In Latest Shake-Up, Two Top Corbett Aides Jump Ship

Jul 17, 2013

Gov. Tom Corbett says he's hiring his third chief of staff and his third secretary of legislative affairs in as many years as he struggles to improve his public image and his clout inside the Capitol.

Corbett made the announcement Wednesday.

Veteran Republican lobbyist and political strategist Leslie Gromis Baker will replace Steve Aichele as Corbett's chief of staff. Aichele was Corbett's chief counsel when he took office in January 2011, but became chief of staff last year in a separate shake-up.

The governor faces persistently low poll ratings and is fresh off an all-around failure to secure his top legislative priorities.

"When you end up with three chiefs of staff in three years, you're looking at an administration in search of a way to deliver its message and to deliver its policy agenda," said Franklin & Marshall College political science professor Terry Madonna.

Corbett's legislative secretary Christopher Carusone is leaving after a year to become a partner in a Philadelphia-based law firm. Andrew Ritter, Carusone's deputy, will serve as his replacement on an acting basis.

Aichele's wife, Department of State Secretary Carol Aichele, will stay in her post, according to the agency's spokesman.

Corbett's cabinet has also seen a great deal of turnover in the past two years, with five agency secretaries resigning their posts.