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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Reporter Chris Papst's new book on Harrisburg financial woes

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jun 17, 2015 9:15 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Wednesday, June 17, 2015:

Just a few years ago, the city of Harrisburg was making history and not the kind city government leaders or residents wanted.

Harrisburg had accumulated more than $300 million in debt.  Most of it came as the result of a botched upgrade of the city's trash-burning incinerator.  The financial workings of the incinerator project have come under scrutiny as well.

The state declared Harrisburg a distressed city, appointed a recovery officer, and eventually took over the city.  

In the meantime, the City Council attempted to file for bankruptcy.

Chris Papst was a reporter at WHP CBS 21 at the time.  In his new book, Capital Murder -- An Investigative Reporter's Hunt for Answers in a Collapsing City, Papst chronicles the wheeling and dealing, a city government that borders on dysfunctional, the personality clashes, politics, and the roles of Harrisburg's last two mayors -- Stephen Reed and Linda Thompson.

Harrisburg has made a recovery but everyone was reminded that the final history hasn't been written when former Mayor Reed's home was searched by agents of the Pennsylvania Attorney General two weeks ago.

Chris Papst appears on Wednesday's Smart Talk.

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Chris Papst on Smart Talk with his new book, Capital Murder -- An Investigative Reporter's Hunt for Answers in a Collapsing City, Papst chronicles the wheeling and dealing, a city government that borders on dysfunctional

 

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  • jjones img 2015-06-17 09:44

    I sure hope this man writes better than he speaks, i.e. why not say "there ARE lots of..." instead of "there's lots...?" Really...

  • ctb img 2015-06-17 10:00

    I am interested in why there was not a performance bond required from the company that worked on the incinerator and failed to perform what they were payed for. Wasn't this where the major debt came from.
    Whoever signed that contract should be responsible and incarcerated

  • Chris Papst img 2015-06-17 17:32

    ctb: The performance bond was required by the state for the city to obtain to issue the debt. You are correct, the debt was accrued because the original contractor went bankrupct and did not complete the work. That is why the state mandates performance bonds, which the incinerator project did not have. The question is why is was allowed to move forward.