Ehrlich signs order on staff ethics

Council created to study special-needs kids' plight

January 18, 2003|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

On his second full day on the job, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. signed two executive orders in hopes they set a tone for his administration.

The first order - largely symbolic - establishes ethical standards Ehrlich expects himself, his staff and the heads of agencies to follow.

Even though much of the order duplicates existing law or state ethics code, Ehrlich instructed his staff members to be honest, trustworthy and impartial, and to pay their taxes and adhere to civil rights laws, among other things.

"This is what he expects not only from his employees, but himself," said Henry Fawell, an Ehrlich spokesman. "He is committed to only the highest standard of conduct."

During the campaign, Ehrlich campaigned against the Democratic candidate by insinuating the party had been in power too long, resulting in "a culture of corruption" in Annapolis.

But Ehrlich also faced tough questions during the campaign about his association with several former public officials who fell from power because of ethical issues.

The governor's second executive order establishes a 17-member council that will spend the next nine months studying why some parents of children with special needs have to give up custody for their children to receive services.

Called the Council on Parental Relinquishment of Custody of Obtain Health Care Services, its members will seek ways to keep families together in such circumstances.

"The Ehrlich administration has made caring for Maryland's most vulnerable a top priority," Fawell said. "This is the first in a series of steps the governor will take to extend help to troubled families in a meaningful way."

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