New Castle News

TOP STORIES

August 28, 2013

Kane’s sister gets promotion, raise

HARRISBURG — Ellen Granahan, a deputy attorney general in the state attorney general’s office, had more than just a passing rooting interest in the 2012 campaign to elect her boss — Granahan’s twin sister Kathleen Kane was the Democratic candidate.

Kane, a Lackawanna County Democrat, won and became Pennsylvania’s first female attorney general. And her sister’s boss.

Three months after Kane took office, Granahan was quietly promoted and given a $13,652-a-year raise.

“While AG Kane would never promote Ellen because she is her sister, neither would she discriminate against her on that basis,” said Joe Peters, a spokesman in the attorney general’s office.

Granahan was hired in 2008 by Gov. Tom Corbett, then attorney general.

Granahan is not the only well-connected prosecutor in the office. Corbett’s daughter Katherine Corbett-Gibson is also a deputy attorney general. She was hired by Attorney General Linda Kelly after Corbett took office as governor, said Nils Fredericksen, a spokesman in the governor’s office of general counsel.

“(Granahan) was recently selected to head the Child Predator Unit because she is the most qualified and experienced attorney in terms of child sexual abuse matters,” Peters said. “The CPU is a priority for Attorney General Kane and Ellen shares that passion and commitment.”

Granahan is one of 20 chief deputy attorneys general in the office, each of whom leads a division. Granahan’s pay of $83,423 a year is the lowest of the chief deputies, according to a spreadsheet of salaries provided by the attorney general’s office.

The state office of administration, which provides human resources services for some state agencies, does have a management directive barring state employees from being in situations were a relative directly reports to him or her, said Daniel Egan, an office of administration spokesman.

“That’s the minimum standard,” Egan said. “Some agencies go further and prohibit family members anywhere in the chain of command, direct or indirect.”

The attorney general’s office is independent and not bound by that directive, he said.

Peters said one of the first tasks taken after Kane took office was to sort out potential conflicts of interest and come up with a strategy for dealing with them. In Granahan’s case, the solution was to assign all management of her to first deputy attorney general Adrian King, Peters said. King then decided Granahan should be promoted, he said.

Pennsylvania Ethics Commission executive director Robert Caruso said there is nothing in the state ethics act that would have dealt with the fact that Granahan worked in the office before Kane was elected and became her boss. However, the ethics act might be relevant if there are questions about Kane’s role in determining that Granahan deserved the promotion.

The ethics act states public officials cannot use elected office for personal financial gain for themselves or family members.

The approach taken in the attorney general’s office is the typical manner used to try to shield elected officials from perceived conflicts of interest when relatives are being hired in their offices, Caruso said.

Even so, it is tricky to determine whether the public official is still influencing the hiring decision no matter who makes the actual hire, said Eric Epstein, who leads the government watchdog group Rock the Capital.

“The boss may not be the one who made the promotion but in the back of the mind of person doing the hiring, they know it’s the boss’s relative.”

(Email: jfinnerty@cnhi.com)

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
TOP STORIES
  • Shooting.jpg Detroit area man dies in Ellwood City gunfire

    A triple shooting in an Ellwood City street has claimed the life of a Detroit area man. Gunfire erupted in the middle of Loop Street outside the Walnut Ridge housing project around 10:20 p.m. Sunday, according to state police.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baptism1.jpg Dipped downtown

    John the Baptist identified himself as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ ” On Saturday, local evangelist Randy Crum once again took a cue from the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, eschewing the locusts and honey that John was known to munch on but heading out into the wilds to baptize believers and challenge them to share their faith with their community.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • lamancusa.jpg Tanner, district attorney: No comment

    The Lawrence County District Attorney is keeping mum about a probe into finances in Shenango Township. “We don’t talk about ongoing investigations,” Lamancusa said Friday.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • Shenango1.jpg Shenango Township: Supervisors fire Tanner, release DeLorenzo

    The Shenango supervisors fired township secretary/treasurer Brian Tanner and terminated auditor and consultant Deno DeLorenzo last night.

    July 18, 2014 3 Photos 4 Stories

  • gavel.jpg Shenango to take action on Tanner, DeLorenzo

    Shenango’s supervisors will act Thursday night on the employment contracts of two men being investigated for possible theft of township funds.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • money.jpg Shenango computers, financial papers seized

    Investigators have seized computers and a host of financial paperwork from the Shenango Township Municipal Building.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • money.jpg Second warrant issued in Shenango Township finances probe

    The home office of Shenango Township’s secretary/treasurer is the subject of a search warrant. A warrant was approved allowing investigators from the Lawrence County district attorney’s office to search Brian Tanner’s home office at 658 Melody Lane Extension in Shenango and seize all computers and computer records.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Our Opinion: Who’s watching the money in Shenango Township?

    The Shenango Township supervisors have some explaining to do. And that’s putting it mildly.

    July 15, 2014 1 Story

  • Shenango places Tanner on leave, schedules meeting

    The Shenango Township supervisors have placed their secretary/treasurer on leave. In a statement faxed late Monday afternoon to the New Castle News, the supervisors said Brian Tanner had been placed on “administrative leave” as the result of a search warrant served on the township municipal building Friday.

    July 15, 2014

  • DROWN.jpg Local teen drowns in Slippery Rock Creek

    Divers from several fire departments responded yesterday to a drowning in the Kennedy Mill area of Slippery Rock Creek. Reports from the scene indicated that two teenage males from the Ellwood-Wampum area had gone swimming in the creek, and that one had gone under and not resurfaced.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Poll

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 fell from the sky in Donetsk, Ukraine, on Thursday, killing all 298 people aboard. Many are speculating that Russian rebels (supported by Vladimir Putin) are responsible for downing the aircraft. What do you think?

Yes. All evidence points that way.
No. Everyone is so quick to point fingers, but there's not enough evidence to support claims of Russian guilt.
I'm not sure. I'll just wait until the investigation is over to make up my mind.
What is up with these Malaysian Airlines planes? I know one airline I won't be flying any time soon...
     View Results