Markkula Center of Applied Ethics

It May Be Legal but Is it Ethical?

August 9, 2013, Public Sector Roundtable

Not every legal action a government official may take is also ethical. Law provides a floor of minimum standards, but public officials who are concerned with ethics may want to go beyond what is simply legal when they consider how to act in the public interest.

The interaction of law and ethics was explored at the August 2013 meeting of the Center's Public Sector Roundtable by panelists Joan Cassman, partner with Hanson Bridgett L.L.P. in San Francisco, and JoAnne Speers, executive director of the Institute for Local Government in Sacramento.

Meeting Summary
It May Be Legal, but Is it Ethical? (video)
What Government Officials Can Do to Raise the Ethical Issues (video)
Case Study


Nellie Ancel - Fremont, Sr. Deputy City Attorney II
Valerie Armento - East Palo Alto, City Attorney
Al Bito - Campbell, Assistant to the City Manager
Jeannie Bruins - Los Altos, Councilmember
Jim Davis - Sunnyvale, Councilmember
Jennifer Dirking - MCAE, Director of External Relations
Kevin Duggan - ICMA, retired City Manager from Mountain View
Beau Goldie - Santa Clara Valley Water District, CEO
John Harpootlian - Los Altos, Councilmember
Glenn Hendricks - Sunnyvale, City Planning Commission
Carrie Jaffe-Pickett - MCAE, Assistant Director of Communications
Michael Kasperzak, Jr. - Mountain View, Councilmember
Jerry Marsalli - Santa Clara, Councilmember
Shawn Mason - San Mateo, City Attorney
Russ Melton - Sunnyvale, Vice Chair of the Planning Commission
Ren Nosky - Santa Clara, City Attorney
Pierluigi Oliverio - San Jose, Councilmember
Teresa O'Neill - Santa Clara, Councilmember
LeeAnn Pelham - Santa Clara Valley Water District, Director of Ethics and Corporate Governance
Jan Pepper - Los Altos, Councilmember
Jannie Quinn - Mountain View, Sr. Assistant City Attorney
Miriam Schulman - MCAE, Center Assistant Director
Bill Seligmann - Campbell, City Attorney
Alex Shoor - Santa Clara County, Policy Aide
Rod Sinks - Cupertino, Councilmember
Jennifer Sparacino - Santa Clara, retired City Manager
Jessica Stanfill Mullin - League of California Cities, Regional Public Affairs Manager
Steve Tate - Morgan Hill, Mayor
Richard Taylor - Saratoga, City Attorney

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