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At the Center

Capturing the lively discussions, presentations, and other events that make up the daily activities of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

The following postings have been filtered by category Government Ethics. clear filter
  •  Advice for Cities in Fiscal Crisis

    Friday, Aug. 3, 2012 5:09 PM

    Go back to basics.  That's the advice from Judy Nadler, Markkula Center senior fellow in government ethics, for cities facing tight budgets or even insolvency.

    In an article for the Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch, she recommends:

    1. Spend only what you can afford.

    2. Be realistic about what you need, versus what you want.

    3. Consolidate, cooperate, and collaborate.

    4. Create, strengthen, and maintain a culture of ethics.

    5. Recommit to the importance of public service.

  •  Ethics in a Post-RDA California

    Wednesday, Jul. 18, 2012 3:26 PM

    The shut-down of California's Redevelopment Agencies this year has left cities scrambling to make up the budget shortfalls created by the drying up of redevelopment money from the state.  The demise of RDA was one factor in the recent bankruptcy of San Bernardino.

    On August 3, 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.,the Center's Public Sector Roundtable will focus on "Ethics in a Post-RDA California."  The Roundtable brings city councilmembers, mayors, city managers, and other public officials together to discuss current challenges in government ethics.  If you would like to attend, contact Center Senior Fellow in Government Ethics Judy Nadler at 

  •  Ethical Challenges for Corrections Leaders

    Wednesday, May. 30, 2012 1:23 PM

    Center Senior Fellow in Government Ethics Judy Nadler addressed a class of executives, wardens, and other high-level employees of local, state, and federal facilities, last week at the National Institute of Corrections workshop on executive excellence.

    Nadler discusses some of the challenges facing corrections leaders on her blog Her Honor.

  •  Council-Manager Governments: Ethical Considerations

    Friday, May. 4, 2012 2:42 PM

    Frank Benest, senior advisor to the International City/County Management Association, addressed the recent meeting of the Center's Public Sector Roundtable, a group of locally elected officials and members of city staffs.  According to Benest, the ethical expectations for public officials flow from the form of government under which the city operates. 

    In the city council-city manager form of government, ethical issues can arise between the elected councilmembers and the professional staff, which report to the city manager.  Benest led the group through three scenarios illustrating some of the problems and drawing on the expertise of the group of develop responses. 

    Materials from the meeting are online here.

  •  A Lesson in Public Management

    Friday, Mar. 23, 2012 4:38 PM

    Center Senior Fellow in Government Ethics Judy Nadler met with Michael Dukakis' class on "Bureaucracy and Public Management" at UCLA for a discussion of "Politician as Outsider: Judy Nadler and the Santa Clara City Council," a case written about her work as a councilperson.  Dukakis, the former governor of Massachusetts, designed the course to look at leadership, especially “public management in the tough, day-to-day world of politics and intensive public scrutiny.”

  •  California Health Districts Sitting on Reserves

    Monday, Mar. 12, 2012 11:58 AM

    Responding to a reporter for the New York Times investigating health care district spending in California, Center Senior Fellow in Government Ethics Judy Nadler commented, “The outrage factor is we have public agencies that are collecting money that is not being used for the purposes for which the agencies were originally established....  The question is, how are they helping the public right now by having that money in the bank?

    For example, the tax-supported Peninsula Health Care District was holding a $43million reserve while uninsured citizens of the district were waiting as much as a year to see a doctor.  The Los Medanos Community Healthcare District spent just half of its revenue, with the balance--more than $400,000-- going to "administrative and operating expenses, including stipends for the board of directors, travel and election fees and a board retreat."



  •  Medical Marijuana

    Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012 2:02 PM

    With state and federal laws in conflict about medical marijuana, cities are struggling to define clear, consistent policies for dispensaries within their jurisdictions. The Center’s Public Sector Roundtable brought together local officials this month to discuss ethical issues that arise from the presence of dispensaries in a community.


  •  When Lobbyists Are Public Officials

    Friday, Jan. 13, 2012 10:34 AM

    Conflicts of interest can arise when people holding public office also represent clients whose interests may be affected by government decisions.  In a New York Times article on the subject, Center Senior Fellow in Government Ethics Judy Nadler commented, “You’re fooling yourself if you think you can wear those two hats and not have it influence the outcome.”

    For more on conflicts of interest in government, see the Ethics Center's Introduction to Government Ethics.

  •  Will You Be My Reference?

    Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011 3:48 PM

    Mike must decide whether to provide a job reference for an old fraternity buddy whose Facebook page reveals some activities that his prospective employer, the same city government for which Mike works, might find problematic.

    This government ethics case is one of a series developed by Center Senior Fellow in Government Ethics Judy Nadler.

  •  Quid Pro Quo?

    Friday, Dec. 9, 2011 1:48 PM

    When an employee of the City Planning Department recommends specific contractors from a city-approved list, is he doing something unethical?  What if he receives payments or favors from these contractors?  Those issues are at the heart of "Friendly Advice or Quid Pro Quo," a fictionalized case study written by Center Senior Fellow in Government Ethics Judy Nadler. 

    Nadler is currently attending the 33rd annual conference of the Council on Government Ethics Laws