Markkula Center of Applied Ethics

Ethics Articles

All Articles

Dealing With Disaster: The Ethical Challenges
Pay Czar Kenneth Feinberg discusses the ethics of disaster relief compensation
Kenneth Feinberg
Widespread Government Corruption: When is it Time to Leave Your Job?
A recent college graduate encounters a culture of corruption in her first job in local government.
Amanda Nelson
Unequal Work Distribution: Gender Discrimination in Work Assignments
Interns must decide how to handle a sexist supervisor.
Saayeli Mukherji
The Influence of Partisan Politics on Government
The Public Sector Roundtable hosts former Republican Congressman Mickey Edwards
View From Sacramento
Materials from a meeting of the Public Sector Roundtable on how state and local government can work together
Avoiding Ethical Pitfalls in Government Service
Questions that public officials should ask before making a decision
Joe Simitian and Judy Nadler
How the State Legislature Impacts Local Government
How empathy can help state and local legislators work together more effectively
Joe Simitian and Judy Nadler
The Dhaka Factory Fire: Who Is Responsible?
Is the Bangladeshi government or the factory owner more at fault for a fire that killed 112 people?
Saayeli Mukherji and Noah Rickling
Ethical Challenges in the City Manager/City Councilmember Relationship
Three scenarios depicting typical ethical issues that arise between councilmembers and managers
Frank Benest
Effective Council/Manager Relations
Materials from a meeting of the Pubic Sector Roundtable
city manager, city council
Do's and Don'ts for City Managers and City Councilmembers
Advice for new city officials from an advisor to the International City/County Management Association
Frank Benest
Ten New Rules for Elected Officials in Times of Economic Meltdown
Senior adviser to the International City/County Management Association advises public servants to focus on the core.
Frank Benest
Medical Marijuana Dispensaries: Ethical Challenges for Local Government
Cities debate the best way to deal with medical marijuana
Miriam Schulman
Medical Marijuana Dispensaries: Ethical Challenges for Cities
Ethical questions for municipal officials on allowing, siting, and monitoring medical marijuana dispensaries
Old Guard vs. New Guard
A dynamic new city manager comes into conflict with the previous city manager, now elected to the city council. One policy they disagree about: the need for a city code of ethics and values.
Judy Nadler
Land Use Decisions and Community Values
In this case study, city council must decide whether to allow a restaurant that features "scantily clad" waitresses to occupy a vacant storefront.
Judy Nadler
Handling Council Critics
Does incivility violate a city's code of ethics?
Jason Wu
Ethics and the Assessor
PowerPoint presentation for the California Assessors Association 106th Annual Conference on doing the publics business with transparency and integrity
Kirk O. Hanson
On Ethics and Immigration
Arizona Governor looks at ethical issues in developing policy on illegal immigration.
Janet Napolitano
Sunshine reform
Testimony to the San Jose City Council on improving government transparency.
Judy Nadler
Ethics and City Hall
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed outlines reforms.
Suruchi Bhutani
Ethics of Leaking
How to tell whether a leak is worth publishing--or taking seriously
Kirk O. Hanson and Jerry Ceppos
Personal Lives of Public Officials
Ethical issues at the boundary between a politician's personal and public behavior
Judy Nadler and Miriam Schulman
An introduction to the ethical issues for public officials.
Judy Nadler and Miriam Schulman
Civil Disagreement
A case exploring the limits of public debate
Judy Nadler
Name Calling on the Council
When the mayor and a councilmember disagree vociferously, is it unacceptable conduct or just the normal rough and tumble of politics?
Judy Nadler
No Such Thing as a Free Ticket
A case involving a gift to a government official
Judy Nadler
Councilmember and the Manager
A city councilmember must decide if he can impartially review the performance of the city manager.
Judy Nadler
Relationships Between Elected Officials and Staff
An introduction to the ethical issues that arise between city or county staff and councilmembers or supervisors.
Judy Nadler and Miriam Schulman
Evolution of Human Rights Norms and Machinery
Bertrand G. Ramcharan, former United Nations High Commissioner, offers his perspectives on the evolution of human rights norms and machinery.
Bertrand G. Ramcharan
Open Meetings: A Case Study
An executive session makes citizens question a city council's decision on rezoning.
Judy Nadler
Open Meetings, Sunshine Laws, and Transparency in Government
An introduction to the topic including definitions, dilemmas, cases, and links.
Judy Nadler and Miriam Schulman
What Would a Real Ethics Refresher Course Look Like?
Advice for the Congress and White House about ethical leadership.
Judy Nadler
The Case of the Extra Mile
Ethics case addressing the work-life balance for public employees.
Kirk O. Hanson
The Case of the Mangled Data
Ethics case addressing the responsibility of public employees to provide accurate information.
Kirk O. Hanson
Supreme Court on Educational Diversity
From my standpoint as a constitutional law professor, a particularly interesting strand of the Grutter majority opinion is the reliance upon the First Amendment to uphold the right of public universities to value student body racial diversity.
Margaret M. Russell
Politics, the Supreme Court, and Affirmative Action
The decision in Grutter v. Bollinger that it was constitutionally permissible for public colleges and universities to consider race in student admissions was transparently political, in the sense that the outcome was grounded more in the political choices of the justices and the surrounding political context than in any objective legal principles.
Brad Joondeph
Unavoidable Ethical Dilemmas of Newly-Elected Local Officials
As part of the Center's commitment to government ethics, Senior Fellow Judy Nadler convened 13 mayors and council members for Santa Clara and San Mateo counties to share the top ethical dilemmas confronting every person who comes into local elected office.
Judy Nadler
Alice Hayes and Affordable Housing
A new city councilmember must weigh the community's need for affordable housing with the desire to preserve open space.
Judy Nadler
Business as Usual
A retired city engineer goes back to work for the city as an independent contractor. When he bids for a job, a councilmember raises questions.
Judy Nadler
Case of the Big Box Retailer
A revenue shortfall causes a city council to consider the tax benefits from a big-box retailer versus the potential harm to established small businesses.
Judy Nadler
The Mayor and the Manager
A case exploring the proper relationship between city councilmembers and city staff.
Judy Nadler
Old Friends and Conflicts of Interest
How do relationships with "old friends" change when someone is elected to public office?
Judy Nadler
Sex in the City
Is an elected official's personal life legitimately "private"?
Judy Nadler
Right of Way
As the California coastline changes because of the ocean's continual pounding, the question is asked who has access to the fluctuating landscape?
Rob Elder
Ethical Implications of California's Recall Election
A panel discussion with SCU professors of political science.
Ethics at Noon
Budget Crunch Ethics
A California State Assembly member discusses the ethical choices legislators face during a budget crisis.
Joe Simitian
State's accounting tricks cheat future taxpayers
The responsibility of one generation is shifted to the next by accounting gimmicks.
William K. Black
The Case of the Sikh Temple
Plans for a 94,000 square foot structure raise questions about the zoning of a house of worship.
Mark Ralkowski
Privacy vs. Security
The Center's Framework for Ethical Decision making is applied to privacy vs. security concerns in the wake of the terrorist attacks.
Bharath Krishnamurthy
The Cyber City Network
An online network for city services raises questions about access and whether the provision of services electronically will increase disparities between rich and poor.
Thomas Shanks