(York, PA) Reporting on Mismanagement 

This post today is a follow-up to yesterday’s when I introduced the word “mismanagement.
I continually see zero accountability for money wasted in Harrisburg.

I have reported in past email blasts about the infamous “statewide radio system” upgrade that was started in 2006.

This past summer, Governor Wolf cancelled the 2006 contract that was a complete failure and signed a new contract with another vendor.

The cancelled contract was a complete waste of approximately $1 Billion Dollars.

It seems that the waste of $1 Billion Dollars for the statewide radio system really doesn’t have people angry or upset here in Harrisburg.

The attitude seems to be: “oh well it happened – it is water over the dam – we should move on”

I have a different position on the waste of $1 Billion Dollars.

Are the people who participated with this failed project still employed by the State of Pennsylvania? If they are, they should be fired immediately.

The beauty of politics in Harrisburg is that I get to listen to the endless stream of special interests coming in to ask for more and more money for their pet projects and government subsidies.

It is intriguing to me to never hear these same people say anything about the waste of $1 Billion Dollars – everyone just wants more money without worrying about having to be held accountable.

I reported in December about the battle between the Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) and the Republican Senate Caucus over the funding for Unemployment Compensation Call Centers.

In early January, I visited the Unemployment Compensation Call Center in Erie with Senator Dan Laughlin.

As I was walking to a conference  room with a supervisor I passed by at least 10-12 four-drawer lateral filing cabinets that were labeled 2014-2015-2016, Unemployment Compensation over-payments.

We then went into the conference room to meet and learn more about the facts surrounding the closing of the three call centers in Altoona, Allentown and Lancaster and how it impacted the workload at the Erie Center.

The Department of Labor and Industry had two legislative representatives who were in the meeting.

For those of you that know me, the filing cabinets caught my attention immediately, so I asked one of the L&I representatives if they could tell me the amount of over-payments for 2016.

In fifteen minutes, the L&I representative informed me that he had an answer and actually had the over-payment amounts for 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Keep in mind these over-payments are payments that should NOT have been paid.

Hold on to your seats folks:

Below is a chart showing the amount of over-payments, the amount recovered and the amount not collected. 

Year Amount Paid Amount Recouped Outstanding
2014 $104,600,000.00 $51,100,000.00 $53,500,000.00
2015 $80,300,000.00 $50,800,000.00 $29,500,000.00
2016 $63,500,000.00 $36,500,000.00 $27,000,000.00
Total $248,400,000.00 $138,400,000.00 $110,000,000.00

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry

Here is a chart of the total number of over-payment cases.

Year & Quarter Number of Over-payment
Cases Established
2014 Q1 16,588
2014 Q2 20,636
2014 Q3 20,776
2014 Q4 18,122
CY 2014 TOTAL 76,122
2015 Q1 16,580
2015 Q2 17,841
2015 Q3 16,232
2015 Q4 14,610
CY 2015 TOTAL 65,263
2016 Q1 12,831
2016 Q2 14,007
2016 Q3 13,472
2016 Q4 11,868
CY 2016 TOTAL 52,178

 

I now have another question that I would like answered: the outstanding amount of $110,000,000 in over-payments that should not have been paid – Where did it come from? What fund or bank account? Was it employer money? The bottom line is, I want answers to this question.

I also have first-hand experience with this mismanaged system.

Approximately two years ago at one of my companies, we had a situation where an employee filed for unemployment compensation and was still working. This employee was receiving weekly unemployment compensation payments and should not have been receiving these payments while they were still employed.

Here is my question – who is responsible for the “mismanagement”’ of this program?

These are just a few examples of many cases that I’ve seen firsthand since I joined the PA State Senate. I don’t know about you but I am outraged over this kind of stuff and that is why I’m running for Governor. If we’re going to straighten out Pennsylvania’s finances, we need someone with the courage and leadership ability to fix this broken system.

Now that I’ve given you another example of wasted money and mismanagement, I have to ask this question, are Pennsylvanians finally fed up enough to cast a vote for me for Governor?

I don’t care whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, or Independent – waste, fraud, and abuse should outrage you like it does me.

Trust me when I tell you this, I am not Casper Milk Toast. I will hold people accountable and I may personally fire some of the people involved in this type of waste, fraud, and abuse.

Every day I learn something new in Harrisburg that makes me shake my head.

Folks, you can’t make this stuff up.

I’ll be reporting more next week as budget hearings continue.

Thank you,

Scott Wagner