Key lawmaker opposes department consolidation plan

Written by Radio Pennsylvania | Feb 5, 2017 9:14 AM

Photo by AP Photo/Chris Knight

Gov. Tom Wolf, center, delivers his budget address for the 2016-17 fiscal year to a joint session of the Pennsylvania House and Senate, as the speaker of the state House of Representatives, state Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, left, and Lt. Gov. Mike Stack, right, listen at the State Capitol in Harrisburg Pa., Tuesday Feb. 9, 2016.

(Harrisburg) -- A big part of Governor Tom Wolf's budget address this week is expected to be the proposal to consolidate the departments of health, human services, aging and drug and alcohol into one big department called "Health and Human Serivices."

Governor Wolf says it makes sense to consolidate given that the 4 departments in question all handle similar issues and services.

But Republican State Representative Gene DiGirolamo of Bucks County, Chair of the House Human Services Committee and the lawmaker whose legislation created the now-endangered Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs, disagrees with the governor's plan.

"I think this department is working well, I really do.  I think it's the right thing to do, and again I think it was the will of the legislature that created this department," he said.

DiGirolomo said he is worried the plan won't be good for the state's drug addiction problem.

Other Republicans have said they're open to discussing the governor's proposal.

Governor Wolf says the consolidation will save money, even with minimal layoffs, by reducing red tape.

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