Global Panel Addresses Government Accountability

State Representatives Meet with Visitors from Around the Globe
September 16, 2011

Assemblyman Will Barclay (R,C,I – Pulaski) and Assemblyman Bob Oaks (R,C—Macedon) today met with leaders from around the world at an informal panel discussion titled “Accountability in Government” in conjunction with the International Center of Syracuse and SUNY Oswego. The discussion was held at SUNY Oswego.

International community leaders from countries such as Lebanon, Russia, Venezuela, the People’s Republic of China were part of the panel. Other local panelists included Maureen McPherson, the State Attorney General’s public integrity officer for the Syracuse region; Fred Vigeant with WRVO; and Dr. Eileen Gilligan, SUNY Oswego professor and former reporter.

The international visitors traveled to the Central New York region through the International Center of Syracuse, which worked with Phelps Stokes, an organization that aims to develop the educational leadership capacity of underserved communities for the U.S. Department of State. The trip was designed to fulfill the following U.S. State Department goals:

  • To explain the role and structure of ethics in government in the United States and to explore best practices underlying transparency and accountability.
  • To examine similarities and differences in approaches of ethical conduct between government and the private sector in the United States.
  • To address international efforts to strengthen ethical leadership in governments and businesses worldwide;
  • To examine the effect of transparency on trade, investment and economic development.

The visitors also were scheduled to meet with auditors, local government leaders and watchdog organizations to learn about government accountability earlier this week.

“Today’s discussion was educational, to say the least. Listening to leaders throughout the world talk about their desire and need for government accountability helps us appreciate our freedoms and democracy here. I hope we were able to provide some ideas they can use that helps improve transparency and accountability in their respective communities,” said Assemblyman Will Barclay.

“Transparency, accountability and ethics relating to investment and economic development are critical if we expect to enjoy a credible economic recovery,” Assemblyman Bob Oaks said. “I am grateful to be a participant in this Phelps Stokes Fund project that examines the relationship between government and the private sector.”

“It is interesting to have leaders from around the world converge on this important topic. Our international visitors all have an interest in protecting their countries from faulty products, as well as tracking how public dollars are spent. I’m glad to be a part of this discussion today,” said Ruth Ragonese, Executive Director of the International Center of Syracuse.