Monday, March 23, 2009

Rendell Dismisses Turnpike Chair

Governor Ed Rendell has nominated a Philadelphia lawyer to replace the fired Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Chairman Mitchell Rubin. Michael Pratt, a native of Fayette County, is a partner in the Pepper Hamilton law firm. He served as a deputy city solicitor for Philadelphia. Pratt's nomination needs approval from the state Senate. The governor fired Rubin yesterday for allegations that emerged during former state Senator Vince Fumo's corruption trial.
In a letter made public by the Rendell Administration, the governor told Rubin the decision has a lot to do with the jury's "guilty" verdict on charges that Rubin's company never did any work on a 150-thousand dollar state contract.
Rendell spokesman Chuck Ardo says the governor spent the weekend reviewing court transcripts and consulting with legal advisers.

"They determined between those two that it was both prudent and legal to remove Mitch Rubin from the Turnpike Commission."

Republican State Senator Rob Wonderling, who chairs the Transportation Committee, says Rendell made the right decision.
He expects a new Commissioner will be named soon.

"I believe it's imminent. I spoke to the governor's office this morning, and I think a name will be forthcoming very shortly."

Wonderling says he'll work with the Administration to plan confirmation hearings for the new nominee.
Last week a federal jury convicted Fumo on all 137 counts and convicted Rubin's wife, Ruth Arnao, a longtime Fumo aide, of all 45 counts against her.

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