HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro says approximately 3,500 Commonwealth employees will be required to sign an integrity pledge and participate in ethics training.
Shapiro also announced an executive order regarding the solicitation or acceptance of gifts for executive branch employees. The rule includes “a total prohibition on gifts, discounts, services or any other items or other benefits of any value received from a lobbyist or lobbying firm.”
The administration says the rule focuses on preventing lobbyists from influencing lawmakers and does not include items of nominal value such as coffee or if students gift lawmakers a shirt.
The ethics training will be led by Eric Fillman, who served as the chief counsel for the House Ethics Committee in Harrisburg and the first-ever Chief Integrity Officer under then-Attorney General Shapiro.
“The intent is to prevent improper influence, to prevent undo influence and nobody’s gonna feel bribed over a bottle of water, no ones gonna feel unduly influenced over a cup of coffee,” said Fillman.
The moves were part of a three-part ethics package announced by the Governor’s office on Friday.
A copy of the integrity pledge, which will be required for all Cabinet members, governor’s office staff, and senior managers in Commonwealth agencies, was released by the Governor’s office:
Confidence in those individuals entrusted with administering and providing governmental services is imperative to maintaining public trust in the Executive Branch of our Commonwealth.
As public servants, officials and employees under the Governor’s jurisdiction must maintain the highest standards of integrity and professionalism in discharging their duties, including the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To that end, employees under the Governor’s jurisdiction shall:
• Place the interests of the Citizens of the Commonwealth above their own interests.• Comply with all ethical standards and requirements, including, but not limited to, those
set forth in the Public Officials and Employee Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. §§ 1101–1113,
and the State Adverse Interest Act, Act of July 19,1957, P.L. 1017, as amended, 71 P.S.
• Perform their job duties with integrity and professionalism.
• Carry out their job duties in a fair, impartial, and nondiscriminatory manner.
• Safeguard all confidential or protected information within their possession or access.
• Adhere to applicable laws, regulations and Commonwealth policies in performance of
their job duties or otherwise acting on behalf of the Commonwealth.
Officials and employees who fail to maintain these standards may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. By signing below, I acknowledge that I have read and understand this Pledge, and that I will abide by the standards set forth herein. In doing so, I commit myself to the principle that public service is a public trust.
“As Attorney General, I held my agency and my staff to the highest standards of integrity and accountability – and today, we are bringing those same standards to the Governor’s Office and executive branch employees under my jurisdiction,” said Governor Shapiro.
“This ethics package promotes trust in government and accountability for public officials while fostering dialogue and allowing our administration to bring people together to deliver results for all Pennsylvanians. Our policy ensures no lobbyist or special interest group can buy improper influence, and the integrity pledge every senior administration official will sign is a promise to the people of Pennsylvania that we will serve their best interests alone each and every day.”
“Governor Shapiro’s ethics package maintains the Wolf Administration’s high standards of integrity while making real improvements that will help fulfill his promises of bringing people together and delivering results,” said Secretary of Administration Neil Weaver.