Name change again under consideration for Pa. Department of Public Welfare

    A state House committee expects to vote on a plan to change the name of Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare.

    A plan aiming to change the agency’s name never made it past the House Committee on Human Services last session.

    But this time around, more than half of the members on the committee support the measure to give the Department of Public Welfare a makeover and change its name to the Department of Human Services.

    Sen. Bob Mensch is sponsoring identical legislation in the state Senate.

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    He says the department’s current name comes with a negative connotation it doesn’t deserve.

    “You know if you see Department of Transportation, you understand what they do. But we could also call it the Department of Potholes, and then every pothole you see, you blame Transportation, you see?” said Mensch, R-Montgomery. “So let’s broaden the dialogue, let’s broaden the discussion about what the department does.”

    The department’s acting secretary said at a recent budget hearing her only concern with the name-change is the potential expense.

    “If it didn’t cost anything, it would be great and we certainly agree with that,”” said Beth Mackereth. “But to take any dollars away from the consumers is where we’re having a problem.”

    She said her staff hasn’t yet figured out what a name-change would cost the agency.

    But Mensch said the department can keep costs down by implementing a gradual change-over — in other words, using up the last of the stationary and business cards under the old name before ordering new letterhead.

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