Girard-diCarlo and Dworetzky nominated to SRC
by Paul Socolar on Aug 27 2009 Posted in Latest news
[Updated 4:45 pm] Gov. Rendell announced this afternoon that he plans to renominate attorney Joseph Dworetzky to the School Reform Commission and to fill the SRC slot being vacated by Heidi Ramirez with David Girard-diCarlo, an attorney who recently served as the Bush administration's ambassador to Austria.
The announcement of the two nominations was unprecedented in that it took place at a press briefing jointly conducted by the governor and state Senate majority leader Dominic Pileggi. The two have been central and opposing figures in the ongoing battle over adoption of a state budget, now almost two months behind schedule.
"I am happy to have suggested David Girard-DiCarlo," Pileggi said, adding that he was pleased that the governor took input on the nomination from the Senate Republican caucus.
Both the governor and Pileggi dismissed any links to the budget debacle and predicted smooth sailing for the nominations, which require approval by the Pennsylvania Senate. Rendell expressed hopes that the new nominees could be in place in time for the SRC's September meetings. Dworetzky was first nominated by Rendell in March, but his nomination had not advanced through the Senate after a June hearing and was withdrawn.
Rendell said he told his new nominee, Girard-diCarlo, that he expected him to "ask questions and be probing." He emphasized that neither nominee would be a "rubber stamp."
Rendell said Girard-diCarlo's current position as an attorney at Cozen O'Connor left him with enough time to be an active board member.
He praised Girard-diCarlo's background as former SEPTA board chair and noted that he had also provided important lobbying support for the state in Washington. "He is committed to making public education better," Rendell added.
His involvement with education issues includes serving as chair of Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools from 1999 to 2001.
The former ambassador was Pennsylvania finance chair for the recent presidential campaign of John McCain and state chair of the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign in 2000. He was a major fundraiser and advisor for former governor Tom Ridge.
The governor said he was not concerned about a non-educator replacing Ramirez, an educator, on the SRC, saying that the School District staff has "tremendous people with academic backgrounds." Rendell said Superintendent Ackerman was not asked for input on the nominees to the oversight body.
Looking forward, Rendell said he hopes with Mayor Nutter to meet with the board "at least three or four times a year" and added that a top priority for him was "to turn around the lowest-performing schools."