Jul 17, 2015

The Cost Of Pawlowski

The caller, owner of a longtime Allentown business, asked me why he must pay to defend Allentown against Pawlowski? He was referring to the announcement by Susan Wild, city solictitor, that she has retained attorney Robert Goldman, a former federal prosecutor, to advise her on the grand jury process and collection of documents.
"I want to see the city come out of this unscathed." Wild said. "I think we have a very clean [contracting] process, and if any one individual deviated from what our process was supposed to be, we want to know this, too. We want to move forward and for people to respect the way the city of Allentown does business,"
The FBI didn't raid city hall because of the process, but because of the way that it was implemented. At the end of the day, the fair implementation of  public policy depends on ethics, which were apparently lacking in Allentown. I'm afraid this is another Billy Joel song, for the City Without Limits.


Dreaming of Justice said...

She wants to see Allentown come through unscathed?

What manner of delusion is this?

The town isn't scathed- it is scarred, for life. It has been under thrall of apathy, it suffers from the effects of changing times and losing it's soul to the money-changers of the Billionaire Boys' Club. It's far too late. Nobody cared to look too close, and those who persisted with their questions were shunned and libeled and bullied. She is kidding herself, and those fine words used to be enough for most of the Voting Block.

Alfonso Todd said just after this scandal spewed itself all over the arena's freshly poured sidewalks, that "we" need to come together to save Allentown. That won't happen until people get angry, and stay angry, and allow their anger to form a bond that transcends politics and maybe that bond will provide an impetus for lasting positive change. There are many good people still around.

Anonymous said...

If you're under FBI investigation, you're already "scathed". Let's not be naive.

If the contracting process was clean and legit, it would have had the necessary checks and balances to prevent things from happening that interest the FBI.

The reason nobody is really angry is because City Council on a good day is incompetent and at its worse complicit because it's so timid. For people in the City, the NIZ and all the goodies do nothing for them. Their streets aren't smoother or cleaner, the neighborhood isn't any safer, taxes aren't any lower and on and on.

Anonymous said...

Seems odd the City Council could write a blank check to a top-shelf criminal defense lawyer to represent Themselves.I am out the loop but I always thought a public official paid for their own defense.Is this lawyer the same fellow Who represented John Karoly with His Federal matters.

Rich Fegley said...

Ray O'Connell
Julio Guridy
Cynthia Mota
Joe Davis
Jeff Glazier
Daryl L. Hendricks

These Allentown City Council members should resign now. These members of City Council are straight-up rubber-stampers for Ed Pawlowski. These members of City Council voted to raise parking meter rates and extend the hours until 10pm in Allentown with no survey or study to show the public. I could also list the people who LIED to City Council and to the public.

I don't even need to mention the DTE incinerator deal and the Water & Sewer deal. Rubber stampers rule Allentown City Council.

Even if Allentown is unscathed after all of this, that does not take away the fact that these six members of Allentown City Council were just rubber-stampers for Ed Pawlowski.

Members of Allentown City Council, resign now.

Anonymous said...

I spoke about this 2 weeks ago... I waited for 10 years for this moment... When I moved here from Miami, FL I KNEW Allentown would come back into the spotlight sooner or later (because these things happen in ebbs an flows. Everything gets an opportunity, it just depends on how it is used) And what happens? An idea, if used correctly, organically, and inclusively could have chartered a course for Allentown to become a better if not prosperous / shining city. A TRUE Renaissance could have taken place! Instead we allowed greed, apathy, and indifference to tear this city apart even further. Our leaders, who acted as if they knew what was best for us residents are now on the chopping block, worried and sweating profusely, as the FBI prepares to hand out indictments like candy. Yes, they and any affiliated persons may well be on their way out, but what about us who STILL dwell in A-town. We didn't get any benefits in the beginning and now it looks like we are getting even less in the end. A city can come back from many things, but corruption effects the very core of its being. All of this talk about luring new businesses in, obtaining sustainability, and even becoming a destination location has been blown to bits and it will be another 5 - 10 years before anyone takes our city seriously again...

We were accused of being Naysayers and wanting the City to fail. It looks like those in charge didn't need our help in attempting to accomplishing this at all...

- Alfonso Todd

Anonymous said...

MM wrote: "...to advise her on the grand jury process and collection of documents."

I guess I'm as confused as your caller.

Why does the Solicitor, who represents the city as an entity and not the people who work there, need advice about the grand jury process?

And what advice does she need on the "collection of documents". I thought the City was "cooperating fully" with the investigation. If that's the case, the City should be turning everything over that they ask for. No need for an expensive attorney to tell her that.

Is she really saying that the Mayor is somehow impeding her cooperation? If so, she should publicly state that. She should probably also be pointing out that by remaining in office, Pawlowski is likely preventing City Hall employees from fully cooperating with the Feds because he still has control over their jobs.

But none of that will happen, because SHE was personally chosen by the Mayor for this position. She also was a Fleck client when she ran for office a couple of years ago. She's part of Team Pawlowski.

Anonymous said...

Stealth stonewalling in action.
Big $$$ cover your ass.

Anonymous said...

Alfonso is correct. The amount of damage done ALREADY, even without conclusive evidence of guilt/innocence is substantial. Another new building (or doughnut shop downtown) will not erase this taint, a negative image that will last for years.

Still haven't overcome the appearance of downtown danger, and now this. Frankly, the unfortunate new perception is one that reads "These people don't even DESERVE my business."

Yes, several names and faces have to be switched out. No doubt this will include decent people who had very small roles. However, present damage is enough to justify resignations. The sooner, the better. THAT'S something that can help Allentown immediately. A difficult decision to face, of course.

Begin the rebuild NOW!

Fred Windish

Anonymous said...

Cunningham knew about all this and looked the other direction, never said peep.

Robert Trotner said...

We shouldn't delude ourselves that the City is in not in an adversarial role with the FBI. Solicitor Wild is as ethical as they come, but she has an obligation to defend the mayor and others "in their professional capacities." As for people rising up, I'd love to work for that. Some say that when the indictment is issued they will rise up. I don't think that's the problem. I think noncompetitive races are much more common than not all across the country, not just Allentown, and people get used to saying, "Why should I vote, or even care? We all know who's going to win. So do the big money people. They give money, and they get what they want from the politician. We get the leftovers. That has been a huge change from what existed in democracy's heyday in the fifties and sixties. In that sense, democracy has been gradually dying for over fifty years. The only competitive elections now are on the national level, but they too have been captured by the rich. Until people believe their vote and voice means something on the local level democracy will indeed be dead.

Anonymous said...

MM, another edited out news worthy advertismental illusionists weekend upon us again¿

Not all is rotton in denmark and infact hate this taking advantage of the disadvantaged allentowns childrens children that have not even been concieved as well as the present populus¿ This is the Hole justice system locally and there diversionary tactiks of the comming of the downtown circus to the palumpadome¿

patent pending

Anonymous said...

12:07 said:

"Solicitor Wild is as ethical as they come, but she has an obligation to defend the mayor and others "in their professional capacities."

I don't think that the FBI is investigating anything about the legitimate functions of city government. In fact, they are investigating criminal wrongdoing by "the Mayor and others". That is not something that the Solicitor has an obligation to defend, and early on she stated that the Mayor and others had to find their own counsel.

Now that a few weeks have passed, it would seem that she is looking for ways to give the Feds less than "full cooperation" and instead is looking for ways to provide the legal minimum.

This is one of the problems with Pawlowski remaining in office, that he will direct those in City Government to decisions that serve his personal defense, and not the residents of the City or the good of city government as a whole.

At the heart of the matter is that Wild is a Pawlowski supporter (or she wouldn't have gotten the job) and a Fleck client, and Fleck and Pawlowski are at the middle of the entire investigation.

Those facts are difficult enough to overcome, along with her apparent advice to anyone in City Hall to parrot the "fully cooperating with the investigation" line but not say anything else.

Anonymous said...

@2:19 nails it.
Thank you for the cogent summation.

Steven Ramos said...

The reforms I would like to see:
1. A true 7 ward system where we elect members of council - 1 per ward.
2. A true 9 ward system to elect school board members - 1 per ward.
3. Boards that have authority or spend taxpayer money should be elected by ward using the same 7 ward system - zoning, planning, harb, etc. Seats with vacancies can be appointed by the mayor with approval by council, if a vacancy goes more than 30 days council must appoint someone. The mayor should only be allowed to appoint advisory boards to advise the mayor. Advisory boards will not have any authority over Allentown residents.
4. Two term limit for mayor, council, and controller.

Anonymous said...

Advisory Boards only advise by definition sir, that's why they're "Advisory".
Not even one at large Council member?
You wlll have to do some more homework if you want my vote, sir. Simply changing parties isn't enough.

Anonymous said...

Steven -

A few comments:

I'm not sure that the 7 ward system would have prevented any of this mess. It may be a good reform, but I'd have to be sold a little more on it. Probably not the first thing I'd look to change. Same for the 9 ward proposal for the school board.

As far as the other boards, not all have 7 members. For instance, I think Zoning only has 3. What would happen in those cases?

Two term limit on mayor and controller appropriate. Council usually seems to turnover on its own, but I'd have to look at who's been there over the last decade to be sure. I know Julio seems to have been there forever.

I'd also suggest something that prevents the Mayor, controller, and council members from running for other elected offices (state/national/county/school board, etc.) without first resigning. We're paying them to focus on Allentown. If they want to focus elsewhere, that's fine, but it shouldn't come while being paid by the taxpayers. Also, it allows them to fundraise off their normal cycle, so even if they lose, they win by having a ton of cash to use in their mayor/council elections. From Pawlowski/Fleck's perspective, this may have also been necessary to keep the money train going without attracting too much attention.

Steven Ramos said...

A charter change or ballot initiative can be difficult, as we learned with the water initiative, making any change slow. These are reforms I would like to see, it's by no means a final constitution.

Wards ensure that all areas of Allentown are represented. The boards should also represent all of Allentown. I think, had we had a 7 ward system, the trash facility would not have gotten the votes, since about 4 members would be close to the affected area.

I have thought about the at-large seats - would 4 by ward and 3 at-large improve representation and accountability, or, perhaps, increasing the size of council to 13.

My hope is that we begin to consider what changes can be made to improve governance of our city.

Anonymous said...

3:21 -

I think advisory boards need to be turned over, or they risk becoming a rubber stamp for the person appointing. Fresh perspectives are needed, in order to properly advise. I'm sure there will be plenty of people representing the status quo of the bureaucracy. Coupled with term limits for the Mayor and Council, it's a good proposal.

A mix between at-large and Ward council people (as you suggest) could be a good thing.

I don't think Mr. Ramos intended any of his suggestions to be final proposals. I took them as a starting point for a broader discussion. That's far more than the current controller has ever proposed, and they type of thinking that the office sorely needs.

In addition, the current controller had her campaign funded by the Mayor, and we now have the FBI raiding City Hall, supposedly over the City's contracting process. That's what the controller is supposed to oversee, and she has either missed it (not good), turned a blind eye to it (even worse), or been involved in it (yikes!).

For that reason alone, Mr. Ramos has my vote. It has nothing to do with political parties, and everything to do with accountability.

Anonymous said...
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michael molovinsky said...

i had allowed, for a short shelf life, several comments from a known antagonist. when the only support you're getting comes from the likes of him, the pawlowski regime has one foot out of the door.

i have spoken to a number of city workers. several posts ago i wrote about the shade of reluctance pawlowski's vindictiveness cast over city hall. currently, there is outright silence. nobody wants to be one of last victims of this administration.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

The City Solicitor, Ms. Wild is not beholden to the Mayor or City Council. She is to provide representation and counsel that is in the best interest of the City.

ironpigpen said...

"Fegley should enter politics. Ramos should find another hobby"

Is that so?

Are we talking about the same restaurateur Fegley who wrote here at this very blog the memorable passage, "The problem is with the 'modern day slavery' we have created. The wealthy keep us all poor and make us work long hours for minimal wages"? ("They Shoot Landlords, Don't They?", Molovinsky On Allentown, February 9th, 2014)

I highly doubt Rich Fegley works for minimal wages and remain offended by that most disingenuous statement.

I support term limits. I support accountability. I support taking a hard look at how this "City Without Limits" has been/is governed.

I don't support phony Populist non-sense.


Rolf Oeler

Bill said...

I would like a stronger Council in our city charter and some options to vote for. we have been served well by people like Tom Burke, Mike Donovan and Jeanette Eichenwald. We need to have options to vote for and a sense that our choices matter. Voter apathy has been fueled by a system in which the Mayor did not even bother to inform council of city matters, and the majority of council not even reacting to it, which is what i was observing when I stopped attending meetings.

Anonymous said...

Ed Pawlowski is Mayor of Allentown. Have a nice weekend.

Anonymous said...

...and Bill White still thinks Emma Tropicana was a problem? I am waiting for a special "hall of shame" update.

Anonymous said...
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michael molovinsky said...

the call for council to resign is rich fegley's notion. i would suggest that he doesn't hold his breath while waiting.

the purchasing and contract process was reviewed and updated not that long ago by city council. the current problems stem from the implementation, not the procedure; it's a problem of ethics. the issue is not with the procedures or charter, council always has the power to negotiate policy through the fund allotments. we have a compliant council as a result of being a one party town. change will have to come from the voters. changes to policy and charter are only a distraction from the real problem.

for new readers, this is a moderated blog. i do not have to agree with a comment for it to appear. anonymous antagonistic comments will either not be printed, or given a short showing. i'm very lenient with comments signed with your real name. it may take many hours for comments to be approved, especially those submitted during the evening. your readership is appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Molovinsky,
Regarding the city's sale of its water rights, folks need to visit Lehigh Parkway, near the 15th Street entrance and from a car one can see the continuing damage to the open space created by the new water owners. This company's installation of added equipment into the once clear open space has yet to be recognized as a warning.

Anonymous said...
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michael molovinsky said...

@9:33, what a life you lead, spending your whole day, from morning till evening, harassing people with unwanted comments and mean spirited lies.

Rich Fegley said...

Citizens for a Better Allentown is no longer working for me.


This news article names the names. http://www.mcall.com/news/local/allentown/mc-allentown-fbi-contract-process-20150717-story.html#page=1

Anonymous said...

I think we've now entered the "What? Not me." stage of this story.

(I am NOT referring to Mr. Fegley here)

At this late date, the Morning Call is cautioning us about what they knew all along. The set-up was risky. They just forgot to tell us in time. City Council members backing away late, too.

Here's a quote from the article I find pretty rich, "A sole vendor may still get a contract if it's determined there aren't other qualified vendors in the market area." This, will be part of someone's defense in court, I'm sure.

Fred Windish

Anonymous said...

The sad part is there aren't any laws against pay to play in PA. The feds will have to prove extortion was used to get campaign donations. Chris Glennon