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Friday, June 18, 2010

In Honor of Bob Mellow's Interesting Day

From the archives...

Senator Mellow's "Interesting" Timing

For a while The Scranton Times has been hammering State Senator Robert Mellow over the whopping $188,000 his campaigns have written out to simply "cash" over the years. While I'm not a lawyer, it seems to me that cash payments like this are intended for minor expenses, not those totally nearly two hundred thousand dollars. Senator Mellow's initial response to this controversy was to hand over copies of the checks...the FRONT SIDE of the checks. You know, this would be the side that simply says that the check was made out to cash, not who endorsed the check. Anyway, I believe it was yesterday (or it could have been this morning) that the Senator's advisers handed over the back-sides of the checks. Good for Senator Mellow and great work on the part of Times.

What happened next?

Well Senator Mellow quickly announces that he is retiring. Article link HERE.

Now is it me or is it just a coincidence that the resignation comes on the heels of surrendering the endorsed copies of the above mentioned cash payments? When it comes to politics...particularly in this area...I don't readily believe in coincidences.

So what to make of all this? At this stage I am unsure. As I've written before, it's my opinion that Senator Mellow should have resigned years ago:

  • The issue with the nearly two hundred thousand dollars in cash campaign payments.
  • He has engaged in blatant conflicts of interest by accepting Board positions with institutions (such as BC/BS of NEPA) that he can indirectly have a hand in regulating via proposing/voting on legislation, acting on appointments, etc. If I engaged in similar behavior at work I would be told to resign from the Board(s) or face termination of employment.
  • It has been reported that he crafted a deal whereby the state was paying him to rent property for his own office at a higher-than-market rates.
  • His blatant disregard for constituents who were rightfully enraged to over the last legislative late-night pay raise.
  • His penchant for using OUR MONEY to have things named after him. I wrote something about two years ago about how anything named "Mellow _______" should instead be renamed "Taxpayer __________" as I highly doubt that the Senator has been spreading nearly has much personal cash around as he has been spreading out ours.

Needless to say, I am glad to see the Senator retire. Here's to hoping that his replacement will have an ever so slightly smaller ego and a stronger desire for constituent...rather than personal... enrichment. This, coupled with the indictments in Luzerne County (and at least one possible indictment in Lackawanna County) could mark the end of the "political favors as a cottage industry" that has been the hallmark of NEPA for decades.


Anonymous said...

Stephen - I enjoy your blog very much and from reading all this time, you seem as a man with a level-head, fair, and open to all people. Ever think about running for office yourself? I'd vote for you!

Stephen Albert said...

Anonymous...thank you...that is a very kind thing to say.

As for elected office, I have a family member with a lot of health issues, a career that takes about 50+ hours per week of my time, two daughters in college and one who is a senior in high school. And three cats. All told, my plate is a bit full at the moment, but as my kids grow up I've thought that running for School Board might be something I'd consider as a future endeavor.

Regardless, I'll continue to try and remain level-headed and open about things. Both traits, by the way (and to the extent I actually have them) come from my mother.

Thanks again for the compliment and take care.

- Steve