Senator Lisa Baker and her staff recently signed the Luzerne County Ethics Pledge. She issued the following statement regarding the Ethics Awareness Project:
“Honest, trustworthy government is still dependent on appropriate conduct by individuals, no matter how many laws are written, and no matter how specific those laws may be.
A good code of ethics reinforces the high standards of conduct public officials should aspire to. Such a code gives citizens a solid measuring stick for judging official conduct.
Signing an ethics pledge is a commitment every official should be willing to make. These are principles holders of public trust should faithfully abide by.
The reason is clear – citizens should not be forced to live under the cloud of widespread corruption, greed, and self-interest that afflicted Luzerne County.
Unfortunately, placing signatures on this document is no iron-clad guarantee of good government. Those involved in public corruption walked away from their oaths of office and ran roughshod over fundamental constitutional rights, so it is unlikely they would have been deterred by an ethics pledge.
Therefore, oversight and enforcement functions are still needed inside government. There is still value in the involvement of outside watchdog groups.
The Ethics Institute of Northeastern Pennsylvania and Leadership Wilkes-Barre deserve credit for this initiative. Ethical standards must be in the forefront of public service.”
Contact: Jennifer Wilson