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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Perzel, Fumo at Secret Budget Negotiations

John Micek reports on the details of the secret budget negotiations:

The players last night:
House Dems: Majority Leader Bill DeWeese, Whip Keith McCall and Appropriations Chair Dwight Evans.
House Republicans: Minority Leader Sam Smith, Appropriations Ranking Member Mario Civera, and, for reasons that continue to elude us, Rep. John Perzel.
Somewhere In The Middle: Speaker Dennis O'Brien.
Senate Dems: Minority Leader Bob Mellow and Sen. Vince Fumo.
Senate Republicans: [Majority Leader Dominic]Pileggi and Appropriations Chairman Gibson Armstrong.
I too am perplexed as to why someone who was voted out of leadership by his own caucus (Perzel) and someone who resigned his leadership position as he is under indictment for misspending taxpayers' money (Fumo) are negotiating how to spend taxpayer money on behalf of their caucus.

I also fail to understand the justification for subverting the normal legislative process to negotiate the budget in secret meetings. Furthermore, the Open Meetings/Sunshine Act - which requires every other type of meeting among state and local government bodies - has a loophole for "unofficial meetings" like the secret budget negotiations.

But for a body that already has a reputation for corruption, is circumventing the Open Meetings law to negotiate the most important piece of legislation really a good way to show how reformed you are?

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