Commendations to Congressman Patrick Murphy for being one of the first co-sponsors of House Resolution 282, which prevented the Postal Service from contracting out letter carrier work. In some cities, USPS was hiring private contractors, for low wages and no benefits, to deliver mail.And this editorial appeared also…
The National Association of Letter Carriers could not reach a new contract with the USPS. Thanks to two pieces of legislation, including HR 282, USPS came back to the bargaining table. In our new agreement, there is a five-year moratorium on contracting out all city delivery routes, which includes communities like Bensalem and Levittown.
Letter carriers are the eyes and ears of the communities they serve. Thanks to this legislation, your letter carrier will remain someone who you know and trust.
Bristol Township, PA
It's easy to criticize; it's a lot harder to offer positive solutions. And so we asked the Democrats running for county commissioner to put or shut up on the issue of pay-to-play politics, which they've made the centerpiece of their campaign.To help Diane and Steve, click here.
To their credit, Democrats Diane Marseglia and Steve Santarsiero put up meaty responses to our challenge.
First, a review: The Democrats launched their attack by noting that county boards and commissions are heavily populated with Republicans. From a proportional standpoint, Republican numbers far exceed the GOP's registration edge.
Next, and more damning, the Democrats documented that professional consultants hired by the GOP-led county board of commissioners often are contributors to the Republican Party. In fact, several contracts were awarded to firms on the very days that party contributions rolled in from employees of those firms.
Hiring practices of this sort raise reasonable questions about what taxpayers are getting for their money. And the cozy appearance damages public confidence.
But what would the Democrats do? How would they handle appointments if not picking from a list of contributors and political hacks? We asked that question. We also asked if the Democrats would swear off giving legal work to Democratic Party Chairman John Cordisco, who heads his own law firm.
The Democrats came back strong. “I can tell you right now we're not going to hire Cordisco,” Santarsiero said when he and Marseglia met with out editorial board last week. Cordisco agreed, saying “it would be wrong” to take county work.
It's fair to mention, as the Republicans did, that Marseglia voted to hire Cordisco's firm during her first term as a Middletown supervisor — something she said she won't do if elected commissioner.
On the issue of professional consultants and other advisors, the Democrats said they'd appoint a non-partisan county ethics commission that, in addition to policing the conduct of county employees and appointees, would vet applicants for professional contracts.
We think that's a good idea. Even better is their promise to use the panel to also review applicants for county boards and commissions, with recommendations focusing solely on experience and background — and what an applicant would bring to county government.
We like the Democrats' proposal so much that we challenge the Republicans to match it. And we don't mean with the current review process that involves the county chief operating officer, solicitor and two department heads. Problem is, all four are Republicans and tied to county government.
We think the board of commissioners would benefit from independent perspective on these issues. Indeed, “pay to play” might not be an issue in this campaign were the commissioners less aware of who gave what to the party and more focused on who can give what to taxpayers.