Wagner: Defender of Taco Tuesday

As Capitol cafeteria employees continue to stamp out the eatery’s “severe” rodent infestation, Auditor General Jack Wagner is pointing out he’s been calling for increased inspections there for years.

The last Agriculture Department cafeteria inspection before this month’s visit took place in 2005. In a Christmas Eve press release, Wagner’s office said that checkup was a “direct result” of a 2005 audit calling out lax inspection policies.

That audit, which took a look at restaurant inspections across the state, devoted several pages to the lack of inspections at state Capitol facilities. At the time, the cafeteria hadn’t been looked at since 2000. Wagner determined that was a result of turf confusion — Department of Agriculture, City of Harrisburg, Department of General Services and Department of Labor and Industry officials all thought one of the other agencies was responsible for oversight.

The audit found that, “when state agencies hide behind their own bureaucracies as these agencies did, nothing gets done until someone steps up to take responsibility.  Accordingly, this finding in particular shows why it is so critical for one state agency to vest itself with coordinating the licensing and inspection procedures and inspection results statewide. As we stated in the previous finding, this authority should be assumed by the Department of Agriculture.”

Agriculture spokesman Justin Fleming tells the AP the 05-09 lapse was “‘an unfortunate oversight’ while the agency worked to correct problems cited in Wagner’s audit.”

About pubradiopolitics
Scott covers state government and politics for Pennsylvania's public radio stations, including WITF in Harrisburg, WHYY in Philadelphia and WDUQ in Pittsburgh.

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