Wagner: State agency plagued with accountability issues needs a reformer, not status quo defender, as its leader

HARRISBURG – The Senate Labor and Industry Committee held a hearing on Tuesday morning to consider the nomination of Gerald Oleksiak to serve as the next Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

Senator Scott Wagner (R-York), a member of the committee, questioned the reform capability of Oleksiak during the Q&A period.

“I have serious concerns about handing over a state agency that has been plagued with more questions than answers to someone who has built a career in defending the status quo,” Wagner said of the nominee, who previously led the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA). “Mr. Oleksiak may not have caused the mess left by Secretary Manderino, but I do not see anything in his background that gives me confidence that he can deliver solutions to right the ship that has gone way off course.”

You can listen to the back-and-forth discussion here.

Wagner joined Senators Rich Alloway, John DiSanto, Wayne Langerholc, Scott Martin, Mike Regan, Guy Reschenthaler, Joe Scarnati and Don White in calling into question Governor Wolf’s nominee in a joint op-ed last year. The senators wrote, “At PSEA, Oleksiak strongly opposed commonsense public pension reform and advocated in favor of Wolf’s proposals to increase taxes on Pennsylvania families and businesses.”

Senator Wagner, center, questions Gerald Oleksiak, Governor Wolf’s nominee to serve as the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Industry, during a Senate Labor and Industry Committee meeting at the state Capitol.