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http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/special_packages/community_voices/delaware/13022431.htm


Posted on Sun, Oct. 30, 2005
John Innelli and Nancy Baulis

Government works best when it consists of two parties, each with an
incentive to be a watchdog. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Delaware
County is the sole county in Pennsylvania with a one-party government. That
party, the Delaware County Republican Party, has lost touch with the values
of its citizens and runs the county government to perpetuate its sole
interest: self-enrichment at taxpayer expense. It is time to elect as county
council members two individuals who will change the courthouse culture of
entitlement.

This year Delaware County has an operating budget of nearly $500 million
that consists of a social services fund and a county general fund. Social
services includes children and youth, mental health, mental retardation,
drug and alcohol prevention and rehabilitation programs, services for the
aging, and community redevelopment programs. Federal and state funding
provides 97.2 percent of the social services funding.

However, the current regime in Media is more interested in the $273 million
general fund, which comes from local taxes and fees.

Three examples tell the story. First, is Fair Acres, the county retirement
home whose $73 million budget is 26.9 percent of the general fund. The
administrator for Fair Acres is the son-in-law of the Republican boss of
Upper Darby. He oversees the letting of contracts for nursing services, the
provision of pharmaceutical goods, laundry and housekeeping services,
facilities management, fringe benefits and insurance coverage. These
contracts total nearly $25 million. The budget also refers to about $4
million in "other operating expenditures," but the county steadfastly
refuses to provide the identity of those entities.

The second example is the county prison. The single largest expenditure in
the county budget is for the "Administration of Justice, and 30 percent of
that budget - about $28 million - goes to operating the county prison.

Similarly, the county budget pays more than $25 million to unidentified
vendors for employee fringe benefits and insurance coverage. Decisions on
who receives these contracts are made in the courthouse, where both the GOP
county chairman and the GOP boss of Upper Darby have high-paying county
jobs.

>From the examples above, we see at least $82 million is awarded to patrons
of the county GOP without any assurances that taxpayers are getting the best
bargain for their money.

The county needs independent council members, not people handpicked by the
GOP bosses. We are independent and have the requisite skills and experience
to make our independence count. John Innelli, who holds degrees in economics
and business from the University of Pennsylvania and its Wharton School, is
an lawyer who has spent the last 25 years successfully prosecuting financial
fraud in some of the highest-profile cases in the nation. Nancy Baulis, a
teacher, has spent 16 years at Pennsylvania's CAT Fund, and understands the
inner workings of government.

When elected, we will require that requests for proposals (RFPs) be
submitted for ALL contracts. RFPs are not bids, and thus the county
government will retain the right and ability to negotiate with any and all
proposers if it is appropriate. With RFPs, the county government can assure
that decisions are not based upon patronage but rather upon the job
specifications, the applicant's qualifications and experience, the personnel
assigned to the job, their plan and the price to be paid. The RFP
requirement was implemented in Montgomery County and they were able to cut
their professional fees in half.

We will change the courthouse culture of entitlement and end the patronage
tax in Delaware County.
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