It was with astonishment that I learned of the effort by former Altoona Republican State Senator and Lt. Governor Robert Jubelirer to make a comeback, a return to public life at the age of 77 as he seeks a position as Penn State University trustee.
Jubelirer's bid is the definition of "chutzpah."
The unthinkable occurred in 2006: Jubelirer, an entrenched incumbent who had served since 1975, was voted out of office, the people of his district stung and enraged by his engineering of the smarmy, middle of the night, 2005 legislative pay grab.
As an internet-fueled public revolt was being generated, Jubelirer initially sought to fight repeal of the bill which an equally-unethical Gov. Rendell hastened to sign into law, Jubelirer only coming to proclaim that the chicanery was a "mistake" after it became clear that his favorability ratings were plunging and that continuing to fight for it could derail his re-election chances.
Naturally, Jubelirer was one of the members of the General Assembly who voted for a shameful 2001 pension enhancement which provided a retroactive 50 percent boost to legislators while sweeping rank and file state employees along for 25 percent boosts in order to deflect the spotlight from the legislative avarice.
Paying even more in pension benefits to General Assembly members served to provide a perverse incentive for them to seek lifelong service, precisely what the Founding Fathers warned against.
Jubelirer returned to the practice of law after his stunning rejection by Altoona voters, now supplementing his income with an eye-opening pension of over $90,000 per annum for his 31 years of "public service."
Is a person who has demonstrated a lack of character, integrity and accountability to the people worthy of being placed in a prominent position to chart the future of a once-renowned and cherished state institution that was almost singlehandedly brought down by a notorious serial rapist?
If Robert Jubelirer should again be placed in a position of trust, it will demonstrate that the public has a short memory. If that occurs, I hope that no university cash drawer will be left unattended while he is present.
Upper St. Clair