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Wolf's First Action In Office Focuses On Ethics, Open Government

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- On the day before he was sworn in as governor, Tom Wolf joined students in Harrisburg performing community service.

It was a good time for KDKA political editor Jon Delano to ask, "After you take that oath shortly after noon, what do you see as your first priority for later in the day?"

"As I said, first priority is signing executive orders banning gifts to people in the executive branch. I want to sign an executive order that makes the contracting of legal contracts fairer and more transparent," responded Wolf.

Once sworn in, Wolf assembled all his Cabinet members in the Governor's reception area to witness their swearing-in, and then he proceeded to sign two executive orders designed to help clean up state government.

On Wednesday, Wolf and senior staff took part in several hours of training on ethics and open records rules -- conducted by Terry Mutchler, the first and most recent director of the state's open records office.

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Ten days ago, Wolf criticized what he called a last-minute midnight appointment by Gov. Tom Corbett to replace Mutchler, whose term is up, with Erik Arneson, a Republican Senate staff member, to head this office for the next six years at $140,000 a year.

"I'm concerned about the process. I think this is the kind of thing that makes people legitimately skeptical about their public servants that this kind of thing happens. It seems like gamesmanship, and I don't understand it," Wolf said in Pittsburgh.

Delano: "Can you rescind this on Jan. 20?"

Wolf: "We'll see."

Delano: "Are you actively looking to see whether or not you can do that?"

Wolf: "I'm looking at all kinds of possibilities."

The governor's office says Wolf is still reviewing the matter, and no decision to challenge the appointment has yet been made.

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