He's back...


Actually, it turns out he never left.

That would be Steve Aichele, Gov. Corbett's former chief of staff. Aichele resigned his $154,000-a-year post in mid-July, after a bruising budget season in which the administration was unsuccessful in scoring any of the three big items on its policy agenda.

At the time, administration officials had said Aichele would remain on until sometime in August, so he could help Corbett's new chief of staff, Leslie Gromis-Baker, transition into the high-stakes, high-stress job.

The administration now says Aichele will remain on as a "special adviser" into October - and possibly longer. And he will continue to earn the same salary he did when he was the governor's right-hand man.

Asked what his duties were, Corbett spokeswoman Lynn Lawson said in an email: "Mr. Aichele has been handling the critical issues facing the Philadelphia school district as well as issues involving the Philadelphia shipyard and the ports. It is important to have continuity on these issues during a transition."

It's not the first time Corbett has allowed a top official in his administration to remain on the payroll after officially resigning. This past Spring, then-Education Secretary Ron Tomalis resigned his cabinet post because of behind-the-scenes tension with some of Corbett's top staffers - Aichele among them.

The governor has kept Tomalis on as a special adviser on higher education issues - and at the same cost to the taxpayers. In his new position, Tomalis draws the same $149,804 salary he earned as secretary of education.

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