My “First Day of Change” Agenda

We’ve had too many people behaving unethically in North Carolina state government in recent years. It’s a shame and it’s disconcerting. And it makes the job of the state’s next governor much harder and much more important.

I am committed to changing the face of state government on day one of my term as Governor. That’s why I have made a “First Day of Change” pledge to issue a series of executive orders and directives immediately after being inaugurated.

Below is a list of the changes that will be made on Day One. I’d love to hear what you think and how else you think we can improve the ethics of state government.

1. Establish the North Carolina Endowment for Positive Gubernatorial Campaigns
This will be the entity in charge of immediately gaining pledges from and ultimately raising money from philanthropists, businesses, civic groups, and other North Carolinians across the state. Tom Lambeth will be named its chair. Mr. Lambeth will also help lead my effort to pass enabling legislation.

2. Transform the Board of Transportation

Direct the Secretary of Transportation to immediately prohibit Board members from voting on individual projects and establish a totally professional approval process. To the extent their participation is required in any project by statute, the Secretary will make clear that Board members must sign a sworn statement that they have no financial interest related to the project or else recuse themselves.

3. On-Site Accountability
Alert all state agencies that I will make regular unannounced inspections of state-related facilities throughout the state with an accountability team. Direct state agency heads to immediately develop proposed inventories of performance and other work measures that we will be able to review at the inspections of specific sites. Also direct state agency heads to prepare for us to meet line staff confidentially without their managers.

My first inspections will include state mental health hospitals and probation offices.

4. State-“Stat” Accountability

Alert state agency heads that I will be conducting performance reviews every month with at least one agency head. Direct agency heads to propose accountability statistics and other information to review at these sessions.

5. Google (On-line) Accountability

Direct state agency heads to have immediately prepared the relevant information for internet posting of all state contracts and grants within their jurisdiction.

6. “BRAC” (Budget Reform and Accountability Commission)
Name the citizen panel and authorize it to begin developing 10 major budget reform measures for the legislature to vote up or down.

7. Gubernatorial Town Halls
Establish that I will conduct a live town hall at least four times that can be televised throughout the state. Also direct the creation of an on-line electronic town hall (E-Town Hall) in state government to continue the two-way conversation and gain feedback and recommendations from the public.

8. E-mail Retention Policy

Clarify state policy to make clear that all e-mails should start being retained under the public records law while the state identifies the technology infrastructure needed for long-term retention.


Thank you ma'am.

Thanks for posting this here ... and thanks for recognizing that this is an issue that's important to every citizen in North Carolina. I hope you'll also ask Lieutenant Governor Dalton to lead the same charge in the North Carolina Senate. We need transparency everywhere in state government.


PS I sure hope you win this election and I'm doing what I can to help. The more I learn about Pat McCrory, the more scared I get. He's like a junior John McBush - impulsive and hot-headed - and he doesn't listen. I've been impressed with how you've listened to voters throughout this year, and refined your campaign as the environment has changed. The ability of a candidate to listen and learn is critical to me as a voter. You have it. McCrory doesn't even know what the words mean.


Doubts about Dole?

No thank you ma'am.

I'm not buying it.

State categorically that you will not be appointing or reappointing major donors to your campaign to positions on boards and commissions, and I'll take your claim to stand for reform seriously.

Let's drop the pretense that DOT is the only state board that is riven with special interest influence.

Why in heaven's name would a candidate confine the concept of reform to only one board within state government? There are plenty of board and commissions, plenty of "plum" positions that have traditionally (as you well know) been offered to the highest bidder; all have serious responsibilities, and they are all subject, as you well know, to political influence.

Why limit "reform" to DOT?


I'm a major donor to almost every Democratic candidate in the state. Have been for a decade. Maxed out in many cases. Does that mean I would be automatically ineligible to serve on any state boards and commissions?

If I gave only $25, would that make me eligible? How about $100?

What a ridiculous argument.


Doubts about Dole?

I'll take your nuts and raise you some testicles


Until you've looked at the figures for what these guys pay to sit on these boards and commissions, don't be so quick to dismiss the relevance of their donations.

And why be quick in the first place? What are you afraid of?

For the record, James, we aren't talking in the tens, or hundreds of dollars.
Don't kid yourself, and don't shy away from the math.

The corruption of state government through the "rewards" system of handing out positions on state boards and commissions to donors who have contributed *SUBSTANTIALLY* is not a joke, is not ridiculous, and ought to be addressed by anyone who claims to be interested in reform.

What's your problem with the question, exactly?

Money is a function of power, not the other way round

Let's take another example:

Goldman Sachs alumns and the Treasury.

Which corrupts which?

The power corrupts, not the money.

James is right on this small slice of a large problem - though he may not agree with my degree of the argument.

If a responsible, intelligent engineer gave $4000 to McCrory or Perdue, I don't care.

I want responsible, intelligent engineers on the DOT Board (and smart teachers/parents on the BOE, good pharmacists on the pharmacy board, etc.).

I don't care who or what they donate to - as long as it's transparent and I can see it.


The money does indeed corrupt

I don't care if an intelligent, responsible engineer gave some money either. But we aren't talking about coincidences -- and we're not talking about hundreds of dollars. We're talking about tens of thousands of dollars (which, obviously, requires mechanisms other than direct donations). We're talking about direct correlations between substantial donations and fundraising and a position on a board. This happens across state government, and it's wrong.

Joe Hackney has distinguished himself from Easley and Basnight by naming people to powerful board who have NOT GIVEN HIM A PENNY. It's a good example, and others should follow it.

This isn't to say that I disagree about the corruption of power, too. What the men (mostly) who buy these positions are after is power, because sitting on a board/commission doesn't pay a person more than a small per diem. It is the power they are seeking when they make those huge donations and that's exactly what they are getting.

Why do you think some of these boards have so MANY positions? Scratch around a little on the links between Easley and Basnight appointments and the money these men have received from them.

Personally Brunette, I would love to see a post by you

on this very subject. I enjoy reading most of your comments but the only diaries I've ever seen your publish were cut and pasted from someone else. (That's not a jab, I cut and paste many, many articles)

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Aww shucks Momoaizo

Every now and then I posted a thing or two I thunk up, but I am an admirer of the writings of Pamela Troy and think she's much better at this sort of thing than I.

You pique my interest so many times

and I think that you could really give us quite a view if you do as you suggest and "scratch around a little on the links between Easley and Basnight appointments and the money these men have received from them."

There have been many times that your comments make me think differently about "our side" and I would love to see you expandon on this by writting this post. You're comments usually are very enlightening and eye opening.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Thank you Mo!

I appreciate what you've said and will ponder, perhaps after the election, elaborating on some of what I've found.

Thanks lofT

I've been trying to be less offensive but am still working on that part.

I'm not noticing a whole lot of holding back from other quarters, though, so maybe I can loosen this glove here . . .

Money searches for power

What the men (mostly) who buy these positions are after is power,

My point exactly.

If my left hand holds a bar of gold and my right hand holds a gun, which has more power?

Defending past, present or future Speakers, President Pro Tempores, or Governors is immaterial to the point of reform that is the premise of this thread.

If you want to reform the system, you reform the power, not the money - in my opinion at least.

Bev is saying that.


We sort of agree

Except that I think you're straining a bit to deny that what gives them the power is the MONEY. Poor folks don't get named to these commissions and boards.

So your left hand holds a bar of gold and your right hand holds a gun; the utility of either depends upon what you're after. In the world of politics, the bar of gold is going to get you a lot farther than the gun.

Sorry, but Bev's suggestions about tweaking this and tweaking that don't cut it. I believe if she were serious about reform, she'd name people to boards and commissions who haven't given her a dime.

You can't reform the system without cutting off the link between money and power.

And you're right that it isn't about attacking or defending a given politician, but it's not irrelevant to note when they engage in actions contrary to the public interest. That needs to be acknowledged regardless of party.

And I do refer to Hackney when I point out that the system isn't unchallengeable because he sets the standard that I think all of them should follow.

1. I came in late to this

1. I came in late to this movie. What exactly will the North Carolina Endowment for Positive Gubernatorial Campaigns do?

2. DOT board reform is a first step, but one of the issues is the fact that state government beyond DOT is in the pocket of the Associated General Contractors.

3. On-site visits - good luck with keeping those unannounced.

4. Accountability based on statistics works only if you are using the right statistics (metrics) to determine performance toward the right objectives. Unfortunately Murphy's Law of Information argues that this is not as much a slam dunk as it seems. Ask an accountant to give you a post hoc return on investment figure and see what the issues are.

5. - An outstanding idea. Just hope it is as well-executed as the federal site.

6. Another late to the movie item. Exactly what is it that needs reforming about the budget and budget process?

7. Televised live town hall meetings are only as good as the participation of the people in the audience in reflecting local opinion and coming up with new ideas. Otherwise it is just another PR gimmick.

8. The email retention policy should be enacted into law (with penalties) and should prohibit the use of non-state email accounts for state business. In order to enforce this, state employees and officers will need good, secure webmail accounts that permit them to access their email from anywhere. This is not a big technical challenge. You will also need a policy for use of Blackberry-like devices.

In addition, there needs to be a website available to the public that shows the schedules of meetings of all state elected officials with lobbyists and a note about the topic.

Thanks for soliciting our input.

50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

Highways and Bridges

I would urge you instead to make roads, bridges, highways all funded through a competitive "grant" process. I worked with Orange County to prepare our "wish list" for the TIP and for other funds. It's bunk. There should be a quantitative formula used for repairs based on outside reviews from a civil engineering board that is hired and not appointed. If the federal government can have an OMB that is willing to submit reports critical of a sitting President, then we should be able to form a professional organization that decides what roads get built based on scientific criteria.

"You could say, 'Look, is this guy, Laden, really the bad guy that's depicted?' Most of us have never heard of him before." John McCain, following Clinton's strikes on al Qaeda camps

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Bev, I think this is a

Bev, I think this is a wonderful start. We need more accountability in government and know what's going on behind "closed doors". You represent change, which even in a Democratic state government its needed, and McCrory simply doesn't. Three cheers for Bev!