Friday, March 27, 2009

PA: Delta Development Group Dismissed by House Dems Caucus

Very interesting. Wonder what would happen if attention came out Fayette's way to the recent hiring of the same consultant group to handle 'grant-writing' and lobbying for the county?

Grant consultant hired for Fayette
By Liz Zemba
Friday, January 30, 2009

Fayette County commissioners will spend thousands of dollars each month on a consultant to seek state and federal grants.

Commissioners Vincent Zapotosky and Vincent Vicites on Thursday voted in favor of hiring Delta Group of Mechanicsburg to prepare grant paperwork on behalf of the county and push it through the appropriate state and federal agencies...

...The firm listed a monthly fee of $9,500 in its proposal, but Zapotosky said the county will try to negotiate a lower fee.

Vicites and Zapotosky said they anticipate the amount of money the firm will secure in grants will more than cover its monthly fees. They said other counties that use similar agencies have reported successfully landing millions of dollars in grants for projects that include improvements to airports, transportation and recreation.

Vicites said money to pay the firm is available by transferring a portion of $155,000 from a 2000 bond issue into the tax-assessment office's budget. The bond money can only be used for reassessment purposes, he said.

The transfer would eliminate the need to use money from the general fund for reassessment purposes. That general-fund money, Vicites said, could then be used to pay Delta Group.

The two commissioners said timing is critical with the hire, especially as the Obama administration seeks Senate approval of its $819 billion economic stimulus package. The U.S. House of Representatives approved the measure on Wednesday. The Senate will consider it next week.

Vicites and Zapotosky said they believe Delta Group will ensure the county is at the head of the line when grants for various infrastructure programs become available through the stimulus package...

Fee per month is almost $10,000, and recently, the same two commissioners who hired the consultants to seek stimulus money from Federal government travelled to Washington DC to make the rounds to request bundles for Fayette, mainly transportation projects.

Plus, the county has a transportation guru, also a consultant, who's paid annually at a fairly hefty salary.

Net the Truth Online

via grassrootspa link

House Dems abruptly cancel deal with consultant Delta Development

HARRISBURG — The House Democratic Caucus on Thursday canceled its contract with a consulting firm, fewer than 24 hours after the release of a stinging report by a statewide grand jury.

Delta Development, an economic development consultant and lobbying firm based in Mechanicsburg, received $1 million from a Beaver County nonprofit agency controlled by former state Rep. Mike Veon, D-Beaver Falls, for doing "little or no work," the grand jury said in a report issued Wednesday.

"After seeing the details of the grand jury report, we have terminated our contract with Delta Development effective immediately," said House Majority Leader Todd Eachus, D-Luzerne County.

Delta, a large contributor to Democrats' campaigns, hired Veon's brother Mark for $160,000 a year, the grand jury said. For years, Delta has had a separate contract with the House Democratic Caucus for $360,000 to $450,000 a year, records show. The firm helped prepare grant applications and find grant opportunities, a caucus spokesman said.

Delta officials did not respond to numerous requests for comment.

The firm lobbies lawmakers and has a broad range of clients...

...Mike Manzo, former chief of staff to DeWeese, has told the grand jury that Delta received contracts because it is "a very good Democratic contributor." Delta wasn't needed because the House had staff to do the work, said Manzo, who has agreed to plead guilty in the bonus scandal...

Commissioners pitch critical projects By Mary Pickels
TRIBUNE-REVIEW Sunday, March 15, 2009

Fayette County Commissioners Vincent Vicites and Vince Zapatosky this week met with Sen. Robert Casey, congressmen John Murtha and Bill Shuster and Sen. Arlen Specter in Washington, where the two pitched nearly $15 million worth of regional priority projects.

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