The LuLac Edition #248, June 18th, 2007
PHOTO INDEX: A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME IS ONCE AGAIN A LUZERNE COUNTY COMMISSIONER ROSE TUCKER, APPOINTED BY THE JUDGES TODAY, THE PIG, THE UNIVERSAL SYMBOL OF THE PA. STATE LEGISLATURE AND DUATHOLON CONTESTANT AND WBRE TV REPORTER JILL KNOPKA.
IT'S TUCKER TIME!!!
Rose Tucker has been selected to fill the Luzerne County Commissioner seat vacated by Todd Vonderheid’s resignation.
The Times Leader is reporting that former Luzerne County Commissioner Rose Tucker has been appointed to fill the seat left vacant by Todd Vonderheid.
Tucker, 77, of Exeter, was county commissioner from 1992-96. The part owner of Tucker’s Travel has said her experience and interest in the county makes her the best candidate.
County judges selected Tucker in a secret ballot. She will serve through the end of the year.
The pick was a smart and non controversial one. Tucker served with distinction in her role as County Commissioner with a special focus on Social Services in the county. I can see how Greg Skrepenak would be comfortable with her on the board. While former State Represeentative Tom Tigue was a “sexy” pick, that might have hurt him too. Tigue is extremely informed but also loquacious. His twenty four years experience in Harrisburg, his willingness to be frank on public issues (this is the man who said “there was a pay raise and I took it, next case” or something to that effect) and his understanding of state funding formulas was most likely too much for an interim appointment. Right now the Dems have this race in the bag and Tucker, while outstanding in her own right, cannot fill Tigue’s shoes. But she is the safe pick where all Skrep and Petrilla have to do is gain a few yards and run out the clock.
There are some retired State Reps like Tom Tigue who offer themselves up for public service after their terms ends for the good of the community and then there are others who continue to feed at the public feed bag.
Four legislators who lost reelection bids after the pay-raise debacle have found jobs in state government, while at least three others have become lobbyists, a newspaper reported.
One former legislator, Republican Peter Zug of Lebanon County, started a $55,000-a-year job last week as a licensing analyst with the state Gaming Control Board, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sunday.
And former Scranton-area Rep. Fred Belardi now makes $116,000 annually - about 36 percent more than he did as a lawmaker - managing parking spaces and other personnel matters for his former House colleagues, the paper said.
Turning to Harrisburg as a job-placement service is a time-honored tradition for lawmakers suddenly out of work. But critics deride the practice as a sanctioned revolving-door policy.
"It demonstrates how out of whack public service has become in Pennsylvania," said Matthew Brouillette, president of the Commonwealth Foundation, a conservative Harrisburg think tank. "It isn't a place to serve the public. It has become an opportunity for legislators to serve themselves."
Montgomery County Republican Sue Cornell was one of several legislators who lost her seat in 2006 after lawmakers voted themselves a pay raise, later repealed.
Cornell is now the in-house lobbyist for the Philadelphia Parking Authority, a quasi-state agency. Though ethics rules prevent her from lobbying the House until December, Cornell said working as manager of government relations "makes sense from a practical point of view."
"If you spend years in the legislature, that's what you know," she said. "You have the contacts, and you understand how legislation moves."
Ex-Rep. Frank LaGrotta, D-Lawrence, was put on the House payroll as a legislative consultant making $73,613 annually - the same as when he was in office. Former Rep. Kenneth Ruffing, D-Allegheny, filled a similar advisory role for three months after his term ended. Both lost in last year's spring primary.
All three legislative leaders who were defeated last year quickly made the transition to lobbyists. Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer, Senate Majority Leader David "Chip" Brightbill and House Democratic Whip Michael Veon now represent groups from trial attorneys to organized labor.
GO JILL GO!
Since there is virtually little quality local TV News over the weekend in the morning except for the WBRE TV cast at 9AM, needless to say that’s where I go to see if the river is rising, the White House Café on Hazle Street has a new body count or whether the Indians, Yanksa or Phils prevailed the night before. Sunday’s newscast was missing Jill Knopka. Turns out she participated in the Duatholon on Sunday. Congrats to her and the others for finishing the race. This is a fine kick ass event and my only criticism is that there has got to be more press and publicity on this event. This is as much of a community builder as anything else. Tell us about it BEFORE it happens so bloggers like me and Gort can sit in our lawn chairs with our TABS and Coors Lite in a stragetic location and cheer these “young uns” on.