– Following legal action taken in Commonwealth Court to prevent Gov. Tom Wolf’s unilateral closure of the Public Employee Retirement Commission (PERC), an agreement signed Tuesday temporarily restores the independence of the watchdog agency, said Reps. Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland) and Seth Grove (R-York), who filed the suit on behalf of Pennsylvania taxpayers.
“PERC, Pennsylvania’s independent pension watchdog, is back, and that’s very good news for taxpayers,” said Bloom and Grove. “It’s important for the people of Pennsylvania to have the guarantee of an independent, impartial review of any changes to our public pension systems, and today’s agreed-upon restoration of PERC sets the stage for urgently needed pension reform legislation to move forward.”
The Wolf administration abruptly moved to reassign the statutory functions of PERC to the governor’s Office of the Budget and cease PERC operations and employment in a Feb. 3 letter to PERC Chairman John Durbin. The lawmakers filed legal action against the governor in Commonwealth Court on Feb. 12.
The agreement means that until a final decision is made by the court on the Bloom-Grove lawsuit, PERC employees will again be independent of the Wolf administration’s direction. And the agency is again authorized to perform all of its duties independently, which includes providing review and actuarial analysis for proposed pension reform legislation before the General Assembly.
“We felt compelled to take legal action to protect the fundamental constitutional principle of separation of powers. Gov. Wolf does not have the authority to dissolve the operations of a statutorily created watchdog agency and then begin to subjectively dictating its responsibilities,” Bloom and Grove added. “With these actions, PERC operations will ensure that over $250 million of statewide municipal pension aid will be paid on time.”
An electronic copy of the latest legal document is attached and available here
Representative Stephen Bloom
Media Contact: Abbey Haslam
Representative Seth Grove
Media Contact: Eric Reath