Shafritz, J. M., Russell, E. W., & Borick, C. P. (2013). Introducing public administration
(8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Reading Assignment Chapter 5:
Honor, Ethics, and Accountability
Ethics and social justice are areas that can be quite difficult to discuss and understand at times. Honor is a principle that precedes the code of ethics. Without honor, there is no moral value or concept that is being followed, and this will eventually lead to a person not being able to follow an ethical pathway. Honor serves as the foundation for ethical decision-making and serves as one of the pillars for doing trusted business with administration, organizations, and creating policies. An area where social justice, honor, and ethics play an important role is in dealing with the distribution of revenues for schools, sewerage treatment plants, and infrastructures. A county can have an affluent community, higher property values, and the highest taxes, but the monies that are being collected could inadvertently be transferred to less affluent neighborhoods within that county, used for other schools and renovations outside that particular community, and also be used for other projects. The community paying high taxes will not see the benefits of their monies being spent for their own projects because it may be spent in another location of the county due to the distribution. Residents may have the opportunity to fight for incorporation, whereby some funds would be kept within the locations of residence, but there will be challenges faced, and maybe for many years, regarding the spending of monies within their own jurisdiction. The concept of social justice is ethically challenged based on how public administration is integrating funds directly or indirectly into that community. When the leadership changes, the overall political ideology changes regarding funding, social justice, and social equality, and the distribution of revenue to other less affluent communities are keys to social justice becoming a double-edged sword. One of situations that public administrators can find themselves in centers upon contracts and acceptance of those contracts. A company can be bidding for a designated contract regarding technology, camera installation, or a safety system for example, but one of the top contending vendors has asked for a dinner engagement. Normally, this practice occurs in the business world, but the problem arises when there is a conflict of interest. The meeting may be “off the cuff,” but getting to know the person, the business, and the opportunities that are presented may influence the deal. The final decision may be directed towards the company or person whom has dined with the decision-maker. One has to question whether or not this practice is fair and morally and ethically acceptable, and how accountable this person may be regarding the final decision being made between the companies that were in the bidding process. Nowadays, many corporations and civilian government standards are in place stating moral and ethical guidelines will be UNIT III STUDY GUIDE Understanding Honor, Ethics, and How Accountability Integrate Public Administration PUA 5301, Administration of Public Institutions 2 UNIT x STUDY GUIDE Title followed, gift acceptance will not be allowed (or beneath a specified amount of monies), and ensuring the position is not being used for political gain or a hierarchical advancement within the corporation. In another example of moral and ethical decision-making within public organizations, one has to take into consideration if a person has approached another official in making a preemptive offer. A local town may be looking for a number of new vehicles for their fleet to be updated. The local car dealer is aware that the organization is looking for new vehicles and approaches the person who is in charge of making the decisions. The dealership presents the facts about their line(s) of vehicles they can offer to the organization and is willing to work on a multiple purchase deal. The moral and ethical decision is now the burden of the person who has been approached. Does the person contact the dealership and request quotes for the vehicles wishing to be purchased, or merely stay away from the offer being made? On one hand, there is the temptation of moving forward with the research and possibly saving the town some money in the end. On the other hand, the ethical dilemma has arisen here after having been approached as an elected official. It is fine to perhaps research and consider pricing for the vehicles; however, the greater influence of bias may be present because the dealership approached the elected official prior to a meeting regarding the new vehicle purchases. There is no harm in looking for a quote with the dealership, but if the dealership does happen to win the bid and a vote is necessary there may be a moral and ethical conflict of interest for the elected official since that person was approached prior to the bidding process.