February 15, 2009

Bucks County Courier Times: "Spoiled system"

Editorial, February 11, 2009

Taxpayers are footing the cost of health insurance for a posse of part-time county lawyers.

"To the victor belong the spoils." Coined by a New York senator, the practice of naming political supporters to government positions was perfected by President Andrew Jackson. Nearly two centuries later, it remains an entrenched political system, one exercised without apology by our Republican-controlled county government.

And while it's not unreasonable for those running the government to appoint folks who share their political views, it is unreasonable and also unacceptable to pack the government with partisans at the expense of taxpayers. For example, the county employs 15 attorneys who work on an as-needed basis. Some of the lawyers, according to county Commissioner Diane Marseglia, "don't do anything."

Still, these part-time attorneys receive a base salary of between $6,000 and $37,268, for a total annual outlay of $235,268 - plus benefits. The plus-benefits part adds another $205,946 to the jackpot, bringing the total bill to $441,829.

That doesn't include the county's full-time lawyer. Yes, the county has a full-time lawyer; yet, the government still farms out legal work to a flock of part-timers. [continued]