Wednesday, January 28, 2015

PA Welfare Chief's Roadtrips

State Welfare Secty Gary Alexander commutes between Harrisburg and Rhode Island: guess who pays?

PA Welfare Chief's Roadtrips

PA Welfare Secretary Gary Alexander is a driven man.

He drives himself to work. He has a long commute. From Rhode Island to Harrisburg, about 700 miles roundtrip.

The online news service PA Independent reports that Alexander, who runs an agency with a budget of $10.5 billion and 16,000 employees, routinely goes back and forth from his home in "The Ocean State" to his job in Harrisburg -- racking up 41,727 miles in a year in state-owned vehicles, more than half of that designated as "commute" travel.

Care to guess who pays for gas?

The news service reports Alexander spent $4,700 in expenses with gas buys in Harrisburg, throughout Pennsylvania and in Rhode Island. It also says the secretary's work schedule is "most often" a four-day week in Harrisburg.

Guess one needs time for all that commuting.

But all that driving allows time for thinking, which maybe explains how Alexander came up with his department's dress codes.

As reported 2011, the secretary requires "professional" attire at work. And just in case employees don't know what that means, he spelled it out in a couple memos.

No sweat suits, flip-flops, mini-skirts, short shorts, halter tops or "swim or beach wear" in warmer weather. Men should don "a suit and tie" while women better not show up for meetings with toes showing. The code calls for women to wear "closed-toed shoes and nylons or tights."

No mention of required attire for long commutes.





John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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