Stop the presses, Gov. Rendell's point man for the General Assembly is staying put.

Steve Crawford, Rendell's secretary of legislative affairs, declined an offer from newly-elected House Majority Leader Todd Eachus to become his chief of staff.

Crawford, who has served as Rendell's secretary of legislative affairs since 2003, said he thought long and hard about the offer but decided with the new line up in legislative leadership and the tough budget year ahead, it would be best to continue in his current role.

"I did struggle with it, but at the end of the day, I think the most effective place to be is where I am," said Crawford, who left a legislative post, as chief of staff for Rep. Jeff Coy, to join Rendell's team in 2003.

Crawford is among the dwindling number of original members of "Team Rendell:" the top tier of officials named when Rendell took office nearly six years ago. Also still on board heading into 2009: policy titans Donna Cooper and Roy Kienitz, Department of Public Welfare Secretary Estelle Richman, Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard, Transportation Secretary Allen Biehler and Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff.

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