Public Trust & Ethics

Overview

Public Trust & Ethics

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

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.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

Why Home Rule Is the Birthright of California’s Cities

Local control, or home rule, provides the foundation for city governance. This article examines the state’s history and the Legislature’s tradition of meddling in local affairs.

Article President’s Message José Cisneros

Taking Service to the Next Level With 311

The 311 Customer Service Center operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide access to City and County of San Francisco government information and services. The goal is to assist callers…

Article Features The Institute For Local Government Public Engagement Team

Technology, Tools and Techniques to Reach Your Community

Local governments use a wide variety of technology options in their efforts to connect with their communities. While some technology may be costly, many options are reasonably priced and the range…

Article City Forum Melissa Kuehne

Use Free Technology to Enhance Public Meetings

Local governments can access free resources and borrow equipment, including keypad polling devices and translation gear, to enhance public meetings and engage the community.

Deciding When to Step Aside From the Decision-Making Process: Abstentions And Disqualifications
Part 2 of 2

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…

Sustainability Yields Fiscal and Economic Benefits

New resources offer practical tips to enhance cities’ economic prosperity and fiscal health.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

Are City Governments the Last Bastion Of Democracy?

Cities are not just the laboratories of democracy; they may well also be its salvation.

Article Features Frank Benest

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…

Article City Forum Melissa Kuehne

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.

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Deciding When to Step Aside From the Decision-Making Process: Abstentions And Disqualifications
Part 1 of 2

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.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

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…

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

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…

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…

Article President’s Message José Cisneros

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…

Article City Forum Bill Bogaard

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…

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

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…

Resources to Help Promote Public Trust and Confidence in Local Government

The competency of both local officials and staff provides a basis for establishing public trust and confidence. Elements of ethics, public input and transparency also play a key role.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

Can Art and Emotion Inspire Effective Leadership?

Artist and speaker Erik Wahl’s performance at the League’s recent annual conference inspired city officials to think creatively about the skills they may have that can be put to work in serving…