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
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Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011 10:04 AM
The corrupting influence of gifts, even small ones such as tickets to sporting events, is the subject of a recent article in the Delaware News Journal.
Reporter Maureen Milford spoke to Center Senior Fellow in Government Ethics Judy Nadler, who explained some of the dangers when public officials accept favors from those who do business with the government.
"If you, as someone who has business before a lawmaker, have five hours of one-on-one time, it's inevitable that you are going to discuss politics. A lot of people say that's the way the system runs, but it is so inherently unfair. That's why the phrase 'pay-to- play' was coined."
"Indeed, studies have shown gifts do influence people, Nadler said. Physicians say they wouldn't be influenced by a free pen given by a representative from a drug company. But studies have shown doctors are more likely to write prescriptions for that company's products, Nadler said."
Monday, Aug. 1, 2011 3:09 PM
In the city of Brockton, California, which is in the middle of a controversy over inaccurate water bills, "more than one-third of the city’s 23 water-sewer maintenance men are related to either city councilors or other Department of Public Works employees.
That is one of several incidences of seeming nepotism uncovered by the The Enterprise, the local newspaper. Center Senior Fellow in Government Ethics Judy Nadler commented for the article:
“If you have this type of appearance of nepotism, or actual nepotism, then what you are saying to qualified candidates is, ‘Don’t bother to apply unless you know someone, or unless you’re related.’”
Wednesday, Jul. 27, 2011 11:32 AM
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz will pay a $20,000 fine for accepting travel expenses on behalf of his wife for trips the two took to the Netherlands and Turkey. Markowitz was working. His wife is not a city employee.
Comment on the issue at Her Honor, the blog of Judy Nadler, senior fellow in government ethics at the Center.
Monday, Jul. 18, 2011 3:28 PM
Should a government employee simultaneously be allowed to work on a political campaign? That's the issue Center Senior Fellow in Government Ethics Judy Nadler takes on in her blog, Her Honor.
Nadler commented on the issue for Chron.Com, the online site of the Houston Chronicle.
Monday, Jul. 11, 2011 4:34 PM
"Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton hired his son and 13 other residents of his three-street Barney Farms neighborhood to summer positions in 2009," according an article in The Citizens' Voice this week.
Tuesday, Jun. 28, 2011 11:20 AM
Social media have changed the way political campaigns are conducted in the US, not always for the better. In this fictionalized case study a candidate for city council who has declined the services of a local campaign consultant finds herself the target of attacks in his blog. Then her own supporters strike back. Written by Center Senior Fellow in Government Ethics Judy Nadler, the case asks how to refocus the campaign on important issues.
Wednesday, Mar. 30, 2011 3:07 PM
The uses of social media by government officials and some new permutations of conflicts of interest topped the list of new ethical dilemmas facing public officials created at the March meeting of the Public Sector Roundtable.
The Roundtable was instrumental in creating Unavoidable Ethical Dilemmas for Newly Elected Officials in 2004. On the seventh anniversary of the group's founding, members talked aout challenges that have arisen since that original list was written.
The Roundtable brings together, mayors, councilmembers, city managers, members of ethics commissions, and other public officials to discuss emerging issues in government ethics. The group's next meeting, May 6, will look at "Budgeting in Time of Fiscal Crisis."
Monday, Mar. 7, 2011 5:24 PM
The announcement by Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom that he will not open an office in the San Francisco state building but will instead take space at the private, invitation-only Founders Den for entrepreneurs raised eyebrows over possible conflicts of interest and lack of accessibility.
Newsom was invited to set up his office at the Founders Den by managing partner Zachary Bogue, who contributed the maximum amount allowed under law to Newsom's primary and general election campaign for lieutenant governor.
In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Ethics Center Senior Fellow in Government Ethics Judy Nadler said:
"I think that it raises a red flag and poses some important questions about fairness and how campaign relationships may have an impact on officeholder actions," said Judy Nadler, former mayor of Santa Clara and senior fellow of government ethics at Santa Clara University's Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.
"Being in the environment where the lieutenant governor is there and being part of an incubator that has basically been blessed by the lieutenant governor gives all persons who are involved a real advantage over people who weren't invited to become part of this," she added.
Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011 2:16 PM
Private dinner meetings between the CEO of Duke Energy and the chairman of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission raise questions about whether the relationship regulated and regulators is too close. As reported in the Indianapolis Star:
"This certainly gives the appearance of (Duke having) an inside track," said Judy Nadler, a senior fellow in government ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University in California, and a former mayor of Santa Clara, who frequently dealt with regulators on energy issues concerning the city-owned electric utility, Silicon Valley Power. "It's a fairness issue that everyone have equal access."
Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011 9:16 AM
A Pierce County, Wash., official worked for two months as both a county councilman and executive director of the Peninsula Metropolitan Parks District while the county was considering an extension of the park district. In an article for the News Tribune, Center Senior Fellow in Government Ethics Judy Nadler commented, "It certainly appears he was trying to serve two masters.