Monday, June 14, 2010

Ethics Reform Due To Greed

Legislative resistance to reforming Pennsylania's government is a miscalculated and misguided effort by those in office who think voter apathy will relegate this issue to the trash bin that states "This too shall pass". Their lack of fear of the voting booth signifies a culture where their concerns for what is truly right and what Pennsylvania taxpayers demand is emotionally bankrupt. They will soon reazlie that it will only hurt worse to fight it.

Legislators who make a base salary of $78,000 per year, fully paid healthcare, pensions that exceed their outgoing salaries, car expense, telephone expense, campaign expense, guaranteed cost of living adjustments, and the ability to modify any one of those in the most favorable terms are severely out of touch with today's economic climate. House Majority Leader Todd Eachus has a salary exceeding $114,900.00 plus collected over $27,000 in per diems. Those of you reading this, what are your salary and benefits?

Solons like Senator Daylin Leach who have the nerve to write an opinion column like this one that appeared in the Post-Gazette illustrate not only the need but that time is of the essence to reprogram the thought processes in Harrisburg by elected officials. Leach is a Democrat for King of Prussis but talks to us like he is the King of Russia.

In today's Time Leader Professor David Friedrichs discusses the greed with Mark Guydish that led the charge in creating the culture pervading Luzerne County and, for the most part, the rest of Pennsylvania.

Tough prison terms? Restructured governments? Strict codes of conduct? Ethics education in school and more public discussion, as championed the new Ethics Awareness Initiative?

“Addressing it is indeed challenging,” University of Scranton criminal justice Professor David Friedrichs conceded. “With this new wave of indictments and imprisonment of high-profile judges and officials, there is hope that it will have fundamental impact in terms of individual choices.

“But more generally,” he added, “you have to try to reorient the whole culture to address the built-in conflicts of interests in public/private sector arrangements.”

“Unless the whole region becomes convinced that ethical behavior is critically important to the area, it’s not going to change.”

Senator Leach has already demonstrated the uphill battle taxpayers face.

In a related article the Times Leader educates is readers about the efforts of Sister Bernadette Duross as executive director of the Ethics Institute of Northeastern Pennsylvania and launching a communitywide ethics project amid the bucolic backdrop of Misericordia University

In May, barely five months into that role, she helped spearhead the Ethics Awareness Initiative, a joint effort by the Ethics Institute and Leadership Wilkes-Barre. The project is intended to spur area residents to push for government reforms – and perhaps adopt new attitudes about ethical behavior – in the wake of the region’s ongoing public corruption crackdown.

“We need individuals to step up and get the public and organizations on board,” she said. At Misericordia, she hopes that means a campuswide initiative to “incorporate ethics training more into the curriculum.” She’s also hoping other area colleges, as well as elementary and high schools, will do the same.

How about local legislators? How many have signed an ethics pledge? Ask your legislator to join Sister Duross in her effort to restore confidence and trust in Pennsylvania government- Phyllis Mundy, Eddie "Day" Pashinski, Todd Eachus, Karen Boback, Neal Goodman, Jerry Knowles, Kevin Murphy, James Wansacz, Edward Staback. The Northeastern delegation should lead the charge.

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