Erie Co Dept Of Health To Lay Off Five Employees

- 5 employees in the Erie County Department of Health's Tobacco Grant Program will be without a job at the end of this month thanks to a ruling by a 3 judge panel.

That ruling is the result of a lawsuit filed by 3 major tobacco companies who argued that Pennsylvania, and 4 other states, did not properly account for money received from tobacco companies in accordance with the Master Settlement Agreement reached in 1998.

The agreement was reached between tobacco companies and a group of states, including Pennsylvania, that were suing tobacco companies for damages to citizens because of the effects of smoking.

The tobacco companies filed a lawsuit in 2004 challenging the way the states were accounting for monies received from the tobacco companies.

On September 11th of this year, a 3 judge panel agreed with the tobacco companies that indeed, things were not handled in accordance with the original Master Settlement Plan.

Pennsylvania was getting 342 million dollars from the settlement,
but because of the judge's ruling Pennsylvania must now repay, either by credit or paying back, somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 million dollars.

That has forced the state to declare as of September 30th, there will no longer be a contract with the health department to provide tobacco grant programs and services.

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