By: J.J. Abbott, Deputy Press Secretary See all of our Year in Review blog posts.Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf BLOG: Restoring Pennsylvania’s Trust in Government That Works Government That Works, The Blog, Transparency, Videos, Year in Review 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 ReformIn 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.TransparencyIn 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.OpennessGovernor 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.Efficiency & InnovationGovernor 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. January 19, 2016 SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
Winning bidders for the three main elements of Australian National offered for sale to the private sector were announced on August 28 by Federal Minister for Transport & Regional Development John Sharp.Combined gross value of the successful bids is A$95·4m, but Sharp said the government could have raised A$30m more had price been the only consideration. Bidders were also judged on quality, he emphasised. ’The end deal was best for jobs, regional development and expansion of the rail system.’ Collectively, the buyers are committed to capital expenditure of A$97m over the next four to six years.US regional railroad Wisconsin Central, with its New Zealand partners which already own TranzRail, will take over AN’s 1067mm gauge Tasrail network in Tasmania. Under the deal, the government will provide A$10m for land restoration and A$5m for track upgrading, making the net sale value only A$7m. Residual freight and engineering operations in South Australia go to a grouping led by US short line investment group Genesee & Wyoming Inc with local firms Clyde Engineering and Transfield. According to the minister, the group has agreed to retain 42 apprentices taken on by AN and make Port Augusta its main engineering base, ’ensuring the town’s future’.Winner of the passenger operations is Great Southern Railway, a consortium of British train operating franchisee GB Railways with Serco Bank Asia and Sydney-based Macquarie Bank. According to GSR, the company is committed to expanding and improving the passenger routes it has acquired. It is committed to routing the Sydney – Perth Indian Pacific via Melbourne, extending the Alice Springs – Adelaide The Ghan to Sydney and Melbourne, improving Adelaide connections for the Overland and providing additional services to Broken Hill. These plans are backed by a A$13·4m capital expenditure programme. oThe Australian National saleLong-distance passenger servicesGreat Southern Railway (GB Railways, Serco Asia Pacific, Macquarie Bank). A$16mSouth Australia Intrastate Freight and MaintenanceGenesee & Wyoming Inc with consortium including Clyde Engineering and Transfield. A$57·4mTasrail Wisconsin Central/Tranz Rail. A$22m
Any outside hope of a coveted top-four slot almost certainly vanished on Sunday when the Reds failed to overcome a dogged West Ham outfit at Anfield. It is not exactly what was envisaged when Rodgers was installed as manager to replace Kenny Dalglish last summer. But Johnson insists there has been a marked improvement. “Brendan was brought in to rebuild the squad and put Liverpool back into the places that it should be,” said the 28-year-old. Press Association “This season has been a step closer to that. Eight times out of 10 we have dominated games. Sometimes, like against West Ham, we haven’t come away with the points that we deserve. We have battered teams but if we don’t get that early goal, it has given them encouragement.” Statistics back up Johnson’s argument to an extent. An eighth-placed finish last term is likely to become seventh at worst this, and no one at Anfield is giving up on hauling back Everton’s present three-point advantage on the run-in. With 49 points, the Reds are now just three adrift of the tally Kenny Dalglish collected last term, and relegation-threatened Reading and QPR are among their final six opponents. Yet Dalglish won the League Cup last year, and reached the FA Cup final, leaving the actual progress made under Rodgers open to interpretation. “Brendan wants to put us back in the top four but he wasn’t asked to do that in his first season,” said Johnson. “If we improve on last season then it is a step in the right direction, and we have definitely done that. It’s a few things. Look at the squad, the feeling there is around the place, the football we are playing. We won a trophy last season and of course that was fantastic. Everyone wants to win; that’s what we are in the game for. “But in terms of getting Liverpool back where they belong, we want to be back in the top four.” And Johnson is convinced the improvement will continue next season. “I wouldn’t say it has been a season when we have been so close but so far,” said Johnson. “It is clearly a better season than the last one. Brendan will look to improve again in the summer and if we can start nicking the goals we need from games like West Ham, we will be right in amongst it.” Liverpool defender Glen Johnson insists the club have moved forward under Brendan Rodgers.