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Everyday Ethics for Local Officials Archive

Title Issue
Getting Public Employees Off to a Good Start

Getting Public Employees Off to a Good Start

How does one sensitize the public agency’s workforce to the special obligations of being a public agency staff member? Strategies include discussing practical examples from the media to help demonstrate the importance of ethics and providing a brochure with clear language for new employees.

October 2014
When Tragedy Strikes: A Leader’s Role, Revisited

When Tragedy Strikes: A Leader’s Role, Revisited

When a tragic event occurs and an investigation follows, it’s helpful for elected local officials to keep a few key issues in mind.

August 2014
Deciding When to Step Aside From the Decision-Making Process: Abstentions And Disqualifications

Deciding When to Step Aside From the Decision-Making Process: Abstentions And Disqualifications

The issues related to refraining from participation in an agency decision can be vexing. It may be tempting to abstain because of concerns about making an unpopular decision or simply not knowing which decision is best. Nevertheless, making decisions is what officials are elected to do.

June 2014
Deciding When to Step Aside From the Decision-Making Process: Abstentions And Disqualifications

Deciding When to Step Aside From the Decision-Making Process: Abstentions And Disqualifications

The issue of when to refrain from participating in an agency decision can be vexing. This is an area where the law provides some but not all of the answers.

April 2014
Agency Romances: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

Agency Romances: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

Romantic relationships in the public agency workplace raise a number of ethical issues and carry significant risks. This article explores the problems such relationships can create for the agency and its employees and looks at the potential adverse impacts on community perception of the agency’s credibility.

February 2014
Understanding the New Travel-Related Exceptions to California’s Gift Rules

Understanding the New Travel-Related Exceptions to California’s Gift Rules

California’s Fair Political Practices Commission recently reorganized and — in some instances — relaxed the rules on when a public official may accept free or discounted travel. The changes take effect Jan. 1, 2014. Anytime a public official travels at a free or discounted rate, he or she must consider how the travel rules apply. Generally, payments to an official for travel are gifts that must be reported. The new travel rules emphasize disclosure.

December 2013
Using Public Resources: Special Issues Around Expenses and Expense Reimbursement

Using Public Resources: Special Issues Around Expenses and Expense Reimbursement

Tips for public agency employees on travel, expense reimbursement and credit card usage.

October 2013
Using Public Resources for Gifts and Charitable Purposes

Using Public Resources for Gifts and Charitable Purposes

Many agencies are finding their spending decisions under increasing scrutiny.

August 2013
Who Gets to Use Agency Seals, Logos, Letterhead and Other Insignia?

Who Gets to Use Agency Seals, Logos, Letterhead and Other Insignia?

Examining how other local agencies handle these issues provides a helpful starting place for determining which approach best serves your agency’s needs.

June 2013
Get Your Public Meetings Back on Track

Get Your Public Meetings Back on Track

Disruptions in public meetings seem to be increasingly common. This article offers tips for local agency officials on handling conflict and strategies to help make meetings more productive.

April 2013