Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Will Mann Now Work Full Time for Vitetta?
She's become a lobbyist, effective 2/20/11, with T.J. Rooney's Tri State Strategies, and is likely making more money and working less hours than she did as a State Rep.
I mention this because I wonder whether State Rep. Jenn Mann, who has announced her own retirement from politics, is thinking about something along those lines.
"I've never been known as a person who dodges a question, and never will be," Mann told me over a year ago. But when I asked her to tell us how much money she gets as a consultant for Vitetta, that's exactly what she did. She refused to answer, telling me she has no legal obligation to disclose exact amounts.
Vitetta is no mom-and-pop shop. It's a heavy hitter, both with the state and locally. It has offices in seven different states, and its own webpage reveals involvement in construction projects like the Pennsylvania Judicial Center, Pennsylvania Judicial Center Parking Garage, Pennsylvania Capitol, PennDOT Materials Testing Laboratory and Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission-Service Plaza Reconstruction.
Many of these jobs are awarded by the state's Department of General Services. Until sometime last year, that office was run by Lehigh Valley native and friend James Creedon. He also served with Mann on the Stimulus Oversight Commission. There, they both get a head's up on where the state intends to spend federal stimulus dollars.
In addition to her Creedon ties, Mann actually dated Sean Pressman. He was Chief of Staff in General Services between 2/1/06 and 6/19/09.
Did Vitetta benefit as a result? I'm certain it's one of the reasons they wanted her.
Annual statements of financial interest for the past four years (2010, 2009, 2008 , 2007) reveal that Vitetta has been paying Mann, although the amounts are unstated.
In her defense, Mann did get clearance from the state ethics commission. She was warned against using her official position to solicit business. My concern is that no matter what she says, her elected office in and of itself is a form of pressure.
Mann tells me that precisely because of that "very fair concern," she stays away from all the local governments. "It's just not worth it," she said. She concedes that she may "have reached out to some regional school boards," although she does not make the initial contact.
Gee, how would you like to be an Easton or Bangor school supervisor who gets a call from Vitetta telling you that State Rep. Jennifer Mann would like to talk to you about the engineering firm you hire for your next middle school?
Let's face it. The not-so-subtle pressure of her powerful public office, in and of itself, should rule out this kind of moonlighting job.
Will Mann be working full time for Vitetta now?
Updated 11/30/11, 10:35 AM: Although the state lists Karen Beyer as a lobbyist for T.J. Rooney, she is actually working for SEIU.