Meadville Tribune

April 13, 2014

McCord outsourcing ‘scandal’ reminds me of Y2K fears

By Jane Smith
Meadville Tribune

— With only seven weeks to go until the May primary election, the campaigns are expected to get a lot hotter and more negative.

In the race for the Democratic nomination for governor, things got heated at a recent debate. Candidate Allyson Schwartz took issue with a loan Tom Wolf, former secretary of revenue, who also is seeking the nomination, took out to help fund his campaign. And state Treasurer Rob McCord is taking heat for outsourcing of jobs to India that was done in the 1990s by an organization he headed.

McCord said some of the outsourcing was to India and was related to the fear of Y2K when many people feared computers would crash when the year rolled over to 2000.

That brought back memories of New Year’s Eve of 2000 when the courthouse assembly room was full of officials — waiting to see what impact the rollover may have on the county computers — as well as those of the emergency services throughout the county.

Steve Watt, head of the county’s Office of Emergency Services, headed the committee and was relieved when nothing happened. It was just another New Year’s Eve. I recall he was convinced there would be no problems when computers in other parts of the world — which were in a different time zone — had no problems. Watt was watching television closely as the New Year arrived in those time zones and the only activity was those celebrating the new year — and new millennium — sooner than it did in the U.S.

While a lot of time and money had been spent to guard against a catastrophe, the county was ready — just in case.

At any rate, it certainly sounds like the outsourcing may be a political issue in the next few weeks.


Although there is a contested race for the Republican nomination for governor, the challenger to incumbent Tom Corbett, Bob Guzzardi, didn’t raise much money for his campaign in the first reporting period.


While some candidates are campaigning for governor, other Democrats are already voicing criticism against Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey. Joe Sestak, a former candidate for U.S. senator, and Montgomery County Commissioner Jack Shaprio attacked Toomey last week on an issue regarding pay for women.

Talking about women, some reports are that state Attorney General Kathleen Kane may consider a run for U.S. Senate.

Of course, that race is two years away, so nobody is saying for certain — except Sestak is campaigning as if he is going to be a candidate.


While Crawford County Democratic Committee Vice Chairman Pat Donahue is busy escorting candidates to various functions, he took time off to welcome his newest grandchild, Rosalyn Sky Bradshaw, courtesy of his daughter, Meggan and her husband, Adam.

Donahue had a wide grin on his face as he spoke about the family’s newest addition.


Sleeping habits of some elected officials often come out during public discussion. Such was the case at a recent Linesville Borough Council meeting during discussions about what time to hold a committee meeting.

“After 10 (a.m.) so I can sleep in,” laughed council president Mike Heaney.


It’s no secret that public officials often have meetings at different hours of the day — from early morning to late at night. Over the past couple of decades, I have seen meetings changed to accommodate the public as officials switched once in a while from day time meetings to nighttime meetings.

Usually, unless some major situation is being considered, it doesn’t matter what time the meetings are: Very few people show up.

That, however, can be taken two ways. First, it could mean nobody is interested. But, on the other hand, it could mean that the people who were elected are trusted to do the job without the residents watching over them.

Jane Smith is a retired Meadville Tribune reporter who specialized in covering government and politics.