Controversial PennDOT unit scales back

    A special report issued by the Grand Jury in May detailed how 34 legislative staffers and 35 PennDOT workers spend all their time processing vehicle registration, license renewals and other paperwork for constituents. Now, a compromise has been reached.

    A legislative office blasted by the Harrisburg Grand Jury investigating corruption at the state Capitol is being scaled back.

    A special report issued by the Grand Jury in May detailed how 34 legislative staffers and 35 PennDOT workers spend all their time processing vehicle registration, license renewals and other paperwork for constituents.

    The jurors argued lawmakers only filed the paperwork to score points with voters.

    Governor Rendell immediately moved to shut down the PennDOT office, but the practice remained in-tact, after House Speaker Keith McCall defended it as a valuable constituent service.

    Now, a compromise has been reached.

    PennDOT will still accept individual constituents’ paperwork from lawmakers’ offices, but as McCall’s Chief of Staff Paul Parsells explains, legislators will not pass along documents from car dealerships or other businesses that already charge fees to their customers.

    “They estimated it to be approximately 60 percent of the work. And after we evaluated the work we think that might be in the right ballpark. It was a significant amount of work, and it’s work we really didn’t need to be doing.”

    The PennDOT workers will be reassigned to other departments, but Parsells says the legislative processing offices will stay open.

    Transportation Secretary Allen Biehler says the change will save a million dollars a year.

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