If you have been reading the news over the past several you should be alarmed. The overwhelmingly Republican Legislature has shown it’s willingness to flex Their autocratic storming arm. Are we beginning to see the downside of allowing one party to maintain majority rule?
In the past year it has become evident that the Pennsylvania Public Schools Employees’ Retirement System ( PSERS) has fallen on troubled times. Short falls in earnings has caught the attention of taxpayers. The system has the potential of leaving the taxpayers on the hook for 64 billion dollar. Add that to the state employees debt burden and a real fiscal disaster looms. The issue gets complicated by skeptical investments that hardly make sense to the least savvy investor. Couple this with the revelations of extreme salaries, large expenditures resort vacations and air fares and the taxpayers should be alarmed. Teachers should be furious as it is a significant portion of their retirement funds. It has definitely perked the interest of the FBI.
Most concerning in the PSERS saga is the recent revelation that many members and local elected representatives seek to hold discussions in secrecy. It was revealed that they are seeking non- disclosure agreements from all members in board discussions. I doubt we need to remind them that since taxpayers money is involved that all transactions should be 100% transparent.
But, it appears that transparency may not be much of a concern when one party is 100% in control. The PA law makers vowed transparency, but negotiations for the election probe are held in private is a recent headline. Pennsylvania Procurement code maintains that the office of the governor, attorney general, state boards, commissions and other acquire services and supplies. Conversely, the legislature has a free hand making these decisions! As a voter who is aware that they fully intend to seek my private information, I am alarmed who they may seek to conduct these search and the extent they will investigate? History is vast with autocratic governments searching private citizens data.
Transparency in a democratic government is paramount. I would recommend that in writing or by phone you tell the local legislators “enough with the secret government”. If we do not hold them to transparency how far will transgress on your privacy.
Calvin Doc Clements is a retired veterinarian, business owner, community servant and family man.