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Ethics in the Public Sector 2011 CALAFCO Annual Conference David Church, San Luis Obispo LAFCO, Executive Officer Andrew Morris, Attorney, Best Best & Krieger Mona Palacios, Alameda LAFCO, Executive Officer George Williamson, AICP, Humboldt LAFCo, Executive Officer EXPLORING NEW BOUNDARIES Ethics in the Public Sector Introductions Ethics Personal & Professional Legal Requirements Why are Ethics Important? Recent Headlines Real Time Survey Case Studies Personal & Professional Ethics “I have gained this by philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law.” – Aristotle, philosopher (384-322 BCE) Personal & Professional Ethics Doing the right thing is much more than just following the rules and regulations established by law. Harry Truman said it best: “There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience.” Personal & Professional Ethics Ethical laws are premised on the overarching ethical principle of doing the right thing for the right reason. In this context, ethics has been defined as the discipline of dealing with what is good and bad with moral duty and obligation. Personal & Professional Ethics Ethics principles in public service are about promoting fidelity to universal values, such as trustworthiness, respect, responsibility and fairness. Ethical principles in public service are also about fostering the public’s confidence in our governing institutions, public servants. The #1 public service ethical principle: Is all about public officials making governmental decisions solely for the public’s best interest, rather than for their own personal and financial interests, or the special interests of their supporters. Personal & Professional Ethics Every public official needs to understand and appreciate two basic tenets of public service: You will be constantly under the media microscope and public scrutiny You will be judged sometimes unfairly for your actions Personal & Professional Ethics Ethical issues associated with public service come in all kinds of shapes and forms. Some ethical issues are very apparent, while others will be indirect and camouflaged and, at any moment, blindside the most well intended public official. Personal & Professional Ethics Whether you are new to public service, or a seasoned veteran, you must never forget the lynchpin of public service: The public expects and deserves every individual in public service to serve the public’s interest and not the personal, private, financial or political interest of the public official making the decision. Principles of Public Service Ethics TRUSTWORTHINESS Public Office = Public Trust / Honest Service FAIRNESS The People’s Business = Open Government RESPONSIBILITY Public Official’s Decisions ≠ No Bias Must be Merit Based ≠ No Personal Gain No Conflicts of Interest RESPECT Public Confidence = No appearance of impropriety Legal Requirements “In civilized life, law floats in a sea of ethics.” – (U.S. Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, 1964) California’s ethics laws set the minimum standards for public service Legal Requirements/Finding Your Way in Public Service I. General ethics laws and principles II. Four areas of ethics laws 1. Personal Financial Interests 2. Personal Advantages and Perks 3. Conduct Public Business Openly 4. Fair Process Legal Requirements/Personal Financial Interests 1. Political Reform Act (1974) (Ethical laws dealing with public officials’ financial interests) 2. Contracts (Gov. Sec. 1090) 3. Bribery Legal Requirements/Finding Your Way in Public Service I. General ethics laws and principles II. Four areas of ethics laws 1. Personal Financial Interests 2. Personal Advantages and Perks 3. Conduct Public Business Openly 4. Fair Process Legal Requirements/Personal Advantages and Perks Gifts Meals Entertainment Travel A gift is basically anything of value that provides a personal benefit for which adequate consideration was not provided in return Legal Requirements/Personal Advantages and Perks Gifts Disclose Disqualify Refuse $50+ $420/12mos. $420+ Bottom Line: Watch your calendar Estimate Track If Gift Exceeds $420: Return, Pay or Donate Legal Requirements/Personal Advantages and Perks Exceptions Gifts to public agency Gifts returned, unused gifts or donor reimbursed within 30 days Gifts from family members Gifts of hospitality Equal-value gifts on holidays, birthdays or similar occasions (other than lobbyist) Legal Requirements/Finding Your Way in Public Service I. General ethics laws and principles II. Four areas of ethics laws 1. Personal Financial Interests 2. Personal Advantages and Perks 3. Conduct Public Business Openly 4. Fair Process Legal Requirements/Conduct Public Business Openly 1. The Brown Act 2. Public Records Act “The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.” (Cal. Gov. Sec 54950) Legal Requirements/Finding Your Way in Public Service I. General ethics laws and principles II. Four areas of ethics laws 1. Personal Financial Interests 2. Personal Advantages and Perks 3. Conduct Public Business Openly 4. Fair Process Legal Requirements/Fair Process 1. Due Process 2. Bias 3. Competitive Bidding 4. Incompatible Offices 5. Incompatible Activities 6. “Revolving Door” Restrictions 7. Campaign Finances 8. Charity Fundraising Disclosure 9. Missteps 10. Best Practices Legal Requirements/Fair Process Best Practices for Decision-Makers If you think you cannot be fair, don’t participate Avoid statements before the close of a hearing Avoid the appearance of bias Pay attention Understand you will be judged by your fairness and integrity first and foremost Legal Requirements/Summary of 4 Major Areas Personal Financial Interest Conduct Public Business Openly 1. Political Reform Act 1. Brown Act 2. Contracts 2. Public Records Act 3. Redevelopment Property 4. Bribery Personal Advantages & Perks Fair Process 1. Gifts 1. Due Process 2. Honoraria 2. Bias 3. Travel/Lodging Expenses 3. Competitive Bidding 4. Loans 4. Incompatible Offices 5. Reimbursements 5. Incompatible Activities 6. Mass Mailings 6. “Revolving Door” Restrictions 7. Misuse of Public Funds 7. Campaign Finances 8. Nepotism 8. Charity Fundraising Disclosure 9. Missteps 10. Best Practices Why Are Ethics Important? “Former OC sheriff surrenders to begin prison term” Daily News “Residents stunned as scope of Bell scandal told” “Scandals fill year for LA Times county” Redland Daily “Scandals shake public's trust in local government” Ventura County Star Why Are Ethics Important? Codesof Ethics: What value do they have? APA ASPA Legal Ethics APA/AICP Code of Ethics The Code of Ethics offer codes, rulings, and procedures to help certified planners negotiate the ethical and moral dilemmas they sometimes face. A code sets standards. A code embodies values, and those values define both a profession and the behavior of those who embrace it. The first section of the code includes “aspiration” values and ideals. APA/AICP Code of Ethics The second section of the code is a list of rules. AICP can and does take enforcement actions against planners who have violated these rules of conduct. The third section provides the procedures for handling code infractions. What happens when there is an alleged violation, the rights of the planners accused, and the timetables for action. The final section, Planners Convicted of Serious Crimes — Automatic Suspension of Certification APA/AICP Code of Ethics 1. Our Overall Responsibility to the Public Our primary obligation is to serve the public interest and we, therefore, owe our allegiance to a conscientiously attained concept of the public interest that is formulated through continuous and open debate. We shall achieve high standards of professional integrity, proficiency, and knowledge. APA/AICP Code of Ethics 2. Our Responsibility to Our Clients and Employers We owe diligent, creative, and competent performance of the work we do in pursuit of our client or employer's interest. Such performance, however, shall always be consistent with our faithful service to the public interest. ASPA's Code of Ethics I. Serve the Public Interest II. Respect the Constitution & the Law III. Demonstrate Personal Integrity IV. Promote Ethical Organizations V. Strive for Professional Excellence Ethical Rules for Lawyers 1. Rules of Professional Conduct a. Professional Integrity in General b. Relationship Among Members c. Professional Relationship With Clients d. Financial Relationship With Clients 2. State Bar Act 3. Rules of the State Bar 4. California Attorney Guidelines of Civility and Professionalism Ethics Survey Real Time Polling Ethics Risk Index: Measures the Risk to Public Trust Case Studies Misusing Confidential Information “You didn’t hear this from me, but the chief petitioner’s name is Bill Chiat at 1234 Alta Mesa Circle, Napa, CA 94558, and he works at CALAFCO.” 41 Altering or Changing Documents in an Inappropriate Manner “It’s gotta look like it was always in there or we’re all in trouble; especially you, since this was your project.” 42 Bending to Political Pressure in Performing Assigned Tasks “I’m not placing any blame, but the staff report really should have been done already; you might want to think about coming in on Saturday – at least that’s what I would do.” 43 Purposefully Dishonest to Stakeholders, Members of the Public, or Others “This thing is DOA but I kept that on the down-low from the applicant; we need the extra revenue.” 44 Witnessing Abusive Behavior “You finished off the coffee again?! Congratulations, I’m going to be your worst f!@#$%& nightmare for the rest of the day!” 45 Abusing Internet and Email Privileges “Bored at work, holler back!” 46 Inappropriately Using LAFCO Funds “Souplantation…yeah, I think I have enough money to swing that.” 47 Afraid to Discuss an Issue for Fear of Retaliation by Other Co-Workers/Supervisorial Figures “Keene has been telecommuting all week, and he hasn’t even started the staff report for the Price Canyon annexation. I feel like I should remind Keene how important this is, but I know he has a big golf match next week.” 48 Observing Co-Workers/Supervisorial Figures Placing Personal Interests Ahead of LAFCO Interest “Can you come to a meeting with me this afternoon with the City of Walnut Creek to talk about that big annexation proposal? – Brendon “Hmmm, no can do. Remember, I’m hosting the Idol party tonight.” - Alexandra 49 Questions!
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