8,300 ahead of DEM in Montgomery County. Today's Times Herald says there are still 12-15,000 registration forms left to process. And since DEM registrations are outpacing REP by better than 5:1, we can guess that the remaining numbers will turn out something like 12,000 DEM and 2,400 REP...and the majority party when the dust clears will be the Democrats!

(By the way, that doesn't mean that the majority of residents -- or even the majority of voters -- will be Democrat. It just means that the largest group of registered voters will Democrats. Neither side makes up more than 50% of registered voters, because of Non-Partisan and small-party registrations.)

Collegeville Mole said...

April 2nd anonymous asked what Kernney & Donovan literature said.
You don't cut up the party you claim to represent as committee people. About being old in office,maybe you should look at a little history in this great burg called L.P. It was people with names as Buckwalter,Moister, Lawless, Hughes, Gaugler, Santangello, McFarland, Maloney, Wood, Eskie, Fornal, Buchenauer, Frantz,Hoffner, and others that may slip my mind at this time. These old timers are the foundation of this great institution called Lower Providence. The Zoning Hearing Board is an appointed position by the Board of Supervisors, not an elected position. Hey, the Dems have taken over Montgomery County, Mr. Dininny is great friends with Mr. Rendell, maybe he will appoint a few Dems on township boards to appease him. Just because your a democrat doesn't mean you have no friends.

Mitch said...

I agree with Tori . . . . take a look at whats going on inside the building. Why are some dept. heads not all about township business while on the payroll ? Conflict of interest ? Sounds like we have a Norristown problem on our hands.

L.P. Mythic said...

Hey Mitch and Tori, Who's running with who??

When did the township Vechicles park overnight in Worcester Township???

Tell us more......

Mystified

Anonymous said...

I would love to hear that story...Lower Providence Township owned vehicles parked in Worcester Township overnight! Whose, where, and why?
Celtic Slayer

Anonymous said...

Stan.. Your statement - "nepotism/favoritism no matter how you slice it just doesn't seem right" on 3/27 should have read "slice & dice", a common term now, which started with Barack Obama. I'm waiting for McCain to come up with something that we Republicans can use that will be just as catchie.

Anonymous said...

There is nepotism and there is reverse nepotism.

For example, the Norristown Council, which has ignored any part of the Home Rule Charter that interfered with their intended desires, put a crimp in the temporary hiring of Council person Lawrence's nephew, a college student who has been a part-time Summer employee for the past half dozen years, "because he's a relative" of the recently elected council member.

That is clearly a distortion and and corruption of the words and intent of the Home Rule Charter since his past Summer job as a grounds keeper is not under the direct supervision of council.

On the otherhand, the Hodo children remain full time employees of the municipality.

There seems to be both distortion, bias and mis-imformation into the latest council flap, Take yor pick of either or all.

What's missing is sound reasoning and leadership.

Anonymous said...

Stan.. We drove thru Norristown this past weekend, and to our surprise - Norristown now looks like South Street in Philadelphia, well as it did 10-15 years ago...Dirty. Men/women that are looking for "DAY" Jobs should be put to work right in town. Those charged because of too much to drink and disorderly conduct, should be also put to work during the week with no pay, but with a special color shirt so that all could see. Our holding tank up in Eagleville is too small because of the drunks, etc., so maybe they could help our county seat...Sound good? This summer pitch a tent on the Eagleville grounds and place fencing around it for the weekenders is also one great idea. I'm just angry right now when I see how Norristown looks compared to Phoenixville.

Anonymous said...

And then there is just plain abuse by Council with regards to nepotism.

One Councilperson's relative, also a temporary groundskeeper eventually hired as full time public works employee, and fired for excessive lateness and abuse of sick time, was then hired back directly by council. Hmm?????

They will continue to play their games and all we can do is complain about it on some blog.

Tori said...

Hey mystified . . .

Im just saying if I were to Escape with an Explorer then maybe I could experience more benefits too.

Tori

Anonymous said...

You have other choices.

You can keep track of the shameless behavior of some council members. Then you can work like the blazes to defeat the officials who are in office for their own selfish purposes, power trips and bucks for buckeroos, including keeping the costly solicitor who goes mano u mano with them.

Anonymous said...

Residents of LP are in the same situation as Norristown. Nepostism and Cronyism are rampant. Mitch and Tori are onto something....Stan, open your eyes and look around LP.

Anonymous said...

Tori:
Is that a Township owned/leased Explorer by chance?
Celtic Slayer

Anonymous said...

Re: Anonymous 4/15/08:
If your comment pertains to Lower Providence Township, I could not concur with you more. That solicitor will go out the door with the other two worthless beings next year. Remember a new broom always sweeps clean.
The Professor

Anonymous said...

To Celtic Slayer and Mitch and Tori whomever you area, stop with the personal attacks and know the facts before you put it into "blog sphere" Show SOME class. The slander is ridiculous and unnecessary. Get your facts straight first. LP has never been better for the residents and employees with this board (minus the 2 and the admin staff. Again, show class.

Mitch said...

Cars in Worcester ?
What about LP personnel working outside the township during payroll business hours.

Anonymous said...

To celtic slayer . . .

"why" the vehicles are parked in Worcester overnight is a great question !!

Anonymous said...

When the polls show that our nation is on the wrong path, I believe the public is saying that their fears are more than huge corporations controlling government, instituting unjust wars,using twisted meanings of commonly understood words and irresponsibility on a grand scale. It is also the same kind of self interested local and state level candidates who lack pure motives and the dedication to serve in office and their community.

Getting elected to obtain employment for friends and family is a truly selfish motivation.

Serving a party is not the same as serving the office.

It is hard to interest quality candidates to seek an election who are willing to serve with previously elected officials whom they find incompatible.

Serious candidates know that if elected they will be lumped in with less than sincere, thoughless elected officials who act as if elections are a game and just winning is a prize rather than a continuing duty and obligation.

Anonymous said...

County Officials should help the Boro with the tankers from Norristown Area who spend many weekends up in Eagleville.
I like the idea of setting up a tent on the Eagleville Prison Property for the weekenders -- Clean,fresh air and to have your head clear for the Monday's work schedule, is a great idea. Yes, guests pay for the overnite accommodations (bring your own sleeping Bag), food & clothing worn while cleaning up Norristown our County Seat.. Water will be the only liquids provided for drinking & bathing,(bring you own soap/towel etc.).. Outside facilities will be on hand of course - rent a toilet... Sunday cleanup the area before you leave...cozy, don't you think. Guards - none, if you leave before your checkout time, you pay a hefty fine to the County.

Anonymous said...

Stan,
Still waiting to see my prior post in response to Anonymous on 4/17.
They openly called out the Admin Staff of LP. Talk about slander!

Anon...Please clarify, are you referring to all levels of Administration in LP or support staff only?

Anonymous said...

Just wondering... We need a catch-up page to answer questions that appear in various blogs. What in deed happened to Andy Gullota? How about Barry Miller? Are they still in the County System? How about John Armstrong - a good man let go - why? There aare quite a few more, but they are in local Townships and I really do not care to get into that.