Groups include mix of ideologies, many politically well-connected
December 3, 2010 5:00 AM
Daniel Shanken/Associated Press
Tom Corbett, announces his top transition advisers speaking in the Capitol for the first time as Pennsylvania's governor-elect in Harrisburg.
By Angela Couloumbis and Tracie Mauriello Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG -- Political donors and supporters. CEOs and priests. Tea partiers and even a sprinkling of Democrats.
All are among the 400 people Gov.-elect Tom Corbett has selected to man the 17 groups on his transition team that will examine every state department and help formulate policy, choose key personnel and recommend ways to cut costs.
In releasing the names Tuesday, Mr. Corbett, a Republican who campaigned on a no-tax pledge, said he didn't check voter registration logs when choosing the slate.
"I didn't ask everybody their registration, I really didn't," he said. "That's not a requirement."
"It's a wide spectrum of people," Mr. Corbett added, including many who helped or worked with Gov. Tom Ridge and Gov. Dick Thornburgh's administrations, as well as people who worked with him when he was in private practice as an attorney.
Mr. Corbett, who is to be sworn in Jan. 18, reiterated Tuesday that a top priority will be to present a balanced budget and to resolve the state's projected $4 billion deficit.
University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg was named to a key post on the transition team. Along with Joel Greenberg of the global investment company Susquehanna International Group, Mr. Nordenberg will head the transition team's 32-member education committee.
"The chancellor is honored to have been asked to serve on the governor-elect's transition team. He's looking forward to the opportunity to help explore education issues that are important to the commonwealth," said Pitt spokesman John Fedele.
Mr. Corbett stacked his education team with staunch advocates of charter schools. They include Vahan Gureghian, operator of the state's largest charter school and a campaign contributor who deposited $250,000 into Mr. Corbett's election war chest.
Also on the education team is state Sen. Anthony Williams, D-Philadelphia, who is one of the Legislature's most vocal proponents of school choice.
The Education Committee also includes members from community colleges, conservative think tanks, law firms, the Mt. Lebanon Public Library, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg and the state Board of Education.
Two other Pitt administrators also were named to the transition team. Jerome Cochran, executive vice chancellor and general counsel, will serve on the Budget, Pensions and Revenue Committee, while vice chancellor Everette James will work on the Health and Aging Committee.
The Pittsburgh firm Buchanan, Ingersoll and Rooney also is well-represented on the transition team, with seven executives and investors serving.
Former Allegheny County Executive Jim Roddey was tapped for the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Economic Development Committee.
Parts of the transition team list read like a who's who of the corporate, political and lobbying worlds.
Western Pennsylvanians listed include the following:
• Agriculture Committee -- state Rep. John Maher, R-Upper St. Clair.
• Banking Committee -- Elmer Laslo, president of 1st Summit Bank, Johnstown.
• Budget, Pensions and Revenue -- Bob Wilburn, director of Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College in Washington, D.C.
• Commonwealth Committee -- Mark Hanna, president of Hanna and Associates; Ron Plesco, CEO of National Cyber Forensics & Training Alliance; and Roy Powell of Jones Day law firm.
• Criminal Justice Committee -- Indiana County Jail Warden Carol Hummel.
• Economic Development Committee -- Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce president Barbara McNees, and Randy Seitz, president of Oil Region Alliance in Oil City.
• Education Committee -- Western Pennsylvanians on the committee include Seton Hill University trustee Ruth O'Block Grant; Cynthia Richey of the Mt. Lebanon Library; Slippery Rock University trustee Bob Taylor; and Paul Taylor, executive director of St. Vincent Archabbey.
• Energy & Environment Committee -- Cynthia Carrow, vice president of government and community relations for the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy; and state Sen. Mary Jo White, R-Venango.
• Health & Aging Committee -- Anthony Horbal, owner of Sable Chevrolet.
• Insurance Committee -- State Sen. Don White, R-Indiana.
• Labor & Workforce Development Committee -- Bob Shoop of Thorp, Reed & Armstrong.
• Local Government Committee -- Pittsburgh attorney Ira Weiss, Johnstown Councilman Red Pinizzotto.
• Public Safety Committee -- Mark Camillo, senior vice president of Contemporary Services Corp.
• State Committee -- Beaver County Commissioner Charlie Camp.
• Transportation and Infrastructure Committee -- Mr. Roddey and engineering consultant Jeff Zell of Coraopolis.