“Friends and family time is over,” said one GOP operative. “It’s time for some professionals who can get the Governor more directly engaged in his own legislative agenda.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Thursday that Bill Ward, a long-time Corbett aide, plans to resign from his position as chief of staff. The Inquirer’s report was based on statements made by a high-level administration official who asked to remain anonymous.
Update: It’s official, Ward is out. Corbett will nominate him for a vacancy on the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas, and replace him with his general counsel, Steven Aichele. But as Capitolwire reports, his administration will become effective only if Corbett allows it. Staff has limited ability to independently affect change.
The news comes amid growing calls by Republicans in the state for Corbett to make changes in his staff. In the report from the Inquirer, four anonymous sources said Corbett plans to meet with high-level Republican officials in order to discuss potential staff adjustments.
According to another report from the Inquirer, Republicans have, according to an anonymous GOP operative, begun fearing that “[Corbett will] be a one-term governor.”
More changes could be forthcoming.
Citing Corbett’s inability to form a working relationship with the Republican-led state legislature, the sources said the Republican officials plan to meet with the governor and encourage him to rearrange top-level aides.
PoliticsPA spoke with nearly a dozen Republican party operatives, officials and consultants, each of whom asked to remain anonymous in order to maintain ties with the Governor. Most of them celebrated.
“The lack of leadership from the Governor’s office has been an ongoing problem for the party,” one operative said. “I think we’re all hopeful that new leadership leads to success for the Governor and the party.”
Some of Corbett’s aides have been retained from his days as Pennsylvania Attorney General, a role that is less politically challenging than Governor.
Others are waiting to count their chickens to see which changes the Governor makes and who he brings on.
Said another Republican, “The governor gets it, and he’s delivering on campaign promises. He’s just not selling it. A cloak and dagger operation works for the CIA. Within an administration, it’s a slow-growth cancer.”