Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton, the Democratic nominee for Governor, announced this afternoon a comprehensive policy package to restore public trust and confidence in state government.
"The people of North Carolina should expect the highest level of ethics from their elected leaders, and every public official must be held accountable," Dalton said. "We need new resources, such as increased transparency; more accountability, and more modern methods, to ensure that public officials are working for the public good and the laws we have can be effectively enforced. Penalties are only valuable if there is strong enforcement and disclosure to make sure those that breach the public trust are caught."
"I have a long record of advocacy for honest and open government and an unwavering belief in the value of public service. Public service is about trust and I will honor that trust and see that other do as well. As your Governor, the people of our state will give me something that I promise to always uphold: trust," Dalton concluded.
As a state Senator, Walter Dalton stood up for some of the toughest ethics laws in state history, including:
Banning lobbyists from giving money to candidates and Public Action Committees (PACs) from giving money to legislators when in session.
Closing loopholes that allowed lobbyists to give unlimited contributions to politicians.
Voting for the State Ethics Act (2006) that created the State Ethics Commission to investigate alleged ethics violations.
Instituting stronger penalties for politicians and lobbyists who fail to disclose information required of them.
Forcing officials found guilty of corruption to forfeit their state pensions.
Leading by example is a legacy that Walter Dalton will uphold if elected Governor.
As Governor, Walter Dalton will restore public trust and confidence in state government by increasing openness and ensuring honesty in state government:
Requiring senior advisors and cabinet appointees sign performance contracts. Taking best practices from the private sector and those implemented in other states, he will implement performance contracts for senior advisors and cabinet appointees in my administration. Walter Dalton will personally meet with each senior official of his administration to establish performance measures for their agencies that set goals for being more effective and efficient and hold staff accountable for meeting them, with results made public. Performance driven government is an effective way to ensure public accountability in government.
Performance driven programs in Virginia, Oregon, and Maryland have allowed those states to identify savings by allowing managers to effectively identify and target waste and inefficiencies.
Making the executive budget process more transparent. Walter Dalton wants to change the way the executive budget is prepared to allow for more public input and to ensure greater efficiency in the way taxpayer funds are spent.
Before each agency submits their budget recommendations, he will require cabinet secretaries hold public meetings to collect input on how government services are delivered and ways delivery can be improved.
Agencies must adhere to a "pay-as-you-go policy:" If an agency is requesting to add or expand a program, it will need to also recommend options to find efficiency savings within their existing budget to accommodate the request without increasing the agency's existing budget. Once each agency's budget recommendations are collected, the administration will put them on the state's website for public review along with their recommendations for efficiency cuts.
Conduct a comprehensive review of all tax credits and incentives that's submitted along with the executive budget to the Legislature, as a matter of policy that fosters greater transparency of state spending and will promote economic growth.
Finally, he will hold a public hearing with the Legislature to present the executive budget and rationale.
Other proposals include:
Posting state aircraft use on the state's website, so it's available to the public.
Disclosing contributions of board and commission appointees.
Retaining text and instant messages from mobile phones used for state business.
Improving statements of economic interest.
Enhancing disclosure requirements of independent expenditures.
Increase criminal penalties for public officials that breach the public trust.
Increase resources and enhance the investigative ability of State Ethics Commission.
Sunset review of boards and commissions.
Creating an independent redistricting commission.
Instituting term limits for legislative leaders.
Increasing the "cooling off" period for former lawmakers and top officials.
Ending the revolving door for lobbyist becoming state employees.