HARRISBURG – Nearly 5,000 Pennsylvania state employees earned at least $100,000 last year, and more than one-third worked for one of the 14 state-owned universities or the system that oversees them, a newspaper reported Monday.
The number of employees with six-figure earnings has more than quadrupled since 2002, when 1,176 people fell into that category, The Patriot-News said in stories posted on its website.
“What you see is pretty much how recession-proof that (state government) sector may be,” said Lonnie Golden, a professor of economics and labor studies at Penn State University‘s Abington campus.
In the newspaper’s analysis of data from the state-government transparency website PennWATCH and the state courts, payouts for severance and unused leave time as well as job-related, non-salary income were counted as part of employees’ earnings.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has signed legislation that will allow a state takeover of Harrisburg’s financial affairs. The capital of Pennsylvania is drowning in debt from a failed retrofit of the city’s incinerator. Harrisburg is over $300 million in debt.
Harrisburg was accepted into the Act 47 Program for financially distressed municipalities but City Council failed to authorize the recommendations made by the Act 47 team. Neither was the city able to come up their own plan to emerge from certain bankruptcy.
Disgusted with the inability of city leadership to move forward, Pennsylvania State Senator Jeff Piccola introduced legistion to allow the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to take control of Harrisburg’s finances. This legislation was signed by the governor this morning.
I just read an article, on a local online media outlet, about the Pottstown School Board having an Executive Session that appears to have violated the Sunshine Law. The board discussed cutting art and music behind closed doors after being told by taxpayers this was not their will.
As a student of history I feel it is incumbent upon us to study the past to learn from our mistakes. Making the same poor decision repeatedly and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.
I feel there are other areas that could yield cost savings that we are not considering. Certain groups are considered “untouchable”. Art and music are always the first thing a school board looks at cutting to save money.
If we look at the number of students involved with the music program in the PSD, we see a large group. Not only do many students take part in the music program but our high school band and some other ensembles are award-winners and recognized for excellence. They are a source of pride for our community.
Clearly, this decision is not supported by taxpayers based on the turn out at public meetings where this subject has been discussed. Sneaking around behind closed doors is childish behavior and violates the LAW in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. But yet organizations in this town continue to engage in this counterproductive behavior. How are we supposed to trust any of you???
Shame, shame, shame! Two Roy’s Rants thumbs DOWN for this poor decision and the even poorer way it was handled.