Whistleblower laws overdue
The state Legislature has given Pennsylvanians an overdue present, passing two important government reform bills to extend whistleblower protection to employees of government contractors and employees of the Legislature.
The public purse is a little safer and the state Legislature more accountable and ethical due to these new safeguards. We applaud the General Assembly and look forward to Gov. Tom Corbett signing these bills.
When billions of dollars of federal economic stimulus money flowed through Pennsylvania in 2009, this “new money” was distributed quickly through new programs, creating the potential for abuse, fraud and waste. Common Cause Pennsylvania noted this problem early on and pointed out those closest to the problem — employees of government contractors — were not protected by the state whistleblower law.
Rep. Brian Ellis, R-Butler Co., then championed this legislation.
The scandals in the state Legislature pointed out another loophole in the whistleblower law — legislative employees were not protected by it. Many employees knew of the illicit goings-on, but feared for their jobs and did not report them to authorities.
If these new protections had been in effect eight years ago, the damage to state government might have been diminished, the cost to taxpayers reduced and fewer people prosecuted.
No one should fear losing his or her job for reporting illegal activities. Hopefully these new laws will encourage more civic-minded people to take necessary action.
Barry L. Kauffman
The writer is the executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania.
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.
- Beyond wacky
- Perk in peril?
- AG’s office no place for porn
- Don’t forget Highmark patients
- Finally, like Bush
- More likely location
- Today’s big lie
- Fair pay for hard work