Pa. welfare aide quits to keep role in journal
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A top aide in Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare quit rather than give up his outside job as editor of a conservative journal, officials said Wednesday.
Robert W. Patterson resigned this week from his $104,000-a-year job after Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration rejected his request to continue moonlighting as editor of the journal called The Family in America, a position he has held since 2009.
As its editor, Patterson has expressed his views on a wide variety of topics, including his dislike for social programs born in the War on Poverty of the 1960s, including some his department administers.
A column he co-authors has highlighted research supporting the virtues of marriage and mothers staying home to raise children.
The column also has touted studies that he said show that birth-control pills suppress women’s sexual pleasure and suggest condom use deprives women of “remarkable chemicals” in semen that elevate their mood and self-esteem.
Patterson was hired Oct. 31 as a special assistant to welfare Secretary Gary Alexander, and his duties included researching issues and some writing, said department spokeswoman Carey Miller.
Miller declined to comment on whether department officials who hired Patterson had read his writings, which are posted online by the Illinois- based research center that publishes the journal, calling it a confidential personnel matter. Miller said Patterson’s views do not reflect those of the Republican administration.
Miller said she did not know what prompted Patterson to file a request, but that applicants for state jobs are usually required to submit requests for permission to hold outside jobs.
Patterson did not immediately return a phone message left Wednesday at his Leesburg, Va., home. His resignation was first reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer.
In a profile of Patterson on its website, The Howard Center describes the quarterly journal as “our chief instrument” for its efforts “to restore the child-rich, married-parent family as the cornerstone of American society.”
Patterson spent five years as a speech writer for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Small Business Administration under then-President George W. Bush.
Alexander, who declined to be interviewed for this story, is directing ongoing efforts to rein in his department’s projected growth by hundreds of millions of dollars in response to the state’s ongoing budget shortfalls.
Already, the department says it has cut more than 150,000 people from the medical assistance rolls through stepped-up eligibility reviews, and has made tentative plans to impose an asset test for food-stamp applicants.
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