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Joe Conti's deal: Yech!

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

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Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, 8:59 p.m.
 

We're not sure what's worse — Joe Conti's double-dipping or the Corbett administration's tacit approval of it. But no matter which one actually is more odoriferous, the yech!-factor looms large.

Mr. Conti — reading the writing on the wall that operations of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, for which he has been CEO, will be privatized (and also under an ethics cloud of suspicion) — will “retire” effective this Saturday. He originally said he'd leave on Feb. 15 but moved up his departure date after discussions with the board. Why? Who knows.

And in a sweetheart of an “emergency” deal, he'll be paid $80.16 an hour for up to 95 days this year to help the LCB in a number of matters. That's a nearly $61,000 premium. And that's on top of his handsome pension, the product of his LCB and legislative tenures.

You'll recall that the CEO's position is one that Gov. Tom Corbett criticized as unnecessary. Yet it was his Office of Administration that approved Mr. Conti's “emergency” return. Mr. Corbett's office defended the deal as a pro forma “ministerial-type function.” There's little that can be done to reject such a request, Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley said.

Really? How about just saying “NO!” because the double-dipping deal stinks, it deepens taxpayers' distrust of government and, for 95 days of work, is nearly $9,300 more than the median income that a Pennsylvania household earns in 365 days?

The Conti deal should be overturned.

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