The article starts by talking about the unethical practices taking place in the American Government. Such are bribes, payoffs, kickbacks, contracts issued without biding for major campaign contributions and many others. The government is practices corruption, dishonesty and malfeasance leading to decline in the citizens trust in the government. Ethics refers to a disposition of a people, society or culture some of which are codified on civil or criminal law to be observed by everyone in the society. For instance, taking advantage of one in a business transaction is deemed unethical.
American Society for Public Administration advances the processes, science and art of administration with the aim of enhancing public awareness of moral standards. This is done through the laid down principles like service to public being service beyond oneself, those at public service being responsible to the sovereign people, affirmative action, and equal opportunity among others.
Windham County is on the spotlight of corruption with county development issues central to the county politics. Developers and contractors are major financiers of political campaigns with the scheme of getting county development contracts once their chosen candidates win the elections. For instance, in the past 15 years, three elected county officials have been indicted with two being convicted for vote peddling to developers. The county director of planning even resigned amid allegations of receiving consultation fees from an investment company which holds substantial amount of land in the county.
The question of the Bluestone Golf Course has rocked the county with several queries and conflicts arising from it. There was a plan by the County Council to swap the Bluestone land with a developer for an unspecified amount which was believed to profit both parties handsomely with the county receiving $50 to $75 million per year. This was believed to be a corrupt deal. The Bluestone land was to be converted into a park and nature preserve; however, this was opposed by the Emergency Housing Action Coalition which insisted that any development had to include affordable housing which would accommodate Windham Countys little income and homeless people.
After 3 years of commotion Resolution 252 which was believed to bring the matter to a closure was reached. This indicated that a section of the county executive, the planning and development directors and the president of the council would review the proposals, negotiate relevant changes with the developers then recommend one to the full council by 1st November after which the council would hold a 2 month public hearings to either vote the proposal up or down.
As a young planner in this case, I feel indebted to make more follow ups and know exactly why the figures from the Department of Transport are inflated. They are totally different from the ones prepared earlier. Its absolutely necessary to report my suspicions. Its so clear that corruption is taking the centre stage in this project. I think in this situation its prudent to call Anne Fogarty. She is the person whose number I am going to call and inquire why the sudden inflation on the figures from Department of Transport.
Corruption is evidently taking the center stage in this case. From all indications there is no doubt that my boss is part of the deal to swindle funds. Morally, if I fail to report my suspicions in this case then I am absolutely guilty of ethical violation. This is because as a law abiding citizen I am expected to uphold and protect my integrity as well as stop any stealing of public funds no matter the magnitude of the personalities involved. Failing to report such theft is like being an accomplice to it. If any person witness such a corrupt deal and remain silent over it then he or she should be greatly penalized for not protecting the constitution and therefore being part of the plot to steal funds even if he or she does not benefit from it. If I dont think that I have an obligation to pursue this matter then my reason can very simple. Being a young planner and my boss is involved, I presume that the issue is beyond me and therefore reserve my thoughts and remain totally silent on it.
The American Society for Public Administration plays a role in advancing the processes, science and art of public administration. The society works with laid down principles to increase public awareness of morality in public service. Therefore ASPA advices me to; Be of service to the public and not just to oneself, be responsible to the sovereign people when in public service, to respect the law while in public service but instead, serve publics best interest where laws require change, become ambiguous or leave discretion. ASPA further guides me to be efficient and effective in public administration and encourage call of attention to any kind of wrongdoing. To support, implement and promote the merit system, affirmative action principles and equal opportunities for everyone. To safeguard public trust, avoid conflict of interest, gifts, favours or bribes for private gains while in public position and be conscious enough in selecting courses of action, pursue the right course through timely and robust execution of responsibilities.
Ethically, it would be a prudent idea to let the Windham Journal know my suspicions and investigate to ascertain the truth of the matter. This is being patriotic and serving the country. Its also in the interest of the public that there money is protected from theft and if I am in a position to help stop theft then I will gladly do it. After leaking my suspicion to Windham Journal, I believe they will investigate and unearth the whole plan to swindle public funds. The consequences will be detrimental to my boss who is likely to step aside to pave way for investigations, and given the overwhelming evidence of corruption, he may be found guilty and relieved of his duties and served with a jail term. This may not go well with other who may realize I am the course of the alarm. I may also face discrimination by other corrupt institutions and consequently fail to secure employment with them.
Sure, in this situation, reporting my suspicions is best when done anonymously. This will protect me from the enemies of progress who may choose to harm me. It will also not expose me to troubles with my seniors in the office. It will save me the problem of having bad blood with my boss too. In this case being a whistle blower publicly may land you to problems. My boss already feels that I am suspicious of dubious numbers from the Department of Transport. I therefore have no choice but if I have to report then I must do it anonymously. The problem at hand is of significant consequences both to me and my boss. I would not like to expose myself as the whistle blower instead act anonymously.
I will report that there is a scheme to steal from the public and my boss and Ann Fogarty are part of it. The numbers are revised suspiciously from the previous ones and no one is willing to substantiate the reason behind it. I will not hesitate to mention my boss and Fogarty. This is because there is a long chain involved in this case. My boss has a hand in it, he is part of the deal to steal funds. Anne Fogarty is also part of it. She is aware of the deal. In fact the revised figures is from her in the Department of Transport. In this scenario, I will confidently report both of them as either the master planners of theft of public administration funds. Ethically, I cannot report either my boss or leave Fogarty, similarly I cannot report Fogarty and leave my boss. All of them must suffer the same fate because they collude to steal.
To minimize unethical behaviour in public administration, there should be stringent laws put in place to deal with the miscreants. The penalty should be intensive that no one is willing to experience it. Also possible is setting up competent commissions to oversight public administration and ensure no corruption succeeds. Awareness should also be created on the negative effects of unethical behaviours in public administration. People should be reminded that corruption kills the economy of the country and rob honest people of the opportunity they have worked for. In this case, investigations should be done and those found culpable should be charged in court. People should be taught about the essence of morality in the society.
No, it would be completely inappropriate to state that you dont want to be involved or be part of the situation at hand yet youre the planner. For the deal to reach the point of revising figures you took part in it. Should you quit in the name of not being part of it, you will be running from reality. This is because in the event of an investigation, you will also be investigated as part of the crime. The chances of your conviction may also be high because you drew the budget and went ahead to remain silent over inflated figures. By law, you are a criminal and should be charged in law court.
Majority of the people would try to be part of the whole scam so that they can also benefit from it. Its proven that majority of the people hate corruption just because they do not benefit from it. But in the event that they get a share from it, they remain shut and be part of it. From the article, the young planner appears already threatened to report the case. He fears the consequences that may follow. Note that corruption fights back and it may be disastrous to the one that exposes others. This is the trend with the majority. They become part of the whole scheme to defraud public administrations and share with their friends for protection. Majority are a times driven by greed. Just like my boss and Fogarty are already greedy and colluding to dishonestly take public funds through illegal revision of numbers.Question 10
Yes, a local chapter of ASPA should regularly check on the ethics of its members. Ethics demands that public officer conducts themselves properly in accordance with some expected code of conduct or norms. When members are checked and culprits charged in court, the likelihood of other members engaging in crime may be minimal. Local chapter will set certain standards that must be followed to the letter thereby stopping any possible theft to avoid court struggle that may derail the functions of an institution to provide service to the public.
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