As released by Harrisburg City Council Majority on June 11, 2012. To see the op-ed being responded to, click here.
UNKOVIC ONCE AGAIN ALLEGES CORRUPTION: Governor Corbett’s Interest in Public Corruption Seems to be Only for Political Gain
HARRISBURG: Former receiver David Unkovic once again made allegations of deep rooted corruption in Harrisburg’s governance in his opinion piece in Sunday’s Patriot-News and, with so doing, confirmed the majority of City Council’s long held belief that bankruptcy is Harrisburg’s best recourse. It is the only avenue to getting answers under oath to important questions about who knew what and when as well as who did what and why. The city can’t go forward with a responsible fiscal recovery until we know how we got into our fiscal mess in the first place. Governor Corbett’s failure to support his own appointee’s call for an investigation makes it appear as though he is only interested in public corruption if it provides the Governor with political gain.
The multiple financial transactions at the heart of this crisis are complicated by their very nature. When you add the refusal of key players to provide essential information and documentation to auditors you can’t possibly have a complete picture of what happened. Without that history, holding those actively and passively responsible for the financial debacle is impossible. The elected and appointed officials, their cronies and advisors will have successfully avoided being identified and will be free to act in the same manner in the future.
We’ve been consistent in our call for a global solution to Harrisburg’s fiscal crisis as the only way to fulfill the promise of a brighter future for the City. The multitude of financial challenges facing the city can only be addressed as a whole. Anything less simply kicks the can down the road again and doesn’t lead to a realistic and sustainable path to recovery. There is no way to put the city’s fiscal house in order if we cherry pick the issues we’re willing to address and leave the rest to fester. It is only through the bankruptcy process and the legal authority to get to the bottom of things that such a solution can be crafted.
Additionally, the recovery plan written by DCED and supported by Mayor Thompson calls for raising taxes on Harrisburg wage earners without asking those that work in the city or live in Dauphin County to share in the cost. Other Pennsylvania municipalities have been granted a more regional approach to solving their financial problems and Harrisburg deserves the same latitude. We believe the court will grant us the needed relief.
If the process proceeds on its current course the city will be forced to liquidate assets and raise taxes on low income residents to pay a bill that could be significantly lowered or more widely shared through bankruptcy. In the end, those alleged to have been involved with the corruption will be rewarded legally and financially. The citizens of Harrisburg deserve a better fate.