BOSTON – Friday, November 7, 2008 – Governor Deval Patrick today signed an Executive Order forming the Governor’s Task Force on Public Integrity. The task force will examine the existing regulatory frameworks that govern ethics, lobbying and public employee conduct, and will seek input from public officials, experts and the public. The group will make recommendations within 60 days relative to legislation necessary to strengthen current laws, regulations, investigative and enforcement mechanisms, and penalties.
“We in public office are not entitled to our positions. We are placed here by voters to do the best we can on their behalf, and we are expected to conduct their business honestly and openly,” said Governor Patrick. “The members of this task force offer a broad range of professional backgrounds and experience. All of them share a commitment to ensuring the highest standards of honesty and public integrity.”
The announcement comes one week after Governor Patrick laid out a series of actions aimed at reforming the Commonwealth’s ethics and lobbying rules, including the formation of the bi-partisan task force. The Governor also intends to re-file and expand upon legislation that refocuses state government on matters of broader importance by giving local communities more autonomy over local affairs.
The Governor’s Chief Legal Counsel Ben Clements will chair the task force. Clements previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for seven years, including four years in the Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit.
Governor Patrick has appointed 12 members to the task force, including four members of the Legislature: Senator Benjamin Downing, Chair of the Senate Committee on Ethics and Rules and member of the Governor's Advisory Commission on Local Government; Senator Michael Knapik, a member of the Senate Committee on Ethics and Rules; Representative James Fagan, Chair of the House Committee on Ethics; and Representative Mary Rogeness, a member of the House Committee on Ethics and Assistant Minority Leader.
The other task force members are Charlie Baker, George Brown, Kimberly Budd, Scott Harshbarger, Joseph Savage, Peter Sturges, Andrew Tarsy, and Pam Wilmot.
Charlie Baker is the President and CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Prior to joining Harvard Pilgrim, Baker spent eight years in Massachusetts state government, where he served as Secretary of Administration and Finance and Secretary of Health and Human Services during the Weld and Cellucci administrations.
George Brown is a Professor at Boston College Law School and a specialist in the field of government ethics. Brown served as a former Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General and was appointed by Governor Weld to serve as the Chair of the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission.
Kimberly Budd is the Director of the Community Values Program at Harvard Business School where she is responsible for policy enforcement and program development to promote honesty, integrity, and personal accountability. Budd previously worked as a University Attorney at Harvard University and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.
Scott Harshbarger is Senior Counsel at the law firm of Proskauer Rose. Harshbarger served as Massachusetts Attorney General where he led major initiatives against public corruption. He also served as District Attorney of Middlesex County. Harshbarger was the first General Counsel of the State Massachusetts State Ethics Commission and a former Chief of the Public Protection Bureau in the Massachusetts Attorney General's office. Harshbarger was also a former President of Common Cause, the national non-profit citizen’s lobby and government watchdog group.
Joseph Savage is a partner at Goodwin Procter and has substantial expertise in public integrity laws. Savage is a former Chief of the Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Peter Sturges is Legal Counsel for Harvest Automation, Inc. Sturges previously served as the Executive Director of the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission and as General Counsel to Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance.
Andrew Tarsy is a senior executive at Facing History and Ourselves, an international educational organization that engages students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and antisemitism in order to promote the development of a more informed citizenry. Tarsy is also the former New England Regional Director of the Anti Defamation League.
Pam Wilmot is the Executive Director of Common Cause Massachusetts, a non-partisan, non-profit advocacy organization in Massachusetts that serves to hold elected leaders accountable to the public interest. Wilmot has been an advocate for government reform and consumer and environmental issues for more than 20 years.
“I look forward to working with this distinguished group on developing proposals to enhance and improve the laws that are essential to maintaining public confidence in our government,” said Clements.
The Governor directed the task force to report its assessment and recommendations within 60 days.
Members of the public who would like to submit suggestions to Governor Patrick and the Task Force can email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-870-7770
(TTY: 617-727-3666). Feedback must be submitted by December 31, 2008.
For more information on the Governor’s Task Force on Public Integrity, visit www.mass.gov/Governor/PublicIntegrity.