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Topic - Public Trust & Ethics Archive

Title Issue
Is Your City Council Stifling Innovation? Tips to Promote Smart Risk-Taking

Is Your City Council Stifling Innovation? Tips to Promote Smart Risk-Taking

Innovation requires risk-taking — not wild gambles, but calculated risks. Unless council members and top management create an environment that encourages “smart” risks, there will be little if any innovation regardless of how much the council desires it.

April 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
Free Tools to Help With the City Budget Process

Free Tools to Help With the City Budget Process

The municipal budget process typically begins in the spring. City officials and staff can find a wide range of free materials online to assist in budget creation, financial management and more.

April 2014
The Alchemy of Leadership and the Consent of the Governed

The Alchemy of Leadership and the Consent of the Governed

What impact does the public’s distrust of government officials have on how people perceive leadership? Why do some unpopular leaders later achieve prominence while other more popular leaders quickly fade from public memory? Is “effective leadership” a transient quality, changing over time as public needs and opinions shift, or is it constant and unchangeable?

March 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
How Local Officials Can Support Citizenship and Civic Participation

How Local Officials Can Support Citizenship and Civic Participation

Approximately 2.5 million “lawful permanent residents” living in California are eligible to become U.S. citizens. Local officials can leverage their leadership to encourage naturalization efforts and strengthen their communities.

January 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
Accountability and Transparency in Local Government

Accountability and Transparency in Local Government

In the wake of the Bell scandal the League condemned the breach of public trust and took steps to facilitate public access to critically important city government information, such as the salaries of city managers and elected officials. At the same time the League and its local government partners assisted Bell’s residents and newly elected leaders in reforming their government and rebuilding public trust.

December 2013
Making City Operations More Transparent

Making City Operations More Transparent

Most residents want to know how decisions — particularly budget-related decisions — are made at the local level and how much a particular course of action is going to cost the city and its taxpayers. Technology offers a number of ways to do this.

December 2013
Walnut Creek Takes a Graphic Approach to Its Budget

Walnut Creek Takes a Graphic Approach to Its Budget

The city did something dramatically different with its budget report to capture the community’s attention about a looming deficit.

November 2013
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