Lieutenant Gov Mansion Unnecessary

May 12, 2019

Since Pennsylvania long has been the only state to have a mansion for its lieutenant governor, the well-appointed estate at Fort Indiantown Gap, Lebanon County, always has been a curiosity. Former Lt. Gov. Mike Stack managed to convert the perk of office into an embarrassment when the staff and security detail complained of mistreatment by him and his wife, prompting Gov. Tom Wolf to limit both. Now, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has declined to use the mansion, which he views as unnecessary and ostentatious. He’s right, and so is Senate Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, a Jefferson County Republican, who wants to sell the mansion and believes that Fetterman’s non-occupancy decision makes now the perfect time to do so. Scarnati did not offer a price appraisal on the estate, but even if the state were to sell it at a loss it would save money because the property costs about $400,000 a year to maintain. So, conceptually, a sale is a no-brainer. There is, however, a serious practical problem in that the estate is on the grounds of Fort Indiantown Gap, headquarters of the Pennsylvania National Guard and an Army training center. As with any real estate, the best way to gauge interest and possibilities is to put the property on the market. The state should do so. If there is insufficient interest or if the security issues prove prohibitive, the government should try to establish a productive use for the estate.