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Former LCB figures faulted

Published by James O'Toole on .

Kate Giammarise reports that three former LCB officials, former CEO Joe Conti, former board member Patrick Stapelton, and former marketing director James Short were cited by the state Ethic Commission for taking gifts from firms doing business with the LCB.  They've got to pay it back _ Conti, $2,338; Stapelton, $7,258; and Short, $13,586.

 

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Deadline today for city employees to file for early retirement

Published by Laura Schneiderman on .

Today marks the deadline for city employees to file for an early retirement incentive program that was proposed to usher out some long-time city employees and clear room for Mayor Bill Peduto's new hires.

A full list of those taking the incentive is expected to be available Monday. Among those retiring as part of the program is Denice Haas, manager of personnel and finance for the public safety department.

Public Safety Director Michael Huss acknowledged Ms. Haas this morning, following a press conference on staffing plans for St. Patrick's Day parade and festivities. "Every day she had a smile on her face," Mr. Huss said. "Even though she never wore the turn-out gear, she's still a firefighter at heart."

Ms. Haas, 63, began working for the city in April of 1969, almost 45 years ago. She spent most of her time working in the fire bureau and moved to the public safety department when Mr. Huss moved from fire chief to public safety director. During her time on the job, she helped work on the fire bureau's merger with Wilkinsburg firefighters and numerous union negotiations and saw the deaths of three firefighters.

"There were difficult times, but there were happy times when we got new recruits," Ms. Haas said. "There was a wide spectrum of emotions."

Ms. Haas, the cousin of a deputy fire chief, said she plans to enjoy her retirement by spending more time with family.

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Hanger withdraws

Published by James O'Toole on .

Saying that he saw no path to victory, John Hanger, the former secretary of environmental resources, is withdrawing from the race for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Mr. Hanger was a respected presence in the Democratic field, driving the conversation on issues such as marijuana legalization and reform of the state's charter school funding.  He failed to gain traction in the polls or in fundraising, however, shortfalls he acknowledged in his withdrawal statement.

That leaves a five-person Democratic field including U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, former DEP Secretary Katie McGinty; state Treasurer Rob McCord; businessman Tom Wolf, and former Auditor General Jack Wagner. 

Here are some excerpts from Mr. Hanger's message emailed around the state:

"We have achieved much in this campaign, like making the most substantive case for Corbett’s defeat, according to Governor Rendell. We also achieved our first, and most important, goal of proposing numerous, detailed policy solutions that will rebuild Pennsylvania.  We have driven the debate on issue after issue, such as charter school accountability, reforming our cruel marijuana policies that harm patients and ruin the lives of good people, as well as energy and environmental policy. These solutions are now part of the vernacular of the Democratic campaign, and they will be part of the policy package that will persuade Pennsylvanians to elect a Democrat as Governor in November.''

 

“Our second goal of winning the Democratic primary simply slipped beyond our reach.  Tom Wolf's television campaign has been startlingly effective, and he has taken a commanding lead, having reached support of 40% or more.  With no path to victory, to press on could cause damage to the issues and people for which we campaigned.''

Here's Karen Langley's story on the exit.

The full text of Mr. Hanger's withdrawal statement is after the jump.

 

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Alton to appeal

Published by James O'Toole on .

 

Brenda Alton, the former Harrisburg official barred from the primary ballot for the Democratic nomination for lieutentant governor for being late in submitting her nomination petitions, plans to appeal that decision.

Robert J. Vickers, of the Patriot-News, reports that the Alton campaign maintains that Ms. Alton was in line at the secretary of state's office before the 5 p.m. deadline Tuesday and that an aide had the petitions ready for her to submit, but was delayed by a security guard.

"We were actually in the vestibule of the waiting area,” campaign manager Michael Walker told Mr. Vickers. “I was specifically stopped by the officer because he didn’t know if I was a candidate and asked for ID. That was about 4:56 p.m. By the time I clarified things, I was told it was 5 p.m. The doors were still open.”

 

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Sound familiar?

Published by James O'Toole on .

In a case that carries echoes of the prosecutions of former state Sen. Jane Orie and her sister, former state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane announced charges against a state senator from the Philadelphia area, charging that she used her state staff for political purposes.

A grand jury handed up a presentment against state Sen. LeAnna Washington, charging that "through intimidation and verbal abuse,'' she pressured her staff to assist in campaign activities including a birthday-themed fundraiser for her re-election.  

"According to the grand jury, some senate staff members devoted almost all of their time in the weeks and months leading up to the fundraiser maintaining databases for fundraising invitations and events; creating campaign fundraiser invitations; printing thousands of campaign fundraiser invitations; stuffing and stamping the envelopes for campaign fundraisers; and listing campaign contributions and expenditures to send to Senator Washington's campaign treasurer,'' the AG's office said.

 

"In addition, the grand jury learned that signs and posters for the political fundraiser were printed at the Senate Graphic Design Department located in Harrisburg, as well as congratulatory signage celebrating family milestones and other deliverables for Senator Washington's campaign activities.''

In an interview with the Associated Press, Ms. Washington's attorney called the charges, "thin and specious.''

Here's the full release from the AG's office

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