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City Managers Have Standards To Uphold

Wednesday, Sep. 22, 2010

The arrest of the city manager and top elected officials in Bell, California, brought cheers from the residents of this small southern California city.

Corruption at city hall was rampant, primarily in the form of highly inflated salaries and benefits for both appointed and elected officials.

While many rejoice at the news of the arrests, I am deeply saddened by the realization that men and women who held the public trust could have so carelessly and arrogantly violated that trust.

Unfortunately we have many examples of elected officials gone wrong - but there are fewer examples of city managers who use the office for their own benefit. Perhaps that is because city and county managers have a resource to help guide their actions.

The International City/County Managers Association (ICMA) has worked with professional city administrators for more than 85 years.  

The organization first adopted a Code of Ethics in  1924. The document has been  amended over the years to to address changes in the profession.

The code contains 12 tenets to guide local government managers to perform ethically and with integrity.

The tenets are clear, straightforward, and set the highest standards for conduct.  Managers are asked to be dedicated to effective and democratic local government, and to act with transparency, political neutrality, and" respect for the rights and responsibiity of elected officials and residents."

The Code of Ethics is a model for all involved in public service.



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