Ethical Considerations in the Public Sector
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Stay out of the headlines - understand your ethical responsibilities as a public employee. From Washington D.C., to the state house and city hall, accusations of conflicts of interest and ethical misconduct are in the headlines every day. Being a public official or public employee, sometimes it feels like someone has painted an ethics target on your back. Sometimes the ethical lapses are due to ignorance of the many laws. Knowing the ethical laws can help avoid being sucked in the fray. While the technicalities of the law vary from state to state or city to city, there are some basic principles that any public servant can observe to steer clear of the ethics law. This material will give public officials and public employees the warning signs that behavior may approach breaching ethics laws. The topic will look at real life situations from the perspective of someone who was both a prosecutor who investigated public officials and a counsel who tried to help his clients navigate through the landmines to ultimately serve the public. This information is critical for public officials and employees who want to stay out of the headlines for accusations of ethical misconduct or corruption.
AuthorsMark T. Morodomi, Former Supervising Attorney, City of Oakland
Ethics Laws: Landmines, Temptations, or Arrogance
• The Front Page Test: Alabama Governor Bentley - Why Are Prosecutors Looking at a Governor Who Was Having an Affair With a Staff Member?
• What Is a Conflict of Interest Under the Law vs. Under Common Sense? What Are the Laws in My State?
• Is Everyone out to Get Me? Maybe, but in Any Event It's Better to Avoid the Government Investigation
Personal and Not so Personal Financial Gain
• How Do I Steer Clear From Going to Jail for Bribery?
• How Is a Financial Conflict of Interest Different From Bribery? Am I Clear so Long as My Bank Account Doesn't Benefit?
• Can I Leverage My Public Job to Get a Job After My Term Is Done?
Perks of Office
• I Got Elected, so I Get to Enjoy All the Government's Perks of Power, or Can I?
• After My Election, Everyone Likes Me and Wants to Give Some Kind of Gift, What Do I Do?
• I Have Plenty of Leftover Campaign Funds; It's My Money Isn't It?
Nepotism and Other Nonfinancial Conflicts of Interest
• Am I Disqualified From Making Governmental Decisions Involving My Political Contributors?
• Can I Help My Relatives?
• What Is This Thing Called "Due Process of Law?"
• Am I the King of My Board Meetings? Who Cares What the Public Has to Say?
• Can I Just Put "Confidential" on a Document to Shield It From Public Disclosure?
• Disclosure of Political Contributions
• What to Do If Suspect an Ethical Violation by Someone Else?
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