For years, Election Day has been a holiday for employees of Bucks County government.
The reason isn't so they can vote. It's so the Republican-controlled county can put its machine to work electing or re-electing more Republicans.
That's the charge by the Democratic candidates for Bucks County commissioner.
Diane Marseglia and Det Ansinn joined the four other Democratic candidates for county row offices Tuesday in front of the Bucks County Courthouse. They pledged to get county employees back to work on Election Day as a means of stopping what they called the political corruption that years of Republican-controlled county government has wrought.
Along with the rest of the 2011 Democratic slate, Marseglia and Ansinn signed a pledge to:
- Refrain from any political activity in all official duties.
- Prohibit political activity from the workplace.
- Require that all employees who come forward with concerns of improper behavior by others are protected from negative consequences for reporting such behavior.
- Prohibit the use of county property for political use.
Their condemnations come nearly a week after Candace Quinn, a former administrator in the county's Registrar of Wills office, pled guilty to political corruption-related charges, including theft.
In March, longstanding Registrar of Wills Barbara Reilly and three of her employees were arrested after a lengthy corruption probe, charged with forcing county employees to perform political work and compensating them with illegal time off.
Later Tuesday, a campaign spokesman for Republican commissioners Charles Martin and Robert Loughery said neither the party nor the commissioners were backing Reilly.
"The Barbara Reilly issue is something that bothers everybody," said Skip Goodnoe. "But there are 2,600 people in the courthouse, and only four of them are accused of this. And it was a Republican Controller and Republican District Attorney who prosecuted them.
"Aside from that, what’s the Democrats campaign? Nothing."
Besides Ansinn and Marseglia, the 2011 Democratic slate includes Donna Caracappa, for Registrar of Wills, Mary Whitesell, for Clerk of Courts, Tom Kearns, for County Treasurer, and Umar Farooq, for Coroner.
Marseglia was first elected to the Bucks County Commissioners board in 2007. She lives in Middletown. Ansinn, who lives in Doylestown, is president of Doylestown Borough Council.
Martin was first appointed to the board in 1995, and has served ever since. He lives in Upper Southampton. Loughery was appointed in February to fill the term of Jim Cawley, who became Lieutenant Governor. He lives in Bedminster.
In the November election, the three top vote-getters will win seats on the board.