Rarely does LebTown publish editorials.

It’s not our job to tell you what to think. We’re here to collect the facts.

When our ability to collect the facts is impeded, we will let you know that. Now is one of those times.

Governor Tom Wolf, please instruct the Department of Community and Economic Development to immediately release the internal rubric or other guidance being used to evaluate waiver requests and the full list of companies that have been granted waivers.

This is necessary because today the public is reading reporting about companies with questionable “life-sustaining” merit receiving waivers, but without context on how the process works or who is keeping decision-makers accountable. Such reporting will only stoke economic anxiety and skepticism about the official response.

All we know today is that the following contextual questions are asked of supplicants:

  • How does it meet life-sustaining definition?
  • Does the business have a plan to meet CDC recommended guidelines to maintain employee safety during the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • How many employees would be in the company’s office or physical location in order to do the critical work?

We want to know… What internal guidance is provided to DCED staff to assess answers to these questions? Are the answers scored and waivers granted that way? Or is it more of an arbitrary/binary reviewal process?

Furthermore, what basis is there for withholding the list of waived businesses or their individual responses? None of the questions above would reveal truly proprietary or strategic information.

Given more planning time, it’s possible that a council or board may have been created in a bipartisan manner to serve as the public’s watchdog to this process. But given the lack of such a committee, it is imperative that Governor Wolf act immediately to increase transparency for the statewide COVID-19 waiver process.

Read all of LebTown’s COVID-19 coverage here.

Access LebTown’s comprehensive COVID-19 resource guide here.

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