Confirmed: New chief for Corbett

Published by Tim McNulty on .

The Corbett administration this afternoon confirmed the leaks that longtime GOP campaign official Leslie Gromis Baker will take over as his chief-of-staff and current CoS Stephen Aichele will go back to his private legal practice.

The administration also confirmed its legislative affairs secretary is leaving.

UPDATE: The state Democratic Party said:

Today, Tom Corbett announced staff chances which will do absolutely nothing to help him restore support among voters or restore confidence from lawmakers. A few staff changes cannot make Tom Corbett a better leader. They cannot make Tom Corbett more effective or more compassionate. In fact, all these changes prove is that Tom Corbett's inner circle is in chaos. Tom Corbett's problem isn't his staff; it's his inability to lead.

Full Corbett admin statements after the jump:

Harrisburg – Governor Tom Corbett today announced that Leslie Gromis Baker, of Pittsburgh, will become his new chief of staff.

Gromis Baker, 53, currently serves as Corbett's liaison with the federal government in Harrisburg and Washington D.C. Founder and president of the political consulting firm LG Strategies, Gromis Baker served as co-director of Corbett's gubernatorial transition team and was his senior advisor during the gubernatorial election.

"In her years of public service, both state and federal, as well as her time in the private sector, Leslie Gromis Baker has mastered the details of effective political management and leadership, skills she will bring to the demanding position of chief of staff,'' Corbett said.

"Her work for former Gov. Tom Ridge, as well as President George H.W. Bush, mark Leslie Gromis Baker as a woman of talent and integrity and we are excited to welcome her to this new role."

She will replace Stephen Aichele, who served as Corbett's chief counsel for nearly 17 months, followed by 14 months as chief of staff. He will assist Gromis Baker in the transition before returning to private practice.

"Steve has provided a spark and energy to the administration, and staff members will long remember his enthusiasm and optimism,'' Corbett said. "I'm grateful that Steve, who initially came on board as general counsel and, upon Bill Ward's departure for a judicial post, took on the new responsibilities of chief of staff and dove in with enthusiasm and ambition into his duties."

Gromis Baker also worked for Gov. Tom Ridge, serving as his director of public liaison, political director of his 1994 campaign and manager of his 1998 reelection campaign. She later ran his political action committee, the Ridge Leadership Fund.
In 2000, Gromis Baker directed the state presidential campaign of George W. Bush, and was mid-Atlantic chair of the president's 2004 reelection committee. She had been a White House political aide to his father, President George H.W. Bush.

Originally from Reading, Berks County, Gromis Baker is a graduate of the University of Maryland.

Prior to joining the administration, Aichele was chairman of the Philadelphia law firm of Saul Ewing LLP. His wife, Carol, is currently serving as secretary of the commonwealth.


Harrisburg – Governor Tom Corbett today announced that Secretary of Legislative Affairs Christopher D. Carusone will be leaving the administration to become a partner in the Harrisburg office of the Philadelphia-based Conrad O'Brien law firm.

"I have worked with Chris for many years, both in the Attorney General's Office and more recently in the Governor's Office. He has been a model of personal integrity and devotion to duty. A skilled lawyer, he is always focused on what is best for the commonwealth and its citizens,'' Corbett said.

"Chris took on one of the most challenging positions in state government and worked extremely hard for the citizens of Pennsylvania. He has earned the admiration of everyone with whom he worked."

Before becoming Secretary of Legislative Affairs, Carusone served as executive deputy general counsel for legislation and criminal justice in the Office of General Counsel, where he acted as counsel on all legislative matters.

"I am especially grateful to Chris for giving us an extra year of service. He intended to leave for the private sector last year, but delayed his departure at my request in order to take on the role as legislative secretary,'' Corbett said.

Prior to joining the administration, Carusone was a chief deputy attorney general in the criminal law division when Corbett was serving as attorney general.

In that role, Carusone supervised the Appeals and Legal Services section, which handles all criminal appeals and post-conviction litigation. He also supervised the Grand Jury Unit, Capital Litigation Unit and Victims Services Unit.

Carusone also served as an assistant district attorney in Berks County, assistant counsel for the Pennsylvania State Police and assistant counsel for the Office of Inspector General.
He is a graduate of Providence College and Widener University School of Law, where he served as a member of the Law Review.

Carusone will depart mid-August, Executive Deputy Secretary of Legislative Affairs Andrew Ritter will then serve as acting secretary.

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