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Politics & Government

This Week in PA Politics 11/17

Governor-elect Wolf hires McGinty as his Chief Of Staff. Former Democratic candidate for governor Katie McGinty is joining the team of Governor-elect Tom Wolf as his chief of staff, 90.5 WESA’s Liz Reid reports. McGinty, who worked under former Governor Ed Rendell as head of the Department of Environmental Protection, brings a wealth of experience to the position, most recently as the head of Tom Wolf’s PAC, Fresh Start PA.

County Exec. Fitzgerald writes check for take home car use. Amid allegations that he was misusing his take home car while serving as Allegheny County Commissioner, Rich Fitzgerald “voluntarily” reimbursed the county with a $42,737.52 check, 90.5 WESA’s Mark Nootbaar reports, Fitzgerald was adamant that the initial allegations against him were politically motivated, and he stressed that county policy on take home vehicles should be more in line with the County Ethics Code.

Corman takes over as majority leader in the Senate. After serving 8 years as Republican majority leader in the state Senate, Dominic Pileggi (R-Chester) will vacate the position for Sen. Jake Corman (R-Centre), 90.5 WESA’s Mary Wilson reports. Corman will now lead the Republican caucus who pushed out Pileggi because of his lack of commitment to conservative values.

New GOP leadership could complicate bipartisanism. With the selection of Senator Jake Corman (R-Centre) as Senate majority leader and Representative Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) as speaker of the House, 90.5 WESA’s Mary Wilson questions whether compromise will be a priority for the majority-Republican legislature. Wilson does, however, point out that political realities, including the $2 billion budget deficit, could force bipartisan solutions.

Four current employees in AG’s office fired for lewd emails. Another story has emerged from the lewd email ring debacle that was uncovered at the Attorney General’s office: Karen Langley of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that four current employees have been fired and another eleven are suspended for their involvement in the email ring. The decision to discipline employees was based on the amount of emails sent, the content of the emails, and the positions held by those who were implicated.

New allegations emerge against former Pittsburgh VA director. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs released a statement saying that Terry Gerigk Wolf, the former head of the Pittsburgh VA, was dismissed six weeks after “allegations of conduct unbecoming a senior executive” were substantiated in regards to the 2011-12 outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, reports Sean D. Hamill of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. But another claim was levied against her, namely that Wolf’s leadership led to “wasteful spending” at the Pittsburgh VA. None of this is much comfort to the families of the victims who died during the outbreak, Hamill reports.

Republican majority might link liquor privatization to extraction tax. With liquor privatization champion Rep. Mike Turzai now acting as speaker of the state House, a discussion about dismantling state liquor laws may be necessary if Governor Tom Wolf wants to impose an extraction tax on the natural gas industry, the Tribune Review’s Mike Conti reports. Turzai said that if the state needs more revenue, getting rid of the state liquor monopoly is a good place to start.