Corbett's press secretary to depart for PR firm
A top aide to Gov. Tom Corbett plans to step down next month, the latest departure from an administration struggling with dismal approval ratings as its re-election campaign approaches.
Kevin Harley, Corbett's longtime press secretary, will take a job with the prominent Republican public relations firm Quantum Communications after Labor Day, Corbett's office announced on Monday. The announcement was made less than a month after Leslie Gromis Baker became Corbett's third chief of staff in as many years.
“Kevin has been one of my closest and trusted advisers for many years. I value his counsel and friendship. I look forward to continuing to work with him in a new role,” Corbett said in a statement announcing Harley's resignation.
Harley said he's been talking to Quantum CEO Charlie Gerow, a close friend, for “a number of months,” and that he isn't jumping ship.
“I've been with Tom Corbett for 12 years,” Harley said.
Harley plans to serve Corbett's campaign as an outside consultant.
“I'll be able to help him,” Harley said. “That was important to me.”
Corbett's approval rating remains stuck below 40 percent, and at least one national pundit labeled him the most vulnerable incumbent governor running in 2014. A Quinnipiac University poll in June found two of the top Democratic candidates — U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz and Treasurer Rob McCord — leading Corbett by 10 and 8 percentage points in head-to-head matchups, respectively.
Departures from Corbett's administration include an inspector general, CEO of the Turnpike Commission and the secretaries of Environmental Protection, Health, Public Welfare and Conservation and Natural Resources.
“When you do have a fairly large exodus of senior staff and secretaries, you question if there is enough energy and excitement to keep people aboard,” said Chris Borick, director of Muhlenberg College's Institute of Public Opinion.
Corbett this year struggled through a legislative session during which GOP leaders failed to pass his priorities, including a transportation funding bill, prison reform and liquor store privatization.
“He's got to have some accomplishments to hang his hat on, and those haven't been readily available, or at least visible to the public,” Borick said.
Harley, 49, served as press secretary for Corbett's 2004 attorney general campaign, then in the Attorney General's Office before becoming press secretary for his 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Before that, he worked on two gubernatorial campaigns and a U.S. Senate campaign.
“We are thrilled that he's going to be joining us,” Gerow said. In addition to political clients, Quantum represents companies in the energy, technology and health care fields.
“We've been talking about being in business together for a long, long time,” Gerow said, noting Harley is godfather to his daughter. “It's great for him. It's great for us.”
Mike Wereschagin is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra makes ‘great strides’ financially, audit shows
- Newsmaker: Joseph McCamey
- Icy water, donations to fight ALS flow with social media’s help
- Pittsburgh eyes plan to resolve impasse over Hill District project on former Civic Arena site
- Barred Mt. Oliver firefighter turns up in gear at blaze, spurs investigation
- Officers involved in shootings relay physical, emotional toll of incidents
- College-bank deals inspire calls for openness from regulators
- Artificial quakes cause less shaking, study finds
- Nonprofit intends to restore West End Village tavern
- Bicyclists are peddling cause to Pittsburgh leaders
- Renowned forensic pathologist Wecht critical of 3rd autopsy in Ferguson death