Firing is not the answer
After giving away all of the team's talent, owners of the Houston Astros recently fired manager Brad Mills, under whose direction the depleted team had compiled a dismal 39-82 record.
Firing the manager, even when a team's problems are not necessarily his fault, is a time-honored tradition in baseball. Fans demand that the team do something, so the manager goes even as the team usually continues to lose.
In that spirit, state Rep. Peter Daley, a Washington County Democrat, called this week for the resignations of the two top officials of the Pennsylvania Turnpike - Roger Nutt, chief executive officer; and Craig Shuey, chief operating officer - because the agency's debt rapidly is rising, having recently passed the $7 billion mark.
The problem, however, is that Mr. Daley himself voted for ill-considered legislation that directly is responsible for the rising turnpike debt.
Back in 2007, Mr. Daley was part of a broad majority in both houses that passed Act 44, a bewildering piece of business. It required the commission to borrow vast sums and pay PennDOT $450 million each year for highway projects. The money was supposed to be repaid by higher tolls on the turnpike and by new tolls on Interstate 80.
The kicker is that the I-80 tolls could not be imposed without federal regulatory approval. The Legislature proceeded with the funding plan even though the Federal Highway Administration rejected the I-80 toll scheme three different times.
According to the state auditor general's office, the Turnpike Commission's total debt has increased from $2.6 billion to $7.3 billion since the law was passed in 2007.
Mr. Daley argues that management problems existed at the commission before 2007. True enough. But, remarkably, Mr. Daley and his colleagues voted to make the problem worse rather than to correct it.
No word yet on whether Mr. Daley and the rest of the legislative front office plan to resign for their role in the ongoing fiasco.