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Introduction to Government Ethics
by Judy Nadler and Miriam Schulman
Sometimes it's easy to see when things go wrong in government: Elected officials take bribes; candidates lie about their opponents; city officials make important public decisions in secret meetings. Other times, the right thing is not so obvious: Should a councilmember represent the wishes of the majority, even when he or she thinks the majority is wrong? Is it acceptable for a governor to appoint a family member to his or her cabinet if the appointee is the best person for the job?
Whether the ethical issues are obvious or complicated, they are easier to address if public servants have given some thought to the kinds of dilemmas they will confront before a crisis occurs. The materials in this "primer" on government ethics are intended to provide elected officials, government workers, and ordinary citizens with an introduction to the basic questions that are likely to come up in the conduct of public business.
Each section of the primer includes definitions, a discussion of the ethical issues involved, and a description of the unavoidable ethical dilemmas that arise in government. Links are provided to cases and to selected Web sites with further information.
The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics also provides training on these issues. For more information, contact Judy Nadler, senior fellow in government ethics.
Introductory Issues in Government Ethics
- Mobile Technology and Social Media: Ethical Implications (video)
The impact of mobile technology and social media in emerging markets
- Markkula Ethics Center Milestones
Highlights from the Center's first 25 years
- Catholicism and Conscience
The interaction between personal conscience and church teaching
- The Costs of Partisanship (video)
A conversation with former Republican Congressman Mickey Edwards
Hackworth Fellowships for SCU Seniors
Applications due May 22
Research Grants in Applied Ethics
Applications due May 28
Hanson Delivers UP Commencement Address
Center director tells seniors, "It's not about you"
A Legacy in Ethics
Kristi Markkula Bowers reflects on her family's connection to the Ethics Center
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