Reviewing code of ethics

The International City/County Managers Association (ICMA) has adopted a Code of Ethics that serve as the foundation for local government management profession. A review of these principles reminds me of my year-round responsibility in the following areas:

Tenet 1. Be dedicated to the concepts of effective and democratic local government by responsible elected officials and believe that professional general management is essential to the achievement of this objective.

Tenet 2. Affirm the dignity and worth of the services rendered by government and maintain a constructive, creative, and practical attitude toward local government affairs and a deep sense of social responsibility as a trusted public servant.

Tenet 3. Demonstrate by word and action the highest standards of ethical conduct and integrity in all public, professional, and personal relationships. Administrators should conduct themselves to maintain public confidence in their position and profession, the integrity of their local government, and demonstrates that they cannot be improperly influenced in the performance of their official duties.

Tenet 4. Serve the best interests of the people. Administrators should inform their governing body of the anticipated effects of a decision on people in their jurisdictions, especially if specific groups may be disproportionately harmed or helped. To ensure that all the people within their jurisdiction can actively engage with their local government, administrators should strive to eliminate barriers to public involvement in decisions, program, and services.

Tenet 5. Submit policy proposals to elected officials; provide them with facts and advice on matters of policy as a basis for making decisions and setting community goals; and uphold and implement local government policies adopted by elected officials.

Tenet 6. Recognize that elected representatives are entitled to the establishment of local government policies; responsibility for policy execution rests with the administrators.

Tenet 7. Refrain from all political activities which undermine public confidence in professional administrators.

Tenet 8. Make it a duty continually to improve the administrator’s professional ability and to develop the competence of associates in the use of management techniques. Each administrator should assess his or her professional skills and abilities on a periodic basis and commit to professional development.

Tenet 9. Keep the community informed; encourage communication between citizens and all local government officers; emphasize friendly and courteous service to the public; and seek to improve the quality and image of public service.

Tenet 10. Resist any encroachment on professional responsibilities. The administrator should openly share information with the governing body while diligently carrying out the administrator’s responsibilities as set forth in charter.

Tenet 11. Handle all matters of personnel based on merit so that fairness and impartiality govern an administrator’s decisions, pertaining to appointments, pay adjustments, promotions, and discipline.

Tenet 12. Public office is a public trust. An administrator shall not leverage his or her position for personal gain or benefit. In any instance where there is a conflict of interest, appearance of a conflict of interest, or personal financial gain of an administrator, the administrator shall disclose to the organization. Administrators shall not disclose to others, or use to advance their personal interest, confidential information, or information that is not yet public knowledge, that has been acquired by them in the course of their official duties. Information that may be in the public domain or accessible by means of an open records request, is not confidential.

The above Code of Ethics is designed to help administrators conduct their work honestly and with integrity thereby ensuring the effectiveness of representative democracy and the value of government services.

I pledge to uphold these principles in my conduct and decisions to merit the trust of the public, elected officials, and staff.

Sharon Hanson is the city administrator for the City of Marshall


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