GOVERNOR RELL'S FIRST EXECUTIVE ORDER:
WHEREAS, public office is a public trust and the Office of the Governor is committed to restoring public confidence; and
WHEREAS, the State of Connecticut has long been committed to establishing rules and regulations to provide safeguards to support the highest standards of public integrity and ethical principles; and
WHEREAS, transactions relating to the expenditure of public funds require the highest degree of public trust; and
WHEREAS, all public servants should seek to adhere to a high standard of ethical conduct when performing state business; and
WHEREAS, each and every public servant should strive to avoid both actual conflict of interests and any appearance of impropriety;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, M. Jodi Rell, Governor of the State of Connecticut, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Statutes of the State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT...Executive Order #1...
Gov. M. Jodi Rell made a tightly scripted, highly anticipated appearance before a legislative committee Wednesday to urge passage of ethics and campaign finance reforms.
Connecticut governors rarely appear before legislative committees, but Rell's testimony was calculated to generate momentum for what she hopes will be the signal achievement of her first year as chief executive.
Rell, who became governor in July after an impeachment inquiry and federal corruption investigation forced the resignation of John G. Rowland, told lawmakers they must embrace reform in 2005.
"I can tell you the public is ready for change. The public is demanding that we give them confidence again in their state government," Rell said. "You never thought you would be responsible for that, but you truly are."
The Republican governor and the Democratic legislature agree on the broad goal of getting special-interest money out of Connecticut politics. Their approaches are different, and both sides maneuvered for advantage Wednesday.
Rell has proposed a half-dozen bills, including a ban on campaign contributions from state contractors and lobbyists, lower limits on other contributions, restrictions on political action committees, new state contracting rules and a restructured ethics commission.
Democratic legislative leaders favor the public financing of campaigns as the only sure way to limit the influence of special interests. Rell is opposed to public financing, though in remarks to reporters she signaled a willingness to compromise.[Please read the rest of this article in the archives at the Hartford COURANT website]
On Monday, Gov. M. Jodi Rell's task force on contract reform started hearing testimony on improving the system. It wasn't lost on anyone that one of the principal speakers was state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a possible opponent of Gov. Rell in the 2006 election.
It's a good thing that Gov. Rell has taken the lead in reforming the system so manipulated in the administration of Gov. John G. Rowland. Gov. Rell wasn't involved in the types of decisions that led to ethical and legal violations, but as former Gov. Rowland's running mate, she can't do enough to distance herself from the nefarious practices that brought down the governor and disgraced state government. But the actions of Gov. Rell and Attorney General Blumenthal won't matter much if the Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly don't buy into the idea.
In this venture, Gov. Rell is committed and sincere. With every action she has taken and appointments she has made, she has signaled her determination to take the sleaze out of state government.
Attorney General Blumenthal testified earlier to the legislature about ethical reforms needed to make the state more corruptionproof and he echoed many of those ideas Monday. Nevertheless, there are some strong suggestions and they bear repeating:[Please read the rest of this article in the archives at THE DAY (New London, CT) website]
Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy has been traveling around the state talking to Democrats and raising money as he seeks his party's nomination for the 2006 gubernatorial election, but his campaigning has led to criticism at home.
Some city Republicans said they believe those giving to his campaign, which has raised about $830,000, may be more interested in influencing what happens in Stamford than in Hartford.
At the top of their list is Haven Healthcare Management LLC, which held a Middletown fund-raiser for Malloy on May 17. Employees of Haven Healthcare and its related companies, such as Lighthouse Medical Services, gave about $19,000 during the week of the fund-raiser.
Haven Healthcare oversees the management of Smith House, the city-owned nursing home, and is seeking a long-term contract to continue and increase its involvement in the facility.
"The message is if you want to do business with the city of Stamford, you have to come up with the cash," Republican Board of Finance member Joseph Tarzia said. "Here is a company that has a direct interest. Dollars to doughnuts they are going to get that contract."
The Haven Healthcare fund-raiser did not violate campaign finance regulations, according to the secretary of the state's office and the state Elections Enforcement Commission. There are regulations to prevent city contractors from giving to candidates for city office, but local and state laws do not address city officials seeking statewide office.
Malloy said campaign finance laws in Connecticut are strict enough to prevent corruption.
a very clean process," Malloy said. "We are living by the
Gov. M. Jodi Rell ousted seven top state employees Friday - all recently controversial or closely tied to former Gov. John G. Rowland.
Placing her stamp on the new administration, Rell called for a sweeping change in leadership in departments overseeing public safety, environmental protection, gambling regulation, and computer technology, among others. Rell and her press secretary offered no explanations for accepting the resignations, but some departures had long been expected inside the state Capitol.
"I may ultimately decide that additional changes are required," Rell said. "But at this point, I have addressed the most immediate needs." The least surprising replacement was Public Safety Commissioner Arthur Spada, whose chief of staff was arrested last week on felony fraud charges.
privately Friday with Rell, Spada pulled away from the
governor's mansion in a chauffeur-driven car and told reporters
that he had no major concerns. Other highly placed Rowland
appointees being replaced include:
[Please read the rest of this article in the archives at the Hartford COURANT website]