By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG (News Radio 1020 KDKA) – As state budget hearings continued this past week, Wolf administration officials faced lawmakers who are skeptical of the governor’s plan to consolidate several state agencies.

The House Appropriations Committee heard from the heads of the Department of Health and the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. Gov. Tom Wolf wants to combine those departments with Human Services and Aging to create one big Department of Health and Human Services.

But, Republican Seth Grove isn’t convinced it will work.

“I haven’t seen any streamlining of any government entity within those. You’re just taking the departments, slapping them together, throwing on a new name,” said Grove.

Health Secretary Karen Murphy said they are working to find a plan that works for everyone.

“The four secretaries are committed to working to develop a consolidation plan that is better for Pennsylvanians and we’re not consolidating for the sake of consolidation,” said Murphy.

Murphy says leadership and execution of the strategy will be the key to making it a success.

Meanwhile, Republican Gene DiGirolamo continued to rail against the idea of demoting Drug and Alcohol Programs from its status as a separate department in the midst of the current opioid abuse crisis.

“Doing away with the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs in the middle of this epidemic and crisis that we experience is the worst idea that I have ever heard,” said DiGirolamo.

DiGirolamo vowed to fight the plan.

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