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Sacrificial lambs

Published December 22. 2012 09:02AM

Dear Editor:

I am a 20 year employee of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and an employee of the Pa. Lottery, and I am going to speak on behalf of 230 employees of the Pa. Lottery. Back in March 2012, we were informed by our Executive Director Todd Rucci that the Commonwealth was looking into the "privatization" of the lottery. In mid-November, we were informed that the Commonwealth was going to continue with the next step in "the process," only to read later in an email that day the Commonwealth only intents to retain 70 of the 230 employees. The remainder of the employees would have an opportunity with the NON-AMERICAN company, Camelot, which means my 20 years of service with the Commonwealth (speaking for myself) would be no longer.

As of Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2012, the Commonwealth has received one bid, with the other two being forced out because of ridiculous demands of the Commonwealth. The bidder, Camelot, a NON-AMERICAN, will receive a 20-year contract to anticipate bringing higher revenue which in turn the proceeds will benefit senior citizens. Why would the Commonwealth pay a NON-AMERICAN company to perform the same service that AMERICAN PENNSYLVANIANS are performing. The AMERICAN employees have set records sales each and every year with an operating cost of 2.3 percent or less.

This NON-AMERICAN company intends on meeting its goals in bringing in Keno and online gambling. Well guess what ... the AMERICAN employees of the lottery can do the same thing without paying a NON-AMERICAN company ridiculous amounts of money to do the same thing. Money that can be used to benefit senior citizens. Corbett is saying that because of the growing population in PA., it needs more revenue in the next 20 years, well how many of those seniors will be able to benefit from the lottery proceeds. NOT ONE employee currently in my office will benefit. I am sure you will not benefit from the proceeds also. You have to live at the poverty or below to benefit.

In addition, AFSCME, our union has since the beginning of talks of "privatization" asked the Commonwealth for information on this topic so that they could "protect" their brothers and sisters, but to no avail. Only since the mid-November date did the Commonwealth "formally" inform the union of its intentions. Why all the secretiveness? Obviously, "someone owes someone something."

No hearings, discussions, etc. have been held on this topic. Corbett indicates that he does not need legislation to do this. He is hell bent on getting this done to set an example for all Pennsylvania. Well, fine Mr. Corbett. Put 230 AMERICAN "PENNSYLVANIANS" out of work on the unemployment lines, not to mention, health care benefits, etc. I am sure Corbett, legislators, senators, state representatives, etc. will have no problem collecting these pensions, health care benefits and whatever other perks they are entitled to when they retire.

According to newspaper articles, this contract has to be committed to by both parties, the Commonwealth/Camelot (the NON-AMERICAN company), by December 31, 2012. Something needs to be done to stop this and its up to legislator, senators, state representatives, etc. to do this for the 230 AMERICAN PENNSYLVANIANS employees of the PA Lottery, in addition to employees of other agencies. We will just be the sacrificial lambs if this is allowed!

Angela Plantarich

An AMERICAN employee of thePA Lottery

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