Harrisburg mayor says he testified before grand jury

Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse (D) said Friday he testified “in recent weeks” before a state grand jury convened in Pittsburgh, which is investigating the city’s finances.

Papenfuse’s spokeswoman, Joyce Davis, said the focus of his testimony was about financial issues during previous administrations, going back to when Stephen Reed was mayor.

The retrofit of the Harrisburg incinerator contributed to the city of about 50,000 people being saddled with hundreds of millions of dollars in debt.

The Pa. Attorney General’s Office did not comment on the mayor’s statement.

Davis could not provide the date Papenfuse testified. She said his testimony took “much of the day.” She added it was not focused on Papenfuse’s time as mayor.

“He is more confident now than ever before there will be accountability for the citizens of Harrisburg,” said Davis.

Papenfuse said Thursday the investigation extends to the city’s schools as well.

Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico (R) referred the case to Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D), citing the potential conflict of interest.

Former Mayor Reed testified before a state Senate panel in October 2012, as did Papenfuse.

“We can look back on it these years later and say it wasn’t correct. But, at that time, that’s what we had in front of us,” Reed told the senators.  “The initial cost estimate for the project to retrofit and expand the Harrisburg resource recovery facility was significantly underestimated. That is the genesis of all of it.”

The state Senate Local Government Committee has given the transcripts of the hearing to the attorney general’s office.

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