UPDATE: With comment from DPW Sec. Alexander.
Is Pennsylvania's Department of Public Welfare Secretary Gary Alexander the savings wizard he's made out to be?
Gov. Corbett appointed Alexander to the post as chief of this huge agency in no small part because of the fiscal magic he worked in Rhode Island where he held a comparable position.
In the Pennsylvania state budget signed into law by Corbett last summer, Alexander promised $400 million in savings in DPW this fiscal year.
And he's made plenty of cuts, removing people from public health rolls among them.
At last count 150,000 people — including 43,000 children — have been removed from medical assistance for the poor and disabled. The Corbett administration says the individuals were taken off because they were dead, moved or were otherwise no longer eligible, a claim contested by advocates who add that the demand for services has grown.
Alexander said his priority is to focus on making Pennsylvania's programs "more efficient and cost-effective," while keeping the primary goal in mind: "to continue to provide a safety net to the truly needy here in Pennsylvania."