Only a few lawmakers were on hand for a February budget hearing in the palatial chamber of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Dennis Davin, the state secretary of community and economic development, appeared remotely on a large monitor, for a second round of questions about the bid for the public Chester Water Authority (CWA) by Aqua, a private water company.

The first round of questions with state Rep. John Lawrence, a testy Chester/Lancaster Republican, did not go well and the secretary’s mood had not improved. Asked to share his department’s view on the sale, Davin claimed that he did not know what it was. Lawrence, irritated, reminded the secretary that he had been trying to get some answers for more than a year. Davin agreed to get back to him, later, with an answer. As Lawrence’s time at the podium wound down, Davin continued his evasive tactics. Finally, Lawrence noted he and his constituents opposed the sale, as did every Democratic and Republican legislator in the counties served by the CWA.

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