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Her Honor

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 pensions. clear filter
  •  The Ethics Of Pension Reform

    Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012

    My recent post on public pensions deals with the relationship between the burden of the payouts and the recent number of municipal bankruptcies.

    In this op-ed I wrote for Newsday, I go into greater detail on how to look at pensions from an ethical perspective.

  •  Proposed Education Cuts Spark Protests

    Tuesday, May. 10, 2011

    California teachers have declared a “State of Emergency,” marching on the state capitol to lobby for a tax extension to preserve school funding.

    Although the rally drew some 1,000 teachers and their supporters, only sixty-five people were arrested when they refused to leave the Capitol rotunda after the building closed for the day.

    College students and parents, also concerned about the proposed cuts to education, joined the teachers. Many expressed frustration that “corporate greed and politics” have made educators the “scapegoats” in the current wave of criticism of public employee salaries and benefits.

    According to California Teachers Association president David A. Sanchez, “It’s not right that the rich and big businesses don’t pay their fair share of taxes.”

    Protesting with signs like “Tax the rich” is not as effective as face-to-face meetings with legislators from both parties. It is easier to ignore a noisy crowd outside your building than it is to ignore a constituent in your office. Especially when just last week the country celebrated “National Teachers Appreciation Week.”

  •  LA Tries Charter Change To Address Pension Problems

    Monday, Feb. 28, 2011


    On March 8 voters in Los Angeles will decide on an important ballot measure aimed at correcting the pension problem facing the city. Charter Amendment G would create a “Tier 6” plan for sworn fire, police, and harbor department employees hired on or after July 1, 2011. The pension reform measure would also modify certain provisions of the fire and police pension plans, taking into account state and federal laws.
    This is one of what will probably be many measures taken by local government to rein in retirement expenses. For a description of the measure, visit Smart Voter at



  •  Help Wanted: Qualified Leaders

    Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011


    Protests and politics in Wisconsin have increased the sharp focus on government salaries and benefits, creating a rippling effect in other states. Ohio and Illinois are engaged in similar debates, and California Assemblyman Allan Mansoor has introduced legislation seeking to change the collective bargaining process in the Golden State. For months, newspaper headlines and editorials have expressed sharp criticism of the public sector, leaving the impression that there are a “bunch of crooks” and “greedy” employees running government.
    While I am concerned about the inability of public agencies to balance budgets while facing  monumental unfunded benefits, I am also concerned about the impact of the hand-wringing and harsh criticism on the future of public sector jobs. Not only are good people choosing to retire from public office, there is a significant turnover among professionals, according to the International City/and County Management Association (ICMA).
    The phenomenon, sometimes called the “retirement tidal wave” has prompted Next Generation Initiatives, an ICMA project designed to “attract and develop a wide and diverse group of people into the local government management profession, including students, early and mid-career professionals, and individuals from other fields.”
    In my work with undergraduate political science students I emphasize the many challenges and rewards of public service, and remind them that elective office is not the only way to engage in meaningful change.
    Let’s hope the current crisis inspires a new generation of problem solvers.


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