Riley needs to rethink contract

Published 3:30 am Friday, October 23, 2009

Excuse us?

Gov. Bob Riley has traveled around the state to talk about upping the ethical standards in state government.

He wants to let the sun shine in. The state and local government should open up; officials should be held accountable for their actions, the governor said.

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Riley released a list of measures that would have officeholders, their families and lobbyists to publicly disclose their money dealings.

He has proposed to give the Ethics Commission subpoena power; require full discosure of gifts, meals, travel, tickets to sporting events and other items of value provided by lobbyists to public officials or family members.

He’s even put the state’s checkbook online as a way of showing his move toward transparency.

On its face all of this is laudable.

But there’s a catch.

At the same time, Riley has publicly announced he’ll sign a $13 million computer contract. There were no bids taken for the contract. The company has no business telephone listing and no Web site.

Riley said he sees no reason not to sign the contract with Paragon Source, although the contract was held up for 45 days by a legislative oversight committee. That committee’s chair has asked the governor not to sign the extension.

The governor should reconsider his action on the contract and apply as strict a standard on this dealing as he does with the nuts and bolts of state and local government.