No-gifts rule needs teeth
Even a great law, if not prosecuted, becomes bad government.
Gov.-elect Tom Wolf’s first policy act was to ban gifts for his transition team. He is proposing similar bans as well. Kudos to Mr. Wolf. This move is a good start and shows his prioritization is right on the mark.
I recommend his team consider adding two provisions to these actions:
• Insert a verification mechanism into the ban: It could be something like, “In addition to annual signed affidavits by all employees, the Budget Office will randomly audit three offices and its employees every year to make sure the ban is absolute.”
• Add a severe penalty: “Any employee caught accepting a gift of any value or quantity will be subject to a fine up to $50,000 and forfeiture of that person’s state pension.” That additional language will strike the tone needed to really change government in Pennsylvania.
History has shown that just passing laws is not enough. Laws need teeth and prosecution.
Our state leadership — the House, Senate and governor — needs to start enacting and enforcing these laws and following the nation’s oldest Constitution. With new leaders, some with strong constitutional passions, there is hope.
The writer is the founder of PA SAVE$, a group focused on cost savings for Pennsylvania governments, companies and nonprofits.