In the spirit of giving thanks and appreciation, not only did we take a break from compiling our usual list of do-gooders and do-badders, but we’re still too focused on googling “best leftover turkey and cranberry sauce recipes” to include any notables from last week. Because, even though we took some time off, the sharklike nature of Pennsylvania politics means that there is always something going on, like:
Chaka Fattah: Yes, this is the right place for the former Congressman this week. As the Inquirer reported yesterday, Fattah has been collecting two taxpayer-funded pensions – a federal one for around $55,000 a year, and a state one for around $405 a month from his days as a state legislator. It is unclear whether he can continue to collect them once his appeals are exhausted. Oh, and he will be launching his own conultancy group on Monday.
Jill Stein: The failed Green Party presidential candidate has raised an astonishing amount – over $6.3 million, or, to put it in perspective, more than she raised for her actual campaign – to propel recount efforts in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. She has successfully petitioned for a recount in PA, but it remains to be seen just how thorough it will be: Philadelphia will only authorize a recount in 75 out of 1,686 voting divisions.
Amy Gutmann: The longtime president of the University of Pennsylvania just had her contract extended. Gutmann, who has led the Ivy League institution since 2004, is now signed through 2022, presumably with a salary structure that will improve on her reported $3.4 million salary in 2014, the most recent year available. Based on a lengthy list of her accomplishments sent out by Penn Board of Trustees Chair David L. Cohen – including driving the university’s endowment up by $5 billion, raising financial aid by 155 percent and a vastly expanded infrastructure – it’s seen as money well spent.
Duncan Lloyd: It’s not often a police report includes video of a blazer-wearing, wine-drinking perp, but that is exactly what the assistant city solicitor was wearing and doing while a man with him spray-painted “Fuck Trump” on the side of Chestnut Hill’s Fresh Grocer supermarket. He should have taken lessons from the Trumpanistas getting away with defacing surfaces around the country with swastikas and racist graffiti.
Department of Labor & Industry employees: In a bit of Kafkaesque brinksmanship, 500+ state employees who work on unemployment claims for PA residents are faced with being laid off themselves on Dec. 19 because the Legislature didn’t get around to passing a spending measure that would have funded the offices – although lawmakers did get around to voting themselves a raise. Nothing says good optics like increasing your paycheck while ensuring hundreds go jobless for the holidays.
Gabe Campana: The Williamsport mayor may be under state investigation if Lycoming County District Attorney Linhardt has his way (Linhardt asked the AG’s office to handle the investigation because he has a longstanding relationship with Campana). Campana is suspected of seeking a number of “illegitimate” reimbursements through his office.