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AAC


SEEMS TO ME... ETHICS


property. It can range from the trivial, like taking home office supplies, to the grave, such as stealing money from the county. Fraud is probably the most common and costly form of theft by public officials. Fraud is theft by deception or trickery. It occurs when someone deliber- ately deceives others in order to unjustly gain personally.





Improper use of government property. Tis probably happens in county government more than anything else. Te use of public property by public officials for private benefit is unethical and against the law.


• Bribery and influence peddling. Bribery occurs when a person of authority is offered and accepts some personal benefit in exchange for performing some action. Influ- ence peddling is a particular form of bribery in which a public official sells his or her ability to influence govern- ment decision making.


• Conflict of interest and self-dealing. Tis is a common issue in government ethics and occurs when a public offi- cial’s private interests are such that they may influence the performance of his or her public duties. Public servants are expected to exercise impartiality and objectivity when per- forming official duties. When there is a conflict of interest, there is a concern that the official may favor some interest


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other than the general public. Self-dealing is one of the most obvious. Tis occurs when an individual’s activities in their official capacity involve dealing with their self in a private capacity, usually for personal benefit.


As a public official the responsibility lies squarely on your shoulders. Not someone else’s. Don’t be an “Adam.” Adam, in Genesis 3:12 said, “Te woman you put here with me … she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it.” Tat triggers thoughts. How many times have you been guilty of blaming someone else? Sounds like Flip Wilson’s famous statement, “Te devil made me do it!” Yep, good ole Adam invented the oldest line ever used to shift blame to someone else for his own actions. Take respon- sibility for your actions. Public service is an honorable profession when carried out honorably. One of our founding fathers, Tomas Jefferson, said, “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” Te supreme quality for public leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible. Tere is real value in ethical service. As Mark Twain said, “Do the right thing. It will gratify some and astonish the rest.”


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COUNTY LINES, FALL 2019


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