WHAT IS ETHICS? Dealing with what is good or bad Dealing with moral duty and obligations Set of moral principals or values Principles of conduct governing and individual or group
WHAT IS ETHICS? Ethics are the values and behaviors that would make the world a better place, especially if everyone engaged in them Ethics is simply… Doing the “right” thing....
ETHICS GONE BAD….. 8 Officials Charged in Bell, California Scandal Prosecutors are charging former City Manager Robert Rizzo and seven others with corruption and fraud tied to their lavish salaries. – CBS NEWS, September 2010 – Irwindale city officials charged with misappropriating public funds Four [members of the City Council] have been charged with misappropriation of public funds after they allegedly attended Broadway shows and baseball games during trips to New York to get a better bond rating for the city, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorneys office said. – San Grabiel Valley Tribune, October 2010 Mark Sanfords Emails Detail His Argentine Affair Mark Sanford coyly sang the praises of his mistresss body and agonized over their "hopelessly impossible situation of love" in emails to the woman that emerged today, just hours after the teary-eyed South Carolina governor admitted that he had an affair. – ABC News, June 2009
ETHICS GONE BAD….. Blagojevich Arrested Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, were arrested Tuesday for what U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald called a "political corruption crime spree" that included attempts to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama. – Chicago Tribune, December 2008 Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick pleads guilty to felonies, resigns – LA Times, September 2008 Spitzer Is Linked to Prostitution Ring Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who gained national prominence relentlessly pursuing Wall Street wrongdoing, has been caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a high- priced prostitute at a Washington hotel last month, according to a law enforcement official and a person briefed on the investigation. – New York Times, March 2008
UNDERLYING COMPONENTS OFPUBLIC SERVICE ETHICS Elected Officials Hold the Power of the Collective The actions of elected officials and staff must serve the best interests of the community, not narrower personnel or political interests. Elected Officials are Stewards of the Public Trust Elected officials and staff are stewards of the public’s trust and confidence, and must avoid not just improprieties, but perceptions of improprieties.
THE TWO DIMENSIONS OF PUBLIC SERVICEETHICS Ethics Laws - what we must do And Ethics - what we should do
PRINCIPLES OF ETHICS LAWS Three Principles of Ethics Laws Personal financial gain cannot appear to influence decisions Personal advantages and perks relating to office are illegal. Fairness, impartiality, and open government are essential. Article III. Chapter 2-61: Officers and Employees Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest. Employees be independent, impartial and responsible Public office not be used for personal gain Public have confidence in the integrity of its government.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ETHICS LAWS ANDETHICS Compliance challenges with ethics laws Complexity or breath of the law Ambiguity of the law Overcoming tendencies to discount the importance of the law Ethics laws are often just the starting point for most ethical analysis Teaching the law versus creating internal alarms The law is the floor, not the ceiling Just because it’s legal, does not mean it is ethical
ETHICAL VALUES Ethics is based on fundamental values that we all share regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or background. Trustworthiness Loyalty Responsibility Respect Fairness Compassion
ETHICAL DILEMMAS Personal Cost Doing the right thing will or may come to significant personal cost. Right vs. Ethically Right There are two conflicting sets of “rights” values.
SORTING THROUGH DILEMMASLevel I: First Three Questions Is this a right-versus-wrong situation? Ethics involves doing the right thing Is this a situation where one course of action arguably conflicts with your legal obligations? Do what the law requires Remember, the law is only the minimum standard Would you be embarrassed to read about your action in your local newspaper?
SORTING THROUGH DILEMMASLevel II: Additional Helpful Questions Which course of action will most build/preserve the general public’s confidence in your agency and your personal leadership? Which course of action is most consistent with your agency’s ethics code? Which decision would your mother be most proud of you for making? Which decision would you prefer other people in you situation to make? What should be common place? Is one decision more consistent with the Golden Rule? Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Are there stakeholders or other members of the public who should be invited to be part of the decision making process?
SORTING THROUGH DILEMMASLevel III: For More Complex Situations Which ethical values are in conflict (honesty, compassion, loyalty, responsibility, fairness, respect)? Difficult situations often involve competing sets of “right” values. What are the facts? What are the benefits to be achieved or the harm to be avoided by a particular decision? What are your options? Is one course of action most consistent with both sets of values? Is one course of action more consistent with a value that is particularly important to you?
GOT ETHICS? Lead by example Promote a culture of ethics Do the right thing….. “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” - Warren Buffett