BLOG: Restoring Pennsylvania’s Trust in Government That Works

By: J.J. Abbott, Deputy Press Secretary

January 19, 2016

In 2015, Governor Tom Wolf enacted several significant reforms to restore the public’s trust in government that works. Governor Wolf was elected on the promise of cleaning up Harrisburg with real reform, stronger ethical standards and greater transparency and openness.

Governor Wolf also spearheaded significant innovation in state government – making it easier for citizens to interact with their government and hold state leaders accountable.

In his inaugural address, the governor said his goal was to create a government that works – “one that is worthy of our trust.” Almost a year later, Governor Wolf has delivered more to improve transparency and ethics than others in Harrisburg have in decades.

Watch Governor Wolf talk about Government That Works in 2015.

Ethics Reform

In his first act after being inaugurated, Governor Wolf signed a gift ban, which banned anyone in the administration from accepting gifts. He then signed an executive order instituting a competitive process for the procurement of commonwealth legal services, which up-ended a decades-old practice of awarding contracts in secret.

In the months following signing gift ban, the governor called on independent agencies to enact the same standards for their officers and employees. Following the Governor’s lead, agencies – who allocate and control billions in taxpayer dollars – did just that, including the Turnpike Commission, Liquor Control Board, Pennsylvania Utility Commission, and PennVEST, among others.


In the past, members of the media and the public had to go to court to gain access to a Governor’s public schedule. Now, since the first month of his administration, Governor Wolf posts his schedule online each week and publishes a daily log of his public appearances for the next day. The public can also search all of the Governor’s public events since taking office.

Governor Wolf has also revamped and redesigned his website to provide the public greater access to expense reports each month for members of his cabinet. The public can browse by month, agency, individual expense category, or by name.

To further ensure public confidence in state government’s ability to root out waste and abuse, the Governor announced the first publishing of summaries detailing Office of Inspector General inspections. The summaries can be found here on the Office of Inspector General’s improved website.


Governor Wolf and the agencies under his direction have engaged in strategic initiatives to greater involve public participation, especially by under-served communities. Governor Wolf signed an executive order solidifying his administration’s commitment to improving diverse and small business participation in state government contracting. Executive Order 2015-11 directs a consistent and coordinated effort to ensure diversity and inclusion in all contracting opportunities for small and diverse businesses throughout agencies under the governor’s jurisdiction.

In May, Governor Wolf announced the formation of a pipeline task force to help Commonwealth agencies, the natural gas industry, and communities and residents across the state collaborate more effectively.

Governor Wolf signing documents
Efficiency & Innovation

Governor Wolf’s administration made efficiency and innovation a major priority, starting with the launch of Governor’s Office of Transformation, Innovation, Modernization and Efficiency (GO-TIME), which leverages inter-agency coordination and collaboration to maximize efficiency, modernize state government operations, and provide the highest quality services.

Two major initiatives especially highlighted the Governor’s goal of making state services more convenient and effective for Pennsylvanians in the first year. Online Voter Registration, launched by the Department of State, enabled more than 61,000 Pennsylvanians to use an online tool to register to vote or update their information. PennDOT launched the state’s first online tracking tool for plows and other winter weather vehicles.


See all of our Year in Review blog posts.

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