My Proposal for A New Ethics Oversight Panel

October 3, 2013 — Leave a comment

As a part of my E³ campaign for Governor, I have announced a major plank in my proposed Ethics reform policy for Georgia.

I will work to change the law to set up a bipartisan group to appoint all members of the Ethics Commission which was established to watchdog all state government ethics, including the Governor’s office. The Ethics Commission, now known as the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, has been the subject of lawsuits and scrutiny in the press. At least in part, this is due to the perception of favoritism towards the Governor by his appointments. The right answer is to remove this commission from under the direction of the very people it was designed to watch. No one should be above reproach, including the Governor. I will return true ethical transparency to the operation of the Governor’s office in Georgia. I desire to bring ‘ethical standards’ back to the forefront.

“No one should be above reproach, including the Governor.”

As noted in the press and to widespread criticism from all corners, the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission is simply not living up to its name as a transparent organization, and perceptually will never do so as long as the Governor’s office, which is one of the agencies being watched, and leadership in only the majority party are the appointing agents. There has to be a bipartisan sharing of authority in appointing members of the Commission.

My Proposal for A New Ethics Oversight Panel

I propose dissolving the present organizational structure and replacing it with a new oversight commission that specifically excludes lobbyists or anyone currently serving as a paid consultant, employee, or advisor to an elected official in Georgia. I believe we should create a bipartisan committee consisting of the Chair of the Georgia Republican Party, the Chair of the Georgia Democrat Party, the House Majority Leader, the House Minority Leader, the Senate Majority Leader, the Senate Minority Leader, and the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court. These seven people would give us a much more even-handed appointment process that includes representatives of all the people in a bipartisan manner. It would mean that the Governor no longer has direct political control over the Commission. This is important to reestablishing trust in our government officials for all the obvious reasons.

The specific goal of the reconstituted commission would be to improve Georgia’s standing from currently being rated the worst (ranked 50th) state in the U.S. for ethical performance to becoming a top ten national model of public integrity.

“With any organization, ethical behavior starts with its leader.”

With any organization, ethical behavior starts with its leader. Our current Governor is on a list of most corrupt politicians in the U.S. (source: CREW). His issues have been well documented in the press. John Adams said it well: “Because power corrupts, society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.”

I am seeking the Governor’s office in 2014 on a mission of E³ – Education, Ethics, and Economic Development. I know that education is the surest way to economic prosperity – for individual citizens, commerce, and for the business of the state of Georgia.

Ethical leadership is essential.

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