by Damon Boughamer
Public Radio Capitol News, serving Pennsylvania
Harrisburg, Penna. (PRCN, 25 April 2007) -- Governor Rendell has withdrawn the re-nominations of two members of his cabinet, pending a review of their ethics.
He insists they've done nothing wrong and says he only agreed to this course of action because it can happen relatively quickly.
At the center of the sudden controversy are Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen McGinty and Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Michael DiBerardinis.
It's been disclosed that their agencies funded programs linked in different -- and Rendell says, very minor -- ways to their spouses.
The governor said he has asked the state Ethics Commission for an expedited opinion on the issues and expects to have it next Friday.
"Let me stress that Secretary McGinty and Secretary DiBerardinis both were ready to have the vote cast today. I prevailed upon them, in the name of trying to keep some form of working relationship, to allow this compromise to go forward. They reluctantly agreed," Rendell said.
Governor Rendell said he has resubmitted both names for Senate approval, and Senate leaders said they expected to be able to vote on the matter by May 8.
Rendell said if the Senate votes them down, McGinty and DiBerardinis will stay on as acting secretaries anyway.