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Ethics%20and%20Public%20Service

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Title: PowerPoint Presentation Author: speersj Last modified by: JoAnne Speers (Institute for Local Government) Created Date: 9/16/2005 8:03:57 PM – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Ethics%20and%20Public%20Service


1
Ethics and Public Service
  • Laws, Principles and Resources for Information

2
Session Objectives
  1. To familiarize you with laws that govern your
    service and when to ask questions
  2. To encourage you to think beyond legal
    restrictions and provide tools for doing so
  3. Help you comply with AB 1234 requirements

3
Public Service Ethics is Different
  • Laws play a bigger role
  • Perception as important as reality
  • Key concept Actions decision-making in the
    publics interest

4
Session Logistics
  • 2 hour session
  • Specified content
  • Breadth versus depth
  • Handouts
  • Questions
  • Proof of participation
  • Sign in
  • Certificates

5

What Is Ethics Anyway?
6
Ethics Versus Ethics Laws
  • Ethics what we ought to do
  • Laws what we must do
  • Minimum standards
  • Penalties
  • Legal ? ethical

7
What We Ought to Do Values
  • Respect
  • Fairness
  • Compassion
  • Trustworthiness
  • Loyalty
  • Responsibility

8
Responsibility Issues
  • Making decisions for others
  • Stewards of taxpayers resources
  • Perception matters
  • Personal and organizational ethics

9
Understanding Ethics Laws
  • What They Cover
  • When You Need to Ask Questions

10
Why Should You Take the Time?
  • Loss of freedom--6 months to 20 years
  • Fines (up to 250,000) restitution
    forfeiture
  • Attorneys fees (3K to 1M)
  • Own and others
  • Personal costs

11
State Ethics Laws
  • Personal financial gain
  • Personal advantages and perks
  • Governmental transparency
  • Fair processes

12
Group 1 Personal Financial Gain Issues
  • Principles
  • Publics interest should be sole motivation
  • Public servants should not benefit financially
    from their positions

Personal Gain
13
Examples of Financial Gain Laws
  • Bribery
  • Prohibitions against self-dealing
  • Employment-related restrictions

14
Bribery
  • Public officials may not
  • Solicit, receive or agree to receive
  • A benefit
  • In exchange for their official actions

15
Bribery and Related Crimes
  • Beware of this for that
  • Think about what you would say if someone
    approached you

16
Bribery Penalties
  • Up to four years in state prison
  • Loss of office
  • Barred from holding office
  • Fines/restitution
  • Federal prosecutions stiffer penalties

17
No Self-Dealing Rules
  • Disqualification/conflicts of interest rules
  • Special rules for contracts

18
Disqualification Based on Financial Interests
  • Rule You may not participate in a decision if
    financial interests are affected by a decision
  • Effect can be positive or negative

19
Disqualification versus Abstention
  • Disqualification gt Legally required
  • Does not imply wrongdoing
  • Unless dont disqualify
  • Abstention gt voluntary
  • Beyond minimum legal requirements

20
Getting Advice on PRA Issues
  • Your agency attorney
  • No immunity though
  • The FPPC
  • In writing
  • Allow plenty of time

21
If You Are Disqualified
  1. Dont discuss or influence (staff or
    colleagues)
  2. Identify nature of conflict at meeting
  3. (Elected Officials) Leave room (unless matter on
    consent)

22
Failure to Step Aside Penalties
  • Invalidate decision
  • Misdemeanor (could result in loss of office)
  • Fines (5,000 to 10,000 per violation)
  • Attorneys fees
  • Embarrassment

23
Warning! Special Rules for Contracts
  • Interests in contracts are forbidden
  • Disqualification likely not be enough
  • Penalties Refund money received,
  • fines, imprisonment, and loss of office (felony)

24
Future Employment Issues
  • Revolving door prohibition
  • Electeds and top managers
  • Cannot represent people for pay for a year after
    leaving their agency
  • No participation in decisions involving future
    employers

25
Key Things to Remember
  • Its about the publics interest
  • Not about the money

26
For More Information on Personal Financial Gain
Laws
www.ca-ilg.org/FinancialGain
27
Group 2 Perks
  • Principles
  • Democratic equality and serving the publics
    interests
  • No special privileges for public officials

PERKS
28
Three Areas
  • Compensation
  • Use-of-public-resources issues
  • Personal Use/Expense Reimbursement
  • Political Use
  • Gifts

29
Local Official Compensation
  • Limited by law
  • No honoraria rule for speaking or writing
  • (page 7 Perks)

30
Use-of-Public-Resources Issues
  • Personal use of public resources (including staff
    time and agency equipment) prohibited
  • Political use of public resources also prohibited

31
Public Resources
  • Money or anything paid
  • for with public money
  • Staff time
  • Office space
  • Equipment
  • Supplies

32
Reimbursement Issues Its the Publics Money
  • AB 1234 expense reimbursement policies
  • Note Partner/spouse expenses

33
Political Use of Public Resources
  • By individuals or agency itself (support of
    ballot measures)
  • Mass mailing restrictions
  • Goal restrict incumbents advantages

34
Consequences of Violations
  • Civil penalties 1,000/day fine 3X value of
    resource used
  • Criminal penalties 2-4 year prison term
    disqualification from office
  • Can also have income tax implications

35
Gifts Dont Always Have Bows
  • Meals, food and drink
  • Entertainment (concerts sporting events)
  • Certain kinds of travel

36
Gift Rules
  • Report 50 and up (over a year)
  • Limit 440 per year (2013 2014 proposed)
  • Exceptions for some kinds of travel,
    informational materials
  • May also be a disqualifying interest (over 440
    in prior 12 months)

37
Gift Limits State Law Penalties
  • Up to 5,000 per violation
  • Own attorneys fees (3,000 - 30,000)

38
Special Rule
  • No free transportation from transportation carrie
    rs
  • Penalty Loss of office

39
Key Things to Remember
  • Avoid rationalization traps
  • Beware of peoples nice gestures

40
For More Information on Perk Issues
www.ca-ilg.org/Perks
41
Group 3 Transparency Laws
  • Principles
  • Its the publics business
  • The public trusts a process it can see

Secrecy
42
Types of Laws
  • Financial Disclosure
  • Charitable Fundraising
  • Brown Act
  • Public Records Act

43
Financial Interest Disclosure
  • Transparency includes obligation for high level
    public servants to disclose financial interests
  • Assuming office
  • Annually while in office
  • Upon leaving office

44
Charitable Fundraising
  • Rule applies to elected officials
  • Disclose 5,000 or more from single source
  • Charitable, legislative or governmental purpose

45
More Transparency Rules
  • Conduct business in open and publicized meetings
  • Allow public to participate in meetings
  • Allow public inspection of records

46
Conducting Business at Open Meetings
  • A majority may not consult outside an
    agency-convened meeting
  • Media vigilance
  • Newspaper test

47
Public Records
  • Agendas writings prepared, owned, used or
    retained by agency (including electronic)
  • Penalties Adverse media attention costs and
    fees if litigated

48
Key Things to Remember
  • Whos going to know? is a very risky line of
    thinking
  • Nothing to hide may be a good goal

49
For More Information on Transparency
www.ca-ilg.org/TransparencyLaws
50
Group 4 Fair Process Laws
  • Principle Under certain circumstances, public
    officials are stewards of fair processes
  • Decision-making
  • Contracting
  • Employment

Favoritism
51
Fair Process Laws
  • Due process requirements and rules against bias
  • Expressions of views prior to hearing
  • Personal, but non-financial interests

52
Fair Process Laws, continued
  • Disqualification requirements if decision
    involves family members
  • Nepotism

53
Campaign Contribution Issues
  • State law campaign contribution restrictions
  • Demands for contributions in exchange for
    favorable action federal fraud and extortion
  • Soliciting campaign contributions from fellow
    officials and employees prohibited

54
Fair Process Laws, continued
  • Incompatible office prohibitions
  • Issues Conflicting loyalties overlapping
    jurisdictions
  • Result forfeit first position

55
Fair Process Laws, continued
  • Competitive bidding requirements
  • Everyone has a right to compete for agencys
    business
  • Competition produces the best price for taxpayers
  • Prevents graft
  • Kickbacks prosecutable under federal fraud and
    extortion laws

56
Key Things to Remember
  • Focus on
  • The merits of decisions
  • Providing fair decision-making processes

57
For More Information on Fair Process Laws
www.ca-ilg.org/FairProcess
58
Resources
  • Cross Reference
  • Attorney General
  • FPPC
  • www.ca-ilg.org
  • Also www.ca-ilg.org/everydayethics

59
Beyond the Law Public Service Ethics Principles
60
Applying Values to Public Service
  • Trustworthiness
  • I am truthful with my fellow officials, the
    public and others.

61
Ethics Values
  • Six universal ethical values
  • Trustworthiness
  • Loyalty
  • Responsibility
  • Publics interest
  • Respect
  • Fairness
  • Compassion

62
Analyzing Ethical Dilemmas
  • Two competing right values
  • Doing the right thing costs more than one wants
    to pay (moral courage)

63
Example
  • Supporter(s) want you to do something you arent
    sure is best for public
  • Right versus right dilemma (loyalty versus
    responsibility)
  • Can then become a personal cost dilemma

64
Questions to Ask
  • What values are at stake in a particular
    decision?
  • What would make the public feel best/inspire
    public confidence?
  • What would you want to read about on the front
    page?
  • How do you want to be remembered?

65
Organizational Culture
  • Whats the message?
  • Doing it right versus whatever it takes
  • Are staff clear they are expected to use ethical
    behaviors to get results?
  • How it looks-- Awareness of public perception

66
Creating a Culture of Ethics
  • Tone at the top
  • Support speaking truth to power
  • Who you hire and how they are evaluated

67
Is it a Job to Do, or a Job to Have?
  • Determine your boundaries before you are in a
    difficult situation
  • Is it worth compromising your values to keep your
    job/position?
  • Think long term People will ask what did you
    know and what did you do about it?

68
Key Lessons
  • Its your choice how high you want to set your
    sights above the minimum requirements of the law
  • The law sets minimumsometimes quite high--
    standards for ethical behavior
  • Violations of ethics laws carry stiff penalties
  • When in doubt, ask and ask early

69
For More Information on Promoting Personal and
Organizational Ethics
www.ca-ilg.org/ppoe
70
AB 1234 Compliance
  • Sign in
  • Proof of participation certificate
  • Provide to custodian of records as public record
  • Consider going beyond the minimum in terms of
    education

71
Questions?
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