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The Williams Pledge: Integrity, Accountability, and Openness in Government
When I am elected as your Mayor, I pledge that the government of the District of Columbia will be dedicated to a new standard of integrity, accountability, and openness.
A common, cynical, old American saying is that You can't fight City Hall. I think differently. I envision an administration under which our citizens no longer have to fight City Hall. Citizens will be able to put their confidence and trust in City Hall; it will be a place where it is commonplace to deliver services successfully, where excuses are not acceptable and commitment to people is the order of the day. To earn that confidence and trust, government must demonstrate its commitment to operating with integrity, accountability, and openness.
Practical results can be measured in the number of roads paved, the amount of time it takes to receive a business license or permit, and the test scores earned by our children in our schools. But results can also be measured by how we achieve these practical goals.
As Chief Financial Officer of the District, I showed that we can have results delivered with integrity, accountability, and openness. My office was able to help small vendors receive overdue payments from District agencies. We were able to help HIV/AIDS victims receive the drug treatment they needed. We were able to devise city budgets that were not only balanced, but that also achieved consensus among the Control Board, the Mayor, and the City Council. But what I am most proud of is that fact that the CFO's office was able to accomplish these goals at the same time that we opened up the budget process to the scrutiny of the citizens for the first time.
Today I am announcing that the following principles of integrity, accountability, and openness will guide my Administration.
Contracting, procurement, and grant making by this government will be open and competitive. There will be no cronyism and no favoritism, and the process will be open so that everyone can be assured that there has been no cronyism and no favoritism.
My appointments to Boards and Commissions will demonstrate the level of professionalism, integrity, honesty, and trust that I shall demand of all our appointees. When our citizens appear before a Board or Commission in a disputed matter, whether or not they win their cases, they must be assured that they will be heard considerately, that their positions will be understood and weighed fairly, and that the process or hearing will be conducted evenhandedly and without favor.
The first order of business in the Williams Administration will be to issue Mayor's Order #1. The provisions of Mayor's Order #1 will:
The goals for my administration will be publicly announced and widely published, and I shall issue a public report card twice a year that will chart the progress that my administration has made toward achieving those goals. And I pledge that this report card will be accurate if we have made no progress in an area, the report card will show that, too.
Individual departments and agencies will be required to issue their own goals and report cards not propaganda that exaggerates their successes and ignore their failure, but accurate accountings of what they have done and where they have failed to meet their goals, all substantiated by the back-up information that citizens need to judge their accuracy and honesty.
These report cards will be validated and corroborated by a third party to assure objectivity and customer satisfaction.
I will require that all purchasing and product inventory be computerized and that goods be tracked from procurement to delivery to final use in order to prevent theft and other fraud and abuse in District purchasing. All theft of property services and funds will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
I said that the public's business should be done in public, and all our actions and decisions should be open to public scrutiny. There is a limited exception to this rule. The government collects and acts as a custodian for private information about its citizens, and we must safeguard our citizens' privacy rights with respect to this information. But, with that limited exception, all governmental information should be freely available to the press, to our citizens, and to all members of the public.
With that as its guiding principle, the Williams administration will:
The government of the District of Columbia will become a model of integrity, accountability, openness, and the availability of information. Government officials are public servants, doing the public's business. That business should be done honestly, fairly, in public, and all our actions and decisions should be open to public scrutiny.
I will invite the public into the deliberation and consideration of public policy at an earlier stage. As the Chief Financial Officer, I oversaw a citizen's budget process, in which interested citizens could review proposed city budgets early in the process, both to inform the public and for the public to inform government officials at a early stage about any problems or disagreements with possible decisions. As Mayor, I shall expand this process, and extend the range of issues and policies about which the public will have this kind of early access and input.
October 19, 1998
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