by Ray Bendici
Jan 8, 2013
09:05 AMUnsteady Habits
A Guide to Municipal Ethics
So I saw the other day that in a timely response to the Ganim corruption scandal, the city of Bridgeport is finally trying to bring ethics training to employees at City Hall. The effort, although noble in conception, however seems as though it will have challenges in execution for myriad reasons, including both a lack of resources dedicated to the plan and enforcement.
Well, although I've never had any formal ethics training, nor have I ever been called "a person of high ethical character," I still thought I could help out here. I have devised a short list of suggestions that I thought employees with questions about ethics could refer to in lieu of actual training.
This guide I share for free, which should be appealing to Bridgeport taxpayers as well as employees of other municipalities across the state and really anyone who has questions in regard to ethical conduct.
Anyway, here is—
A 10-Step Guide to Municipal Ethics
1. Do not steal from the people whom you serve.
2. Do not sit by and watch other people steal from the people whom you serve. As they say, "If you see something, say something."
3. Using city resources and services for personal gain and without permission, surreptitiously funneling "unused" city funds into your personal bank account or taking random office items from around City Hall are all considered "stealing," believe it or not.
4. The vast majority of legitimate contractors and business people in your community—I'd say about 100 percent—do not "fix things" with unmarked envelopes full of cash, so do not accept one. They also don't pay or "tip" with BMWs and diamond bracelets, or by installing a hot tub in your summer home for free.
5. If a deal or contract sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Ask for the details and don't accept an all-expenses trip to the Bahamas as an opportunity to "think about it."
6. If you are married, don't date other married people in the City Hall (or anywhere else, really).
7. If you are single or married, don't use your public email account, city-issued phone or social media account to send "flattering" images of yourself taken in the hopes of currying favor with a potential love interest. Ditto sending provocative vocal or text messages.
8. Ultimately, you are responsible for—and getting paid to do—your job, so accept blame when you make mistakes. Don't deny your responsibility or pass it off on a hapless subordinate, tempting as it may be to do so.
9. If you find that following these suggestions too much of a challenge, immediately resign and look for a new job in a field not supported by taxpayer funds or in the public eye, like sheepherding.
10. When in doubt on anything, see No. 1
Hope this helps! You're all welcome