How is Rep. Kevin Haggerty able to keep his job? The experts weigh in
DUNMORE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WOLF-TV) —
Nearly one week after his colleagues marked him unexcused for a third straight day, State Representative Kevin Haggerty is still nowhere to be found.
So what does that mean?
If it happens two more times, he could be found in contempt.
"I've asked many folks, I've said, 'where is the gentleman?' and no one seems to have a definitive answer with respect to that,” House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, said.
It seems like no one in Harrisburg knows where State Representative Kevin Haggerty is these days.
That includes Turzai.
"If you are going to be an elected official, and you're going to be a representative, the way you show your representation is by coming and voting,” Turzai said.
“As I said, there's exceptions in your lives that have to be dealt with, but it can't be months. I mean, that's an ongoing issue,” he added.
Since July, Haggerty's absences in Harrisburg were marked excused.
But that all changed last week when his colleagues approached Turzai and asked for a motion to begin marking his absences unexcused.
If he's marked absent two more consecutive times he could be found in contempt.
However, the law prevents him from losing his job.
But how is a State Representative allowed to only perform a portion of their duties?
Dr. Thomas Baldino with Wilkes University says the State Constitution makes it a little difficult.
"If the House decides that it doesn't grant permission to Representative Haggerty to miss any more floor votes, then the House could vote to sanction him. Expelling him would be yet another step, which is a rather drastic step,” Baldino said.
Employment law attorney George Barron says when it comes to private employment, most employees would be fired for excessive absence.
"Because it is an elected position, there are very specific circumstances and mechanisms that are necessary in order to move them or replace them. It's far more complicated than anything in private employment."
Barron said it's possible for lawmakers in Harrisburg to introduce legislation to introduce laws that could remove a representative for not performing the job or showing up for votes.
However, he says it's hard to imagine that happening sometime in the future.