In recent news stories, both in Erie and in the Warren Times Observer, our Elections Department was sighted in reference to a report by the Auditor General in which his office accused numerous elections departments in the state of receiving gifts from election companies and that this hints at “impropriety.” In the current political environment, I can completely understand the interest of many to keep a close eye on transactions and to root out corruption. In this case, I believe they are looking in the wrong direction.
I can’t speak for other elections directors, but our Elections Director, Lisa Rivett, is one of our best employees, with a sterling reputation, and has always conducted herself with the utmost integrity and a focus on making our elections as safe and secure as humanly possible. I wish we had 100 Lisa Rivetts in the Courthouse, as she’s also one of our hardest workers and provides great value to the taxpayers.
The “gifts” referred to in the report amounts to sandwiches and chocolate pretzels which were received during the annual conferences for elections officials that Ms. Rivett regularly attends. If this is going to raise eyebrows, then the AG should also look into the annual conferences for the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Association of Township Supervisors, the Auditors Association, the Treasurers Association, and every other association in Pennsylvania because everyone gets sandwiches and chocolates at those events as well.
For me, this is frustrating because we have arguably one of the most corrupt State Governments in the United States and wish someone would do an audit of all of the campaign finance reports of our elected officials and compare them with the companies they choose to work with. Maybe then we could figure out why all of our services in rural PA are being privatized and the money that is normally used to hire local folks to provide quality services is being sent to large “nonprofit” organizations outside the County to provide substandard service.
Frankly, if we could send 100 Lisa Rivetts to Harrisburg, we’d have that town cleaned up in no time flat.
Warren County Commissioner,