One would expect a State Auditor General to be someone who takes a close look at how every dollar of public money is spent. I believe the current holder of that post, Jack Wagner, has fulfilled his role. General Wagner is barred from seeking a third term by the State Constitution, thus the position is up for grabs this year.
In determining whether an individual is a viable candidate for a position of such weighty responsibility, it is important to look at their records. The record of presumptive winner, State Rep. John Maher, is long and it is telling.
In 2001, Maher voted to pad state legislator pensions by 50 percent and that of rank-and-file state workers and public school teachers by 25 percent. He defends his actions today by asserting that the pension funds were in surplus at that time and that no one could have foreseen the economic collapse to come later that year. I wonder if Maher ever provided a 50 percent pension boost to the employees of the prosperous accounting firm he founded, Maher Duessel, when flush with money. I suspect not. I would add that a preposterous 50 percent boost in legislative pensions provided even more incentive for the members to serve for life. Not only is this in contravention to the wishes of the Founding Fathers, but we see where lifelong service has gotten us as some of the members with the greatest longevity are currently imprisoned for public corruption schemes.
In 2005, Maher voted for the infamous middle-of-the-night legislative pay grab, this after a House Speaker of his own party had assured the public that such heists would not be necessary after automatic cost of living salary boosts were implemented in the 1990s. Maher's justification for this secretive slap at the people was that it was necessary to boost the pay of judges who were dragged along in this bill. Maher joined all but one of his fellow House members in repealing the pay grab after a grassroots public uprising. In his primary election campaign for Auditor General, he had the gall to disingenuously boast of voting for repeal while omitting the "small detail" that he voted for the raise originally.
Despite assertions of fiscal conservatism and running a tight ship with his legislative expenses, Maher somehow managed to come in sixth in expense reimbursement requests for 2011 out of 203 House members, dinging the taxpayers for $25,192. (The largest reimbursement amount claimed by any member of the State Senate for 2011 was $16,842).
I know first-hand that John Maher is a brilliant, highly-educated, talented and articulate man with the unique qualification of being the only Certified Public Accountant in the General Assembly. He has not used his extraordinary abilities for the good of the people. Maher's opponent, York attorney and State House Member Eugene DePasquale, a good and honorable man, and a man of the people, shall
receive my vote.