Energy - October 12, 2012

Turnpike chief resigned this week

Pennsylvania Turnpike CEO Roger Nutt announced his resignation this week.  Nutt has 28 years of experience in New Jersey transportation agencies and has been with the turnpike since March 2011.  Nutt, who is 72, cited health concerns and treatment for heart problems for his departure.  Nutt stated that for his long-term health it was best that he resign his post. During his time with there, construction increased, tolls jumped in price, the debt load increased, and there has been a campaign to drive users towards E-ZPass.

Nutt had his share of critics, including Representative Peter Daley, who called for his resignation in September because of the growing turnpike debt load.  Rep. Daley also called for the resignation of COO Craig Shuey at the time.  Shuey will serve as interim CEO until his successor is named.  The turnpike has been plagued with issues in recent years, including a grand jury investigation that has been ongoing since 2009. Employment and procurement practices, as well as using state resources for political activities, have been the focus of the investigation.  Nutt’s resignation comes amid other top officials leaving their posts.  Just last week Park Director John Norbeck resigned, saying he was forced out of his job; he then received a two week extension.  A spokesperson for the Governor’s office said that Norbeck’s departure was a personnel decision and unrealted to drilling on state park lands but there is no such indication of contraversey for Nutt's resignation.

Voter ID still a source of confusion

Last week, Judge Robert Simpson upheld the Voter ID law but suspended it going into effect for next month’s election. A trial will be held a later time to make a final decision.  Since then, there has been some confusion over whether or not citizens will be required to show their ID at the polls.  There have been reports of old signage at PennDOT centers instructing citizens on what type of ID they need and that they will be required to present ID when voting.  Those signs were to be removed after last week’s ruling.  Voters will not be required to present identification if asked next month and in order to continue to combat the confusion, new radio and television ads have been launched.  First time voters and those changing polling places will be required to present identification, though not necessarily photo identification.