Thursday, August 14, 2008

Learning to Bark

The Morning Call’s Watchdog barked with a story concerning the inaccuracy valley-area gas pumps. Inaccurate pumps cost consumers money.


The story actually began in 2002 with Lehigh County’s abolition of its Bureau of Weights and Measures, a department formerly charged with ensuring the accuracy of grocery store scales and gas station pumps.

The Department’s link to nowhere still exists on Lehigh County’s Website.

The formerly enabled Weights and Measures Department was largely one man, Lehigh County Inspector and Chief Sealer, Donald J. Mahoney, who tested every gas pump and grocery store scale in Lehigh County every year for nearly 20 years.

Faced with budget woes and the Ervin 70% tax increase, the Commissioners and the Executive let Mahoney go.

Then "Jr. Executive" Richard Klotz proffered that Pennsylvania state workers would assume the annual accuracy inspections. Oh contraire!

A State spokesman countered the State could not check all the devices in Lehigh County, then said to be 1,400 scales and 2,600 pumps.

The rest is history.

If you pissed about pissing away 34 cents of every 20 dollars in gas, say something to your Commissioners. Maybe they’ll take back the $250,000 they promised to the Allentown Art Museum.

And by the way, did Percey Dougherty recuse himself? Perhaps he should. He is on the Art Museum's Board of Trustees. Alas, so is Don Cunningham.

Monkey see, Monkey do.

I’ve often pondered similar inconsistencies. How can the Commissioners argue the need to shrink County Government and eliminate positions, such as Row Officers and County Inspectors, yet at the same time create a brand new County Board of Health? Explain that to me please!

Or how can the Commissioners withhold money for local policing and cite traditional County roles in limited government, yet award $250,000 to the art museum?

Dean Browning alone recognized the later. No one recognized the former.


Bill Villa said...

To be fair, Watchdog Reporter Paul Muschick's recent exposé on Steak & Ale (out of business) Gift Cards being honored at some other restaurants was exactly the kind of in-depth and hard-nosed investigative reporting I've been yearning for.

Zam Sell said...

... just part of The Morning Call's new integrity-laden survival strategies. Muschick's "watchdog" department is actually called: "Investigative Reporting/Value-Added Advertiser Perks.

Anonymous said...

Bill. Took me awhile. Now I get it. Sarcasim intended, or otherwise Bill and the Mcall would be tight! Yeah, Steak & Ale, investigative journalism of some advertising and promotion scheme honoring a competitor's card. Yup, hard-noses. Wake me when its over! Yawn! nlv

Bill Villa said...

I'm waiting for Paul to do in investigative piece on how a store really IS slashing prices by 50% (but hurry, Saturday only!)