One more smooth hand-off in Pa. politics | Opinion

Pennsylvania state Treasurer Stacy Garrity, a Bradford County Republican, holds up a challenge coin made for her inauguration while delivering her first address on Jan. 19, 2021 in Harrisburg. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

By Erik Arneson

It was gracious of Capital-Star contributor Benjamin Pontz to mention me in his recent column (“Handoffs at Auditor General, Office of Open Records, showed government at its best”), and I appreciate the kind words. The transition from me to Liz Gerloff Wagenseller at the OOR has been terrific, and I’m excited to see the ways in which she will improve the office.

And everything Pontz wrote about the transition to new Auditor General Tim DeFoor from former Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is true. Both have exemplified class and dignity.

However, he missed one key transition that deserves to be mentioned in the same category: As she took office, new Treasurer Stacy Garrity reached out to former Treasurer Joe Torsella for advice and insight, and he was very generous with both.

Here’s what Garrity said about her predecessor after he participated in her inauguration by video:

“Joe has risen above politics in the days since November 3 and helped ensure a smooth transition. That generosity of spirit marks him as an outstanding man, and a great Pennsylvanian.”

Of course, I now work for Garrity and I recognize that some may be skeptical of what I’m saying. But actions speak louder than words — and Garrity has kept a significant number of Torsella’s highest-ranking staffers on board, including his chief of staff, chief counsel, director of legislative affairs, and several deputy treasurers.

Garrity understands the value of putting together a great team of diverse backgrounds, and I’m proud to be part of that team.

Erik Arneson, the former chief of the state Office of Open Records, is a senior aide to new state Treasurer Stacy Garrity. He writes from Harrisburg.