The swamp is alive and well in Harrisburg with the Gaming Board

March 3 – An appointment to the Pennsylvania State Gaming Board was never reported and uncovered recently and it brought up a whole lot of questions. 

Attorney Clint Barkdoll, Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen discussed this topic during the First News segment, The Big Talk, on 103.7FM today. For background, the Gaming Board in Harrisburg was formed after Pennsylvania legalized gaming. The Governor, Speaker of the House and President of the Senate get to appoint seats.

The salary of a Gaming Board member is $150,000 a year and includes medical benefits and a state pension. A member typically serves six years.

A few years ago, Jeff Coy, former member of the Pa. House of Representatives, rather abruptly left the House and the announcement came shortly after of his appointment to the Gaming Board.

“This board has historically been rife with political plum jobs,” Barkdoll said.

It came out yesterday that the President Pro Tem of the Senate, Jake Corman of York appointed Frances Regan to the Gaming Board. Regan is the wife of Mike Regan, a Senator from York.

The Gaming Board did NOT put out a press release about it. The appointment was only discovered when the list of board members was updated and some people did some digging. 

Likely not surprising at this point, Mike Regan is friends with Jake Corman.

“It looks like this was more or less a favor that Jake Corman did for Regan,” Barkdoll suggested.

The people in question are all Republicans, although there’s been criticism of Democratic appointments over the years, too.

“Schemel and Kauffman and Mastriano should be calling no,” Ryan said.

Jansen asked, “Why is this board paid this much? And remember we’re talking $200,000 when you add in health and pension.”

“What the hell does she (Frances Regan) do?” Ryan demanded.

“Nothing,” Barkdoll replied. “They meet a few times a year. In theory they oversee the jurisdiction or regulation of these casinos. Years ago when this board started, it was laughable. They would take trips to Morocco or Europe because they needed to ‘investigate how other casinos around the world operate.’”

The Pa. House and Senate should make reforms on how this board is appointed and how the appointees come into the radar.

“It’s not right for the taxpayers of the commonwealth,” Barkdoll said. “And it just keeps happening.”

Jansen wondered, “Why not have compensation commiserate with the actual work they do? I don’t think you should have pensions and health care associated with being on a board.”

Jake Corman’s phone number is 717-787-1377, but when a call was made from the radio station, it went to voicemail after a whole lot of ringing.

“There’s so much waste going on here,” Ryan lamented. “All you hear out of the lawmakers is ‘oh, it’s just a little bit here, it’s just a little bit there. It’s just a drop in the bucket.’ Your $60 million court house or your pool here in Chambersburg. Call Jake Corman’s office and tell them to cut that salary down to $20,000 a year. You don’t do anything. I’m tired of all the hand-shaking.”