Citing cost, state police cut protection for wife of Lt. Gov.

Suzanne Cawley, right, greets guests with her husband, Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, during an open house at the Governor's Residence in Harrisburg in 2011. JASON MINICK / Associated Press
Suzanne Cawley, right, greets guests with her husband, Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, during an open house at the Governor's Residence in Harrisburg in 2011. JASON MINICK / Associated Press
Posted: October 25, 2013

HARRISBURG The Pennsylvania State Police has agreed to cut its round-the-clock security for the wife of Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley after it became apparent the agency was spending more on travel costs this year to protect her than it was to protect him.

From July through the end of September, the state police paid $81,000 in travel expenses to protect Suzanne Cawley, or $20,000 more than for her husband's detail. The reason: Suzanne Cawley resumed working in May as a full-time real estate agent in New York City, a job that required her to spend several days at a time out of state.

Late last month, the Cawleys asked troopers to stop accompanying her to New York, citing the costs, State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said.

"They wanted to review it over the summer, to see how it went," Noonan said in an interview, "and made the decision to discontinue the protection."

For decades, troopers have taken on the responsibility of protecting the governor, lieutenant governor, and their families.

Generally, the executive detail shadows the Corbetts and Cawleys when they are in public.

The state police would not say how many troopers are assigned to the Corbetts or the Cawleys at any time, or how many there are in the elite unit overall. They also would not discuss their hours of work or how the unit functions.

According to state police records, it cost just over $4 million last year to protect Gov. Corbett and his wife, Susan, as well as the Cawleys, who lived in Bucks County before his election. That figure includes salary, benefits, and overtime accrued by the troopers assigned to the executive detail.

It doesn't include travel costs and other incidentals. State police records show that since July 1, travel and related expenses for the protection details cost $120,000 for Corbett, $60,000 for Lt. Gov. Cawley, $38,000 for Susan Corbett, and $81,000 for Suzanne Cawley.

"They discussed it as a family, and decided that the costs were not worth it," said Chad Saylor, a spokesman for the lieutentant governor.

Neither Noonan nor Saylor would say whether the state police had made arrangements with their counterparts in New York to provide security for Suzanne Cawley when she's in New York City.

Pennsylvania has had an executive detail since the early 1940s, and, like many states, it provides protection to its highest-level executives 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The duties include transporting the governor and lieutenant governor, and surveying and securing places where they are scheduled to appear. They also provide security at the governor's and lieutenant governor's residences.

 


acouloumbis@phillynews.com

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@AngelasInk

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