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Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue
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Governor-Elect Perdue Addresses UGA Economic Outlook Conference

Wednesday, December 18, 2002  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Discusses economy, budget, and ethics in speech

WASHINGTON, DC - Governor-Elect Sonny Perdue addressed the Georgia Economic Outlook Conference, sponsored by the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business, via satellite today. The Governor-Elect's remarks are included below:

"Ethical, Accountable, Efficient"
Governor-elect Sonny Perdue Georgia Economic Outlook Conference December 18, 2002

Good afternoon. And thank you Dr. Adams for the opportunity to visit with this very special audience today...

I'm sorry I can't be there with you in person, but when the President invites you to his house, you don't say no.

Having a close partnership with President Bush and his team is important. The President has conducted his Administration in a way that makes us all proud.

I want to do the same thing for Georgia.

I am committed to making our state government ethical, accountable and efficient.

We're going to use models from the business world to help us do that.

As business leaders, you know the importance of high ethical standards, ensuring accountability, and efficient use of resources.

These are three areas where we're going to change the culture of state government.

First, ethics.

We will bring broad ethical reforms to Georgia state government.

We'll ban lobbying by ex-legislators and state officials for two years after they leave office.

This tracks federal legislation already in place.

We'll close existing loopholes to make our ethics laws tough, clear and fair.

We're going to create an office of Inspector General reporting directly to the Governor ... with a strong mandate to root out fraud, waste and abuse in state government.

And we will conduct the first independent statewide audit in Georgia's history.

Next, accountability.

We need a state government that gets results for the people of Georgia --

In education ... health ... public safety ... and economic growth.

I've spent more than 140 hours in budget meetings in the last few weeks reviewing our $16 billion dollar state budget.

With 100,000 employees and more than 80 departments reporting to the Governor ... managing state government is like trying to hug an octopus.

To improve accountability, we're adopting a management model very similar to what many of you use in your own companies.

I have already announced part of this structure. Eric Tanenblatt will be my chief of staff, reporting to me. Eric will coordinate all communications, policy and legislative efforts for my office.

Today I am announcing two new positions we will create, both reporting directly to the Governor.

The Chief Financial Officer will oversee all state agencies that deal with revenue, purchasing and other financial activities.

And I am pleased to announce that Hank Huckaby will serve as our Interim Chief Financial Officer.

I will also appoint a Chief Operating Officer.

All state organizations under the Governor's control that provide direct services to the people of Georgia will report to the Chief Operating Officer. That list includes agencies and departments relating to the education, health, welfare and safety of our citizens.

The lines of responsibility will be clear and we'll have every hand in every agency pulling together, in the same direction, to better serve the human needs of Georgia.

We are conducting an extensive search for a Chief Operating Officer and we're looking at outstanding candidates from business, government, and elsewhere. I will announce our pick soon and I know you will be pleased with our choice.

Finally, efficiency.

That means efficiency in treating the people as customers of state government --and efficiency in how we spend the people's money.

We need a new attitude toward our state budget. We're in a period where the state simply has to go on a diet. We'll have to push back from the table and do without some things that we might like to have.

But anyone who has struggled with a few extra pounds knows that taking the weight off is only half the battle. A crash diet doesn't help much if we go right back to the same old bad habits.

We've got to make some sustained lifestyle changes. We've got to have permanent structural reforms that keep the flab off.

In our personal lives we have to eat smart and say no to that extra slice of pie that looks so good but isn't good for us. Many of us will be making New Year's resolutions along those lines. I know I will.

While we're at it, let's also resolve to be good stewards of the state budget by changing our old spending habits. Let's cut out the things that look appealing, but waste the people's money.

Let's learn to say "no" to the extra helping.

Let's get our spending priorities in line with the true human needs of Georgians.

By doing the three things I've talked about today-

enforcing the highest ethical standards...

organizing state government to ensure accountability...

and efficiently aligning our spending priorities with our human priorities.

We will have a state government that is better able to provide our citizens with an educated Georgia ... a healthy Georgia ... a safe Georgia ... and a growing Georgia.

I am reaching out to you and my call to you is simple --you are a vital part of Georgia's team.

I need your help to make Georgia the state we have always dreamed it can be.

So don't be strangers. Get in touch -- and let's all get to work.