Brubaker: Rendell plan falls short - LancasterOnline: News

Brubaker: Rendell plan falls short

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Posted: Wednesday, April 1, 2009 12:36 am | Updated: 1:55 pm, Thu Oct 3, 2013.

Republican state Sen. Mike Brubaker said Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell's attempts to bring accountability to how federal stimulus funds are spent don't go far enough.

Rendell announced Tuesday the creation of a bipartisan Pennsylvania Stimulus Oversight Commission, charged with reviewing how the state's portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, worth $10 billion, is spent.

But Brubaker said Pennsylvanians deserve better.

Rendell's commission does not have the same transparency as a similar oversight commission proposed by Brubaker about two weeks ago, the senator from Warwick Township said Monday afternoon.

"The public has the right to know exactly how stimulus dollars are being used in their communities and in other communities across the state," Brubaker said, "and we are failing to meet even this basic level of accountability and transparency in current practice."

Brubaker's proposal is wrapped into Senate Bill 6. The legislation, which, including Brubaker, has 48 co-sponsors out of a possible 50 in the Senate, is before the Senate State Government Committee.

Brubaker's commission would have nine members - four members of Rendell's cabinet, four appointees from the legislative caucuses and an appointee of the governor - and meet twice monthly for a year.

The commission would monitor how the $10 billion is spent and make recommendations on how to create jobs and eliminate fraud and waste. It also would create a Web site where its reports and related data would be available.

Rendell's commission also is bipartisan. It includes two state representatives, two state senators, one former congressman, one current congressman and proxies for U.S. Sens. Bob Casey and Arlen Specter.

No legislators from Lancaster County were named to the commission.

In addition to the above officials, members include:

Gene Barr, vice president of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry.

Tony Ross, president and CEO of United Way of Pennsylvania.

Donald Siegal, a representative from the AFL-CIO.

Ronald Naples, a Montgomery County businessman appointed by Rendell to act as chief accountability officer for stimulus funds. Naples, 63, will be paid $120,000 annually.

Gov. Rendell names accountability officer

The commission, which met for the first time Tuesday, will meet twice a month. A Web site, www.recovery.pa.gov, has been set up to show where and how stimulus money is being spent.

Despite the bipartisan makeup of Rendell's committee, Brubaker remains dissatisfied with it.

"My legislation includes reporting standards for state agencies to determine exactly how and where these additional funds will be used," Brubaker said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

E-mail: dpidgeon@lnpnews.com

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