Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Barron Failed to Disclose Teaching Job

Northampton County Controller Steve Barron, who is paid $65,000 a year, is teaching at Northampton Community College in seeming violation of recent changes to the County's Home Rule Charter. Because the college is a recipient of money from the County, it might also be a conflict of interest.

Considered the County's constitution, the Home Rule Charter clearly states that the Controller "shall devote full time to the office, and shall not actively engage in any other business or occupation." But three days a week, in the middle of the workday, Barron teaches two classes. This consumes about 12 hours out of the 40 hour work week.

On weekends, Barron also works as a referee at youth football games. This technically is a violation, too. H he is actively engaged in another business or occupation. But nobody seems particularly troubled by what the Controller does outside of regular business hours. One Council member has even suggested Barron should just teach at night.

But there are 393,779 other reasons why Barron should not be teaching at the Community College. As Controller, it is his responsibility to audit not just County departments, but organizations that receive money from the County. According to Barron's own webpage, it is his responsibility to "ensure compliance with laws and regulations, and strengthen internal controls safeguarding County assets."

That includes Northampton Community College. Since 2010, the College has received $393,779 from the County. This year alone, the College has received $62,508.95 so far. Most of this seems to be related to Emergency management training. There are also outright grants for $50,000 in 2011 and $25,000 in 2012.

These funds are audited by a person who himself is being paid by the College, Barron gets $2,895 per course taught. This year, he stands to make $11,580 from the College.

The County's Home Rule Charter speaks to this issue, too. It provides that if an elected official like Barron has any interest in any entity doing business with the County, he "shall disclose such interest by sending a letter setting forth such facts to the Clerk of Council who shall distribute copies of the letter to the members of the County Council."

According to the Charter, it is then up to County Council to determine whether a conflict exists. If so, it has the power to void any contract.

But Barron never made the disclosure that seems to be required by the Home Rule Charter. So there may actually be two violations. First, the County's full time Controller is actively engaged in another profession, and during regular business hours. Second, Barron has failed to disclose his interest in the College to Council, even though he has an obligation to audit the funds received from the County.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Christ O'Hare give it a rest. He was elected by the voters. He is an independently elected official that cannot be removed by Stoffa, county council or you.

A shame you made so many excuses for your buddy and Stoffa hack, Ross Marcus breaking County law or you might have some credibility on this one.

Celtic Warrior said...

Benie O'Hara these attacks on Steve Barron are in poor taste, to mock a man's Irish heritage and disparage the kilt he wears is grounds for expulsion from the brotherhood.

Anonymous said...

Stoffa was pontificating on the Morning Call article. He talked about how he "had to" tip off the District Attorney about Barron.

Hey Stoffa, how about your own Admisntration? Did you ever pay back the money you allowed spent on private individuals suing other taxpayers? Or how about you encouraging CACLV to break the law and endanger the poor by giving your unemployable rubber stamp Marcus a job?

You are more of a hypocrite than O'Hare or Barron could ever be.

County Council should look into this but they must take the same level of action on this as they took on the law breaking by Stoffa and the CACLV. Otherwise, county council looks like a bunch of fools!

Anonymous said...

@12:48 Stoffa-gift will not be forgotten by we the people, whoever Stoffa endorses in the future will be met with skepticism from the COAF community.

Anonymous said...

What are Mr. Barron's qualifications and certifications to teach Political Science classes on the college level?

Bernie O'Hare said...

He has a bachelor's degree and a law degree. What kills me is he teaches a course called, "Skills for Academic Success," but has not been able to pass the bar exam. I believe the LV has many people far more qualified than Barron, and he is there bc he knows someone, not because he knows anything.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thge first four comments here, which seem to have come from the same person, are an attempt to shout me down. You're too late. This story is now in both dailies. This note about the conflict of interest provision of the HRC is in addition to the full time provision of the HRC. It appears to me that there could be two separate violations.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday you said you didn't think the college had any responsibility to hire "highly" ethical teachers. As expensive as "even" community college is for so many parents, often working two jobs to send children to school, wonder if they know about Barron's background.

Anonymous said...

So local daily picked up story but does it credit you?

Anonymous said...

Did Marcus break the law or not? County needs ethics review.Perhaps tax-exempt charter should be examined.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Both dailies picked up this story. Neither credit this source, but that's OK. To me, the important thing is getting the story out there. Who the messenger might be is not really as relevant as the message.

Besides, how do you credit a bottom feeding blogger?

Bernie O'Hare said...

7:33, I don't know what you're smoking but I never said the college has no obligation to hire ethical teachers. What I did say is that I hold Barron responsible for this transgression, not the college.

Bernie O'Hare said...

7:37, I addressed your attempted and anonymous bait-and-switch yesterday.

Kevin Cerino said...

Isn't every elected official required to file a financial disclosure form each year? If so, has anyone taken a look at the most recent one? Does it list his income from teaching job? If not, that would be breaking the law. Better call a certified fraud instigator.

Bernie O'Hare said...

He is required, annually, to file what is often called an ethics statement, listing indirect sources of income. But I don't know whether his income from teaching is something he would have to report in this form or the next one. I will find out.

Anonymous said...

OK, I thought this might be the case. If you zoom in on Google maps on Church Road, you can clearly see this property. And you can clearly see the extremely large "green desert" in the gentleman's BACK yard. Most considerate people would plant in the back yard given the ample space and the close proximity of the neighbors.

I'm all for self sustainment and eating vegetables but I'm also for common sense consideration of the people around you. And to tell you the truth, I don't blame the woman for being a bit apprehensive about dealing with someone who is attempting to pull some sort of property rights stunt.

Anonymous said...

Why would you delete my comment about gardens belonging in the back yard?

Anonymous said...

Oh because I'm in the wrong comment area? What the hell happened? :)

Bernie O'Hare said...

The comments at 8:38 and 8:39 deal with yesterday's story about the Lehigh Tp resident cited for his garden. He apparently expected to see his comment on this thread.

Anonymous said...

Did Barron ever disclose his income from the youth football programs, too?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I don't have his latest statement of fonancial interests, but will get it.

Kevin Cerino said...

Now, about that Morganelli guy. Does anyone remember how the DA's office spent so much time and energy making sure that Ron Angle couldn't serve as an unpaid School Director while he was a County Councilman?

It's no secret that Morganelli is buddy buddy with Lamont McClure. And McClure is a big supporter of Barron. So of course Morganelli has no interest in Barron's shenanigans.

Anonymous said...

WHAT DOES STOFFA HAVE TO DO WITH THIS ? SOME OF THESE PEOPLE REALLY HAVE THERE NOSES UP BARRON'S BUTT !!! GET THE BIG PICTURE PEOPLE, BARRON IS BREAKING THE LAW THAT "HE" WANTED. HE IS SUPPOSE TO BE FULL-TIME AT THE COUNTY OF NORTHAMPTON. WHAT IS THE PROBLEM????

Anonymous said...

Morganelli is a partisan hack. He won't do anything about his friend Barron.

Bernie O'Hare said...

From what I understand, he would likely authorize a quo warranto action.

Anonymous said...

Some morons apparently can't find the caps lock button on their keyboard. you don't scare us with those big letters.

Kevin Cerino said...

District Attorney John Morganelli said he didn't plan to involve his office in the process because it was not clearly a criminal matter. He also noted that there are legal questions about whether a part-time job would violate the charter. Instead, he said the voters could begin a recall process. He would be willing to authorize county council to begin their own forfeiture process if they requested it as well, he said.

"It's not a matter I would be involved in at this time," Morganelli said.

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/northampton-county/index.ssf/2013/10/controller_steve_barron_potent.html

Bernie O'Hare said...

And a recall would be illegal, Kevin.

Kevin Cerino said...

If a recall would be illegal, why would Mr. Morganelli be pushing the idea? Is he just trying to duck the issue?

I'm a little confused as to why a recall would be illegal. What about article XI, Section 1107 of the Home Rule Charter?

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing this is why he didn' t make a stink about the Marcus Conflict.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Kevin, I don't know why John suggested it, but i do not it is completely unconstitutional. There is a Supreme Court case on point.

Anonymous said...

Barron has big brass balls, you think he cares about the petty musings of a bitter vindictive blogger who shills for the Norco bulldog ? Stevie had ACFSME, COAF, lVS, WEFP, SPG, RMM and the BBW's in his corner he will get reelected or promoted

Anonymous said...

John is always running for something and will not pursue or prosecute an elected Democrat. If Barron was an R, Morganelli would be holding press conferences and appearing on Nancy Grace for maximum impact.