Monday, January 25, 2010

Pennsylvania Turnpike Corruption Allegations

Can you imagine that a former finance manager of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission would accuse its chiefs or corruption and waste in a lawsuit?

Major focus of the law suit is an apparently rigged procurement and poor performance of CIBER, information technology (IT) consultants out of the Denver area hired at a cost of $82m (to date) to implement a major computer software package called Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) from the leading German software company SAP.

CIBER's Turnpike boss made campaign contributions during the period of their consultancy to former Pennsylvania state senator Vincent Fumo, currently serving a jail sentence after a conviction in US Court in Philadelphia for corruption.

Last year Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell fired Turnpike Commission chairman Mitchell Rubin after the feds said he was the subject of a criminal inquiry. Rubin's wife, Ruth Arnao, an aide to Fumo was convicted along with the former senator on some 40 counts of thievery.

$82 MILLION!!!

For a couple of years there has been press on the wasteless need for the PA Turnpike Commission. Talk in Harrisburg centered on consolidating the Commission, long labled as a political parking lot for oblilgated appointments, into the Department of Transportation.

To compare, PennDOT is run by seven executives and manages more than 41,000 miles of roadway. That equals one executive for every 5,857 miles of state roadway. The Turnpike Commission is run by nine executives and is in charge of 545 miles of roadway. That equals one executive for every 60 miles of roadway on the turnpike. Also, PennDOT uses internal staff to act as government liaisons with the General Assembly, whereas the Turnpike Commission hires contract lobbyists at significant cost.

A Road to Savings: Abolish the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission from the Commonwealth Foundation

Instead of saving Pennsylvania taxpayers money through measures like abolishing the Turnpike Commission and consolidating its operations with PennDOT, Todd Eachus and the PA legislature decided to take away contractor fees charged by local municipalities and keep them for the state.

It's a bitch when you claim to be the leadership but don't know how to lead.

This Legislature refuses to accept its fiduciary responsibility by continually being a cash eating cow. In this case the PA Legislature is taking the bucks from municipalities to cover our lawmakers' cash eating tracks. Municipalities need to make up that shortfall by taxing its residents so the real reason doesn't look like Harrisburg suffers from "sick legislature syndrome".

In Pennsylvania, for example, the Senate shut down for much of 1993 because the result of a single special election threatened the razor-thin Democratic numerical advantage. Few were surprised by this tactic: The previous year, Republicans had pulled a similar stunt for fear one of their own would switch party allegiance. It is the cutthroat competition for control in a close partisan situation that explains why, during the past decade in Pennsylvania, ethically tainted members from both sides of the aisle have routinely escaped discipline.

Guess they hadn't planned on someone like AG Tom Corbett to come along and call their ass on tainted ethics.

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