Centre official not funny

One politician’s loss is apparently another one’s gain – but he shouldn’t rub it in.

During a tour of the new $200 million State Correctional Institution at Benner Township on Monday, state Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre, welcomed corrections officers from the Greensburg and Cresson prisons.

And he attempted to add some levity to the moment by saying, “We do have homes for sale [in the State College and Centre County areas].”

Some people laughed and applauded, but we don’t think Benninghoff is quite ready for stand-up comedy.

While 85 percent of those employed at state prisons in Cresson and Greensburg have been relocated throughout the Corrections Department, many are facing long commutes of an hour or more.

Driving to and from Carrolltown and other Cambria County communities to Bellefonte isn’t easy – or cheap, especially these days with the high cost of gasoline – and we’re sure Benninghoff, a regular Red Skelton, knows that mileage compensation is not included with those fortunate enough to land new assignments.

Plus real-estate value in State College is much higher than it is in Cresson.

When Cresson and Greensburg facilities were suddenly closed without warning to affected employees in December, state legislators in those districts such as Rep. Gary Haluska, D-Patton, and Sen. John Wozniak, D-Cambria, were blindsided and outraged. We can’t imagine they think Benninghoff is terribly funny, either.

The wounds from Gov. Tom Corbett’s decisions will remain open in this region for a long time, and while Haluska and Wozniak held public hearings in Cresson, Benninghoff was obviously sensing how his district could benefit.

We understand that.

But we also believe one of our neighboring legislators – a veteran representative, no less – ought to be more sensitive to a fellow community’s misfortune.