Issue executive order on ethics on first day in office
"I will issue a strong executive order on ethics on my first day of office. I will attack the culture of corruption and cronyism that hinders job creation starting on my first day in office. I will demand the highest standards of appropriate behavior. This executive order will designate one individual as the contact person for all state and municipal employees, as well as private citizens, to contact with concerns about unethical behavior involving state and local government."
Chafee signs ethics executive order on inauguration day
Updated: Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 | By C. Eugene Emery Jr.
It's the conventional Rhode Island wisdom that ours is one of the most corrupt states in the United States, although we've never seen any real evidence to show that we're worse than other states where a similar belief is part of the popular culture.
The folk wisdom persists because of all the examples over the years, from top officials being convicted of felonies to stories of average people needing to have money or connections (or sometimes both) to get things done.
Lincoln Chafee ran for governor with the pledge to make ethics a top priority in his administration. He promised that on his first day in office he would issue an executive order designed to "attack the culture of corruption and cronyism that hinders job creation."
The order, he said, would identify one person that state and municipal employees, as well as private citizens, could contact to address their "concerns about unethical behavior involving state and local government."
On Jan. 4, the day he was sworn in, Chafee issued a four-page executive order requiring all employees under his jurisdiction to abide by the Rhode Island Code of Ethics and all decisions of the Rhode Island Ethics Commission.
It also designates the director of each department and chairman of each executive board and commission to be a public ethics officer who must report any ethical issues to Chafee's chief legal officer, Patrick A. Rogers, who is also the governor's chief of staff.
The order includes a vow to "not use public service for private gain" and to give the public interest precedence over "any private interest" "in all matters of official concern." And it requires directors and key staff members to attend a training session conducted by the Ethics Commission.
Although the promise talks about state and municipal governments, we should note that Chafee's order is directed to employees of the executive branch. For example, he has no authority over municipal workers.
But the order is clear and unequivocal, and the overall effect is to emphasize ethical behavior in the new administration. We rate this as a Promise Kept.
ChafeeForGovernor.com, "The First One Hundred Days Plan for Jobs," accessed Jan. 3, 2011
"Executive Order, 11-01, January 4, 2011, Ethics and Integrity in Government," Governor's office, received Jan. 4, 2011.
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