It seems like just yesterday we were talking about different degrees of government waste. In today's Inquirer, Angela Couloumbis and Tracie Mauriello turn up an interesting scenario:

[Diner owner Richard] Hanna says that just weeks after Corbett tapped Eli N. Avila to serve as the state's top health official, Avila walked into Hanna's restaurant opposite the Capitol, ordered an egg sandwich breakfast, and angrily complained that it wasn't fresh enough.

What followed, Hanna says, was a testy exchange that culminated with Avila's shouting, "Do you know who I am? I am the secretary of health!"

A month or so later, a city health inspector descended on the restaurant, Roxy's Cafe.

The restaurant, it turns out, had been moved up the priority list for its inspection. The inspector found a few minor but typical violations, none relating to the freshness of eggs.

Was this a wasteful episode? We'd argue yes, in a couple of ways. First, you have the re-ordering of the inspection list, which presumably causes some disruption – though possibly not much. But by behaving this way, the secretary makes himself wasteful. This kind of interaction with a citizen, and use of his position to pursue a personal beef, is bad governance by the secretary of health. And Pennsylvanians don't pay him $140,000 a year for bad governance.

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