County Handed Responsibility to State in 2009; PA Now Inspects Devices in 49 of 67 Counties
HARRISBURG, Pa., June 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Ride and Measurement Standards recently completed inspections of more than 1,400 weighing and measuring devices in Franklin County, Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding said today.
The inspections were part of the department's work to ensure devices in the county are functioning under correct certification.
"Protecting consumers is a critical part of our mission," said Redding. "Inaccurate devices can shortchange unwitting consumers, so we take very seriously our responsibility to ensure consumers get exactly what they are paying for."
In mid-May, bureau personnel inspected more than 1,400 devices, including nearly 1,100 gas tanks in the county. Other items inspected were fuel oil truck meters and small-capacity scales, like those found in grocery stores. The more than week-long inspection effort consisted of more than 380 man-hours of work. Items not found to be in compliance will be re-inspected next week.
2010 marks the first year the state has been responsible for inspections in Franklin County, after officials there transferred oversight authority of its weights and measures program to the state in 2009.
Franklin County is one of 45 counties to take advantage of a 1996 amendment to state law that revised counties' role in commercial transactions. That amendment, Act 155, states that counties "may," rather than "shall," have a weights and measures program. The state is obligated to assume certification responsibilities for counties or local governments that do not to provide inspection services.
This change has made the Department of Agriculture responsible for an additional 100,000 devices during the past 14 years. Today, 49 of the state's 67 counties are inspected by a field staff of 36 full-time and temporary employees. The department has also begun work to plan for the more than 20,000 devices turned over by the City of Philadelphia.
"We understand that decisions must be made by our partners at the county and city levels in a time of economic challenge," Redding stated. "The department will continue to take advantage of every tool we have at our disposal to ensure that devices in Pennsylvania remain accurate and certified as mandated by law."
Consumers are also encouraged to take an active role in weights and measures transactions. This can be done by contacting the business operator if you suspect a device is faulty. If the business operator cannot or will not help, call the Department of Agriculture's toll-free consumer hotline, 1-877-TEST-007 (1-877-837-8007). In 2009, state and county personnel investigated 515 complaints.
The department also recently announced a new online database where consumers can view real-time inspection reports posted by state employees. These reports are available at www.agriculture.state.pa.us, by electing "e-Services" and choosing "Weights and Measures Inspection Search."
Media contact: Justin Fleming, 717-787-5085
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture