From Rep. Lavelle’s website:
State Rep. Greg Lavelle (R-Sharpley) has filed a state Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with Gov. Jack Markell seeking more information on the employment of former Dept. of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Sec. Vince Meconi.
Meconi oversaw DHSS in 2007 and 2008, a period during which numerous substantiated allegations of patient abuse at the Delaware Psychiatric Center came to light. The DPC is under the jurisdiction of the DHSS. “Not only did Vince Maconi never acknowledge there was a problem at the hospital – something later investigations conclusively proved – he blocked any action to reform operations and protect its vulnerable patients,” Rep. Lavelle said.
Meconi resigned under a cloud just before Gov. Ruth Ann Minner left office.
During his tenure as state treasurer, Jack Markell publicly expressed concerns about the DPC’s operations and openly questioned whether staffers were telling the truth in one case of alleged mistreatment where a patient’s jaw was broken. However, those concerns didn’t prevent the governor’s hiring of Meconi earlier this year to advise state agencies on the availability of federal stimulus money.
Initially, Meconi’s hiring was to have been for a limited three-month period, but according to reports published today, Meconi is still on the state payroll with no firm expiration date on his job as a consultant. In today’s issue of the News Journal, Markell spokesman Joe Rogalsky is quoted as saying: “We’re constantly re-evaluating the situation. We don’t have a firm deadline.”
The News Journal also reports Meconi is being paid $6,093.75 monthly for his consulting services in addition to $7,633.56 he is receiving each month from his state pension. Combined, Meconi is reaping nearly $165,000 in state money annually – topping the salary he made last year as DHSS secretary by more than $20,000.
“Despite his record of complicity in the repeated failures at the Delaware Psychiatric Center, the governor hired Vince Meconi as a high-paid consultant,” Rep. Lavelle said. “When that hiring was made in March, the governor’s spokesman said it was on ‘a part-time, temporary basis’ that would last three months. We’re well past that and now they’re saying there’s no ‘firm deadline.’”
Today Rep. Lavelle filed a Freedom of Information Act request with Gov. Markell asking for:
• copies of the contract with Vince Meconi;
• any descriptions of Mr. Meconi’s expected duties as a consultant;
• performance measures being used to gauge the effectiveness of Mr. Meconi’s efforts in this role;
• hours he is required to work;
• the vacation policy associated with Mr. Meconi’s consultant position (Mr. Meconi is currently on vacation);
• any other papers and documents related to the hiring and employment of Mr. Meconi in the aforementioned consultant position.
“It defies common sense that we need to pay someone more than $73,000 per year to track stimulus money when we already have the Lt. Governor’s office, our congressional delegation, and the collective staffs of all our state departments overseeing this process,” Rep. Lavelle said. “If we need Mr. Meconi’s services, I think it’s reasonable that taxpayers should know exactly what they’re getting for their money.”