Harrisburg Mayor's Veto Stands

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The capital city's financial troubles continue as the city operates on a budget from December, 2009.

Meanwhile, the mayor spars with the city controller over payroll.

"He's holding innocent people hostage," Mayor Linda Thompson said of City Controller Dan Miller during a Tuesday afternoon question-and-answer session with reporters. "I said he's reckless right now. Shame on him as controller."

Miller earlier asked Automatic Data Processing, the company that processes the city's payroll, to remove his automatic signature stamp from the city's payroll checks. Miller will have to sign each check by hand.

The move means no direct deposit and uncertainty about the next payday for more than 500 city employees.

"We don't want to do this," Miller said. "We want people to have direct deposit. We want to be efficient."

The dispute started over two positions in Thompson's administration that used to be a combined job under the previous mayor, Stephen Reed.

Miller said city council did not approve the splitting of the position.

"This is a much bigger issue than say those two -- or whatever -- number of positions," Miller said. "This issue is about whether the controller has appropriate controls."

Thompson accused Miller of grandstanding.

Miller said the mayor's office will not return his calls.

Meanwhile, the city's financial crisis deepens.

"We have to lay people off," Thompson said. "That's disastrous. Because 76 percent of our budget is in personnel."

Harrisburg is now operating under a budget passed in December after Thompson vetoed the spending plan approved by city council at the end of February.

City council chose Tuesday night to do nothing to overturn the mayor's veto.

"Our due diligence was to pass a budget, and we did that," council President Gloria Martin-Roberts said. "It's back now in the seat of the administration."

The budget from December has no tax or fee increases.

It also does not address the nearly $68 million in debt-service payments the city owes on the Harrisburg trash incinerator.

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