Friday, January 7, 2011

Treasurer at Odds with Gaming Control Board

Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board have been attributing nefarious motives to each other in their dispute about his right to attend the board’s executive sessions.

Commonwealth Court held in December that the Gaming Act provides that the Treasurer or his designee serves as a non-voting member of the board with the right to attend executive sessions, but McCord says the board is still causing the kind of delays that made him wonder what they’re trying to hide. He says once the state auditor's report came out, he saw that the board did have things to hide: "the conversations were ugly; some decisions, delays and inefficiencies were ugly; and there were secretly negotiated contracts that should not have been agreed to in an executive session."

Greg Fajt, chairman of the Gaming Control Board, says McCord has not been allowed at executive sessions because he won’t sign ethics and confidentiality documents that all the board members have signed and instead of negotiating with the board on a matter that could be resolved easily, McCord would rather hold a press conference and go to court. Fajt says he wonders what McCord is hiding. McCord says he has never refused to sign.

McCord says he has had a designee or staff member at every public board meeting, but Fajt says McCord has only had a representative at about one-third of 34 meetings. Fajt says if McCord were truly interested in the work of the gaming board, he could manage to attend some meetings in person, as did previous treasurers Bob Casey and Barbara Hafer.

The board says no taxpayer money is used in their legal expenses—McCord says the $100,000 legal bill paid by the companies responsible for the board’s administrative fees could fund two full-time jobs at the gaming table.

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