Ethics in Public Service
What other questions should one ask when deciding what is ethical when faced with a decision that is not simply black and white? Take a look at this short video where several City Managers suggest those questions. Among them, Jane Chambers suggests “Always think about what is the best benefit for the public.” Jeff Kolin notes that “honesty, integrity, transparency and the ability to relate to your community I think, all are combined to create that ethical environment in which we must operate.”
But why are there so many prevalent examples of decision making by public administrators that demonstrate an inclination away from ethical decision making? Instead of giving you examples from the headlines this week, I invite you to watch these four YouTube videos which are a training video of David Killeen, an executive investigator with the Attorney General’s office and retired Highway patrolman, Washington state, addressing the common decisions that can go wrong in public administration. Do you know the rules on accepting gifts in your state? Use of state resources? Do you know specifically what constitutes a conflict of interest? Pay attention to the responses of why people make poor decisions. Have you heard them before? Remember, he is addressing his state, yours may be different.