Judy Nadler, senior fellow in government ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, looks at ethical dilemmas, scandals, and best practices in government.
The following postings have been filtered by tag United States Conference of Mayors
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Tuesday, Jun. 21, 2011 3:59 PM
Boldly moving beyond their traditional issues, the United States Conference of Mayors voted overwhelmingly to seek the end to U.S presence in Afghanistan.
Meeting in Baltimore, the mayors were not so much making a political statement but a practical one. By bringing the troops home the mayors were asking President Obama to reinvest the billions spent on our overseas involvement to “meet vital human needs, promote job creation, rebuild our infrastructure, aid municipal and state governments, and develop a new economy based upon renewable, sustainable energy and reduce the federal debt.”
The annual meeting is usually a time for passing resolutions on issues such as energy, transportation, education, public safety, housing, and the like. This year the mayors acknowledged the harm that will come to cities when important federal programs are cut due to budget shortfalls.
Wednesday, Apr. 20, 2011 2:35 PM
In an unprecedented move, the United States Conference of Mayors has issued a video documenting the increase in what it calls “recall fever.”
The 15-minute film highlights recent recall campaigns against the mayors of Akron, Chattaooga, and Omaha. Although these efforts were unsuccessful, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez was removed from office by an overwhelming margin.
While the video looks at what prompts a recall campaign (raising taxes is often a key issue), it also underscores the use of social networks to reach voters. These “viral” campaigns are often conducted with few staff members and at a low cost, while the incumbent mayor must spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend his or her place in office.
Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011 3:18 PM
When George Washington composed his Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation, he advised, “every act done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those who are present.”
On this, his birthday, it is appropriate to fast forward to 2011 and another set of principles put forward by the United States Conference of Mayors.
At the recent annual meeting, 150 mayors from across the country signed a Civility Accord
proposed by Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup. The one-page document was prompted by the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others at a public event.
The pledge, also available on line for mayors to sign, asks for a commitment to the following principles:
- Respect the right of all Americans to hold different opinions;
- Avoid rhetoric intended to humiliate, de-legitimatize, or question the patriotism of those whose opinions are different from ours;
- Strive to understand differing perspectives;
- Choose words carefully;
- Speak truthfully without accusation, and avoid distortion;
- Speak out against violence, prejudice, and incivility in all their forms, whenever and wherever they occur.”
The efforts to remind us of the importance of civility in our society are especially important as partisan differences often overtake dialog. While many of the admonitions George Washington wrote seem antiquated, here is another we would call a best practice: “Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.”
Friday, Jan. 7, 2011 3:25 PM
As a former mayor, I contend there is no more challenging job for a public official than serving in local government. Constituents consider you the “go to” person to solve problems ranging from barking dogs and potholes to economic development and immigration reform.
The experience of being so close to the voters (you will probably see them in the grocery store, public library, or local restaurant) helps keep you focused on issues and “grounded.” Working with the city administrators and council colleagues sharpens leadership and communication skills.
These skills will be put to the test for 14 mayors or former mayors recently elected to higher office. According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors
, voters in Colorado, Connecticut, Tennessee, Rhode Island, New York, and Maine elected local officials to the top job. And in California, former Oakland mayor Jerry Brown will serve as governor, with former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom as his lieutenant governor. Former Baltimore mayor Martin O’Malley was re-elected governor. The 112th Congress will include six new members who have come from the mayor’s office.
As these lawmakers take on their new responsibilities, I urge them to:
- set and maintain the highest ethical standards, and apply them to all
Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010 4:37 PM
When Dannel Malloy was elected mayor of Stamford, Connecticut in 1995, the first thing he had to do was explain his name was not Daniel.
When he is sworn in as governor, the first thing he will have to do is try to fix the state budget. This will be the more difficult task, but his 14 years as mayor have given him the kind of experience that is needed to effect change.
I met Dan when we both attended a seminar for newly elected mayors sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
He was bright, eager to learn, and unafraid of the task ahead. During his tenure he was very involved with the USCM and was tireless in his efforts to promote economic growth, improve public schools, and restore confidence in government.
At a March 2009 forum he quipped "If you want to reform property taxes, you might want to elect a mayor." And in a very tight race that was only recently certified, the voters of Connecticut did just that. They chose someone who knows the needs of the people.
He has pledged to clean things up in Hartford, and to make government more transparent. I congratulate him on his victory, and hope we find more former mayors among our nations governors.