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Letter to the Editor
Frank Ryan, I like you, but respectfully disagree with your recent editorial. May I provide insight into a statement made in your editorial to the Lebanon Daily News on July 19?
“It’s well documented that throughout this pandemic, Wolf refused to work with the General Assembly or county governments in developing mitigation and re-opening plans that work best for each county. Instead, he took – and continues to take – a heavy-handed, go-it-alone approach in imposing statewide dictates that treat Lebanon County the same as Philadelphia County.”
In 2012, I served as the president of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, a bipartisan organization. I, along with other past presidents, and the current CCAP Board, both Republicans and Democrats, have been holding Skype meetings each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for months with Governor Wolf, Secretary Levine, and/or other high ranking members of the Governor’s staff, from PEMA…. Commissioners formulate questions and topics for the State to address. Recently, all commissioners from across the State have been invited to participate in briefings on Wednesdays. This past week, we heard from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, more specifically Dr. David Rubin who was quite adept at navigating charts from 500 counties in Pennsylvania and surrounding states. He showed a wave of coronavirus rolling into Allegheny County from Ohio, and another surge coming from New Jersey into the Philadelphia suburbs. The data is compelling. If we do nothing, within six weeks, our hospitals will be overrun with COVID-19 patients.
While I sat in on the 20-minute briefing, and a Task Force call followed, I had to attend a Lebanon County Prison Board meeting. After the Task Force meeting is when Governor Wolf announced more restrictions. The point is, whether we agreed with him or not, we had the opportunity to see the data, and understand the reasoning for the Governor’s decision.
I have to tell you that there is a mutual patience and civility between commissioners and the Governor during our chats. We’ve been building trust both ways.
Since Lebanon County was denied CARES Act funding, putting party aside, commissioner after commissioner from across the state has chimed in on our chats that they support Lebanon County receiving our CARES funding. They’re talking about a letter to the Governor to express their support.
I pray you and our other legislators can find a way to communicate with the Governor too. You’ll find he is civil in his discussions. If we can come together in a positive way, it may yield the desired results for Lebanon County.
Jo Ellen Litz
Lebanon County Commissioner
Jo Ellen Litz is a six-term Lebanon County Commissioner. She also serves as the President of the Swatara Watershed Association.