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The Daily Tar Heel

No more gifts: Gov. Perdue signs order restricting her cabinet from accepting private gifts, increasing transparency

The ban on certain state employees accepting gifts enacted by Gov. Bev Perdue is a good step to ensure accountability and transparency within her administration.

The executive order, which was signed last week, prohibits any state employee within Perdue’s cabinet from accepting gifts from private organizations.

A law in passed in 2007 provided guidelines similar to this policy’s, but this new order expands the definition of a state employee.

The executive order does have its limitations. It does not apply to departments that are run by statewide elected officials such as the Department of Insurance or Department of Labor.

But this is not because Perdue chose not to hold these departments accountable, but instead because she does not have jurisdiction over them.

Some of these agencies already have similar policies in place.

“We will follow the executive order,” said Dolores Quesenberry, a spokeswoman at the Department of Labor. “But we feel that we already go above and beyond the scope of Perdue’s order.”

The Department of Insurance made the same claim.

“The ethics law only applies to certain employees,” said Kristin Milam, director of public information for the N.C. Department of Insurance. “But our internal policy applies to all of our employees.”

But now that the policy comes from the governor, it will have more legitimacy backing it.

The order aims to provide honest dealings when public agencies contract with private entities for services.

“Since day one Perdue has been looking to increase transparency and accountability within public agencies,” said Chrissy Pearson, a spokeswoman for the Office of the Governor.

This policy should do just that.

The order can uphold the integrity that Perdue is looking to make the hallmark of her administration by providing more strict guidelines for how state employees interact with private organizations.

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