Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lobbyist Reform Needed Now More Than Ever - Peggy Neely for Phoenix Mayor

Lobbyist Reform Needed Now More Than Ever

"Lobbyist Gullett continues to put special interests before public interest."

PHOENIX – Boycotts. Casino gaming. Union interests. Lobbyist Wes Gullett has made a career as a political insider – taking taxpayer funded contracts from public institutions, donating thousands to democrats who opposed SB1070, working on behalf of organized labor, and ballot measures to increase taxes. Last night at the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Debate, Gullett once again stated that he would keep interest in his lobbying firm if elected Mayor.

“Today, more than ever, special interest groups are trying to buy influence through lobbyists and insiders working behind closed doors,” said Former Mayor Skip Rimsza, “And the best way to cure this problem is with a healthy dose of sunshine and openness. We need real reform at City Hall.”

Peggy Neely announced the comprehensive charter review as part of her real reforms for the City of Phoenix. The goal is to comprehensively review the charter and modernize it to reflect the realities of today and the prospects and opportunities for tomorrow. These reforms should focus on accountability, wisdom, accessibility, representation and ethics (A.W.A.R.E.) and focusing on opening up City Hall to a greater degree of public scrutiny and fostering a more open and transparent dialogue among elected and appointed leaders. Phoenix residents should have the opportunity to be more aware of what is going on in their community.

“We need more transparency in government. We don’t even know who Mr. Gullett’s clients are. How could the taxpayers ever trust he was serving them instead of himself?” questioned Peggy Neely, “Lobbyist reform is needed now more than ever and that is why it is part of the AWARE program.”

Two of the proposed AWARE reforms include:

• Lobbyist reform: Lobbyist registrations should be posted online in a searchable database by lobbyist and by client. The database should also include increased financial reporting requirements – for example, gifts and meals for commission members should be reported just as they are for elected officials.

• Strengthen the conflict of interest policy: Develop a stronger and clearer conflict of interest policy statement that will clearly point out the minimum requirements any elected official and those appointed by the elected body are to abide by. I would also include those who serve on boards and commissions. There should be no loophole, ambiguity or general lack of clarity that all of us who serve the will of the people should be expected to follow. In addition, there should be strong monetary sanctions and the risk of removal from the position imposed on anyone found to be guilty of violating the public trust in their capacity as public servants.

“We need real reform – voters are looking for a leader who will stand up for them and do the right thing,” concluded Neely, “I have a track record of making the hard choices and standing by my word. Mr. Gullett has already proven that his self-interest trumps the public interest.”


Paid for by Neely for Mayor

No comments: