Ethics Handbook for Michigan Municipalities

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The Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys wishes to thank the Michigan Municipal. League Foundation for their generous financial support of the Ethics Handbook project. The Foundation contribution has greatly assisted with the publication and distribution of. the handbook ensuring that it will be available to local governments and interested. parties throughout Michigan,Ethics Handbook For Michigan Municipalities. Presented by,The Ethics Roundtable, of the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys. A publication of,Better Communities Better Michigan. Printed May 2008,Copyright 2008 Michigan Municipal League. No portion of this book may be reproduced by any means. without permission of the Michigan Municipal League. Table of Contents,Dedication 1,Foreward 3, Chapter 1 The Importance of Ethics for a Local Government.
Ethics and Why It Matters 9,Civility in Local Government The Civil Society 10. Chapter 2 Things to Keep in Mind,Different Forms of Government. Different Routes to Adopting Ethics Standards for Your Community 17. Including Ethics Provisions in Charters Advice for Charter Commissions 19. Labor Considerations 22, Chapter 3 The Substance of a Local Government Ethics Ordinance. Definitions for an Ethics Ordinance 27, Fundamental Standards of Conduct for an Ethics Ordinance 33. Consequences for Violating the Ethics Ordinance 41. Enforcement and Administration of an Ethics Ordinance 46. Chapter 4 How to Proceed, Developing Adopting and Implementing an Ethics Ordinance The Process 55.
Appendices,Appendix A The Contributors 57, Appendix B Some Ethics Related Michigan Statutes 59. Appendix C Local Government Ethics Ordinances 61,Appendix D An Ethics Bibliography 63. Appendix E Professional Associations Codes of Ethics 65. Dedication, This handbook is dedicated to the memory of William L Steude general counsel of the Michigan. Municipal League from 1971 to 1997 and past chair of the Ethics Roundtable a committee of. the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys Bill was a proponent of ethical conduct and. civility in government at all levels and this handbook was originally his idea The essay on. Civility in Government is his and in it he considers the respect that is deserved by and owed. to both the public and its dedicated local government officials and staff We have all benefited. from Bill s belief in the necessity of the trustworthiness of government and with this handbook. we hope to advance that belief,Dedication 1,Ethics Handbook. The Michigan Municipal League representing some those issues It should be pointed out that for many. 518 local governments is proud to join the Michigan municipalities it will be appropriate to adopt only. Association of Municipal Attorneys in presenting selected provisions set forth in the handbook. a comprehensive resource for local government, officials interested in the topic of ethics as it applies In making the choice to adopt an ordinance a.
to municipalities community should bear in mind that an ethics. ordinance is a tool While adopted with the intent, One of the hallmarks of municipal governance in of improving the government of the municipality. Michigan is its strong tradition of ethical conduct care has to be given to how this tool is used That. in the provision of services for local communities is an ethics ordinance can be a shield to shield. The actions of municipal elected and appointed the community from unethical conduct or it can. officials adhere not only to a statutory framework be used as a sword to unfairly attack municipal. but also to professional codes of conduct local officials and if so used it can be a detriment to the. provisions local organizational culture and perhaps community. most importantly a strong sense of personal ethics. borne of the civic pride that leads individuals to Ultimately this handbook is a powerful resource. be municipal officials The Michigan Municipal for Michigan s municipal leaders to engage in. League has traditionally worked to articulate and community dialogue and deliberation to choose the. support the tradition of ethical conduct in Michigan s best approach locally for maintaining high ethical. municipalities This handbook represents an standards in Michigan municipalities. important additional step It is both a conceptual, resource and a how to manual It is comprehensive This handbook represents a great deal of devotion. in that it addresses numerous facets of ethics And to this topic by a number of persons Without their. it documents the ways numerous municipalities selfless contributions it would not have been. have addressed ethics in a formal sense by possible In particular I would like to recognize. adopting a local ethics ordinance and thank Daniel C Matson chair of the Ethics. Roundtable whose guidance and persistence made, One of the great attributes of municipal government the handbook a reality Dennis A Mazurek senior. in Michigan is that the government can be tailored to counsel of Detroit s Law Department who organized. meet the needs of a particular community The best and analyzed the sample ordinance provisions and. way to address an issue in one community may be Mary M Grover the editor of the handbook who. very different from a neighboring community the molded its disparate parts into a unified publication. topic of ethics included Thus this handbook does, not seek to present a model Rather it discusses William C Mathewson. the concept of ethics as it applies to municipal General Counsel Michigan Municipal League. government highlights particular issues and then Secretary Treasurer Michigan Association of. presents how several communities have addressed Municipal Attorneys. Foreward 3,Ethics Handbook, This handbook is offered as a guide for establishing standards Numerous legal issues must be.
ethical standards for the conduct of all persons considered whenever local law of this nature is. in service to municipal governments in Michigan created and particularly when enforcement is. A number of Michigan communities have adopted involved. some form of statement about ethics which may, appear in the local charter in an ordinance or Ethical administration of government invites the. in both Other communities may be considering citizen s confidence in and respect for government. adopting some form of standards of conduct for Good governance is valued by the community It is. their public officials This publication is intended sustained by those who have dedicated themselves. to provide assistance to municipal officials in their to public service and it is reflected in the decisions. efforts to either create new ethics policies and made and the actions taken by that government. procedures or to update them in keeping with To that end the Ethics Roundtable commends this. today s expectations regarding the conduct of handbook to all citizens of Michigan communities. elected officials employees and volunteers and to those who serve them in recognition of the. need to promote and to earn the public trust,The Home Rule principle allows Michigan. communities to tailor ethics standards to fit local I wish to acknowledge contributions to this work by. needs and expectations Each can adopt provisions members of the Ethics Roundtable of the Michigan. that are appropriate for a particular community in Association of Municipal Attorneys including. order to promote public trust in public officials and the following Dennis A Mazurek senior counsel. in government Elected and appointed officials staff of the City of Detroit Law Department for his. and volunteers may rely upon this stated framework comprehensive research and analysis in authoring. within which they conduct the affairs of government Chapter 3 the central chapter of the handbook John. J Rae former Midland city attorney who brought, The authors and reviewers of this handbook erudite and insightful sharing of the meaning of. bring considerable experience to the effort as ethics Peter A Letzmann former Troy city attorney. they have represented the interests of Michigan and foremost seminar organizer and presenter. municipalities and have encountered a broad range to municipalities on many topics always with. of ethical issues and concerns that confront public ethical concerns in mind Michael P McGee senior. officials The publication is the outcome of many principal with Miller Canfield Paddock and Stone. such experiences as identified by members of the PLC who applies labor law considerations to the. Ethics Roundtable a group formed by the Michigan book William C Mathewson general counsel and. Association of Municipal Attorneys The Roundtable Sue A Jeffers associate general counsel of the. has focused on aiding local officials to understand Michigan Municipal League who continue to field. and to resolve ethics problems within established numerous inquiries regarding ethical issues from. legal and voluntary requirements constituent municipalities Dene Westbrook Jeanette. Westhead and Breanne Bloomquist at the League, With this reference municipal officials may for their design and production expertise Mary M. consider addressing a variety of areas of conduct Grover of Traverse City public sector facilitator. that would be appropriate for their organizations trainer and presenter of ethics programs on local. The reader may also examine a variety of options state national and international levels who served. that are currently in use in a number of Michigan as editor Many others have generously served as. communities These approaches are the result of members of the Ethics Roundtable through its years. extensive study and discussion and they reflect of existence and their meaningful participation in. local concerns and values the ever current ethics discussion has led to the. completion of this handbook,It is strongly recommended that the municipal.
attorney be involved in each step of the process Daniel C Matson Chair. of developing proposing and adopting ethical The Ethics Roundtable. Ethics Handbook,Chapter 1 The Importance of Ethics. for a Local Government,Ethics and Why It Matters 9. Civility in Local Government The Civil Society 10,The Importance of Ethics for a Local Government 7. Ethics Handbook Chapter 1,Ethics and Why it Matters. By John J Rae, Why should a municipal government be concerned 3 the moral quality fitness or propriety of a.
about ethics At first blush this appears to be a course of action and. question the answer to which is so obvious that,4 the rules and standards governing the. it need not be asked As is the case with so many,conduct of a profession. things however things are more often than not, more complicated than they appear to be Also the historical tension between the religious. traditions in our pluralistic society and the, Aside from the almost automatic response of many protections of individual rights under our. who might say that ethics must mean some sort governmental system inevitably lead to even more. of standard of good behavior there appears to be disagreement over the subject of ethics. little agreement about what the word ethics really. means This has led unfortunately to the term Given all of the foregoing then why do we bother. becoming so loose in scope and meaning that it is in trying to establish any kind of rational system of. danger of becoming as floppy as words like liberal ethics guidance for municipal government The. or conservative words which often convey whatever answer is that most people recognize civil society s. meaning the speaker or writer wants but to the need for something which will enable them to live. listener or the reader the words may have a very together in a peaceful and productive way This. different meaning recognition is already reflected in our Constitution. public laws statutes ordinances and regulations, In addition to the immediate barrier to understanding What is driving the renewed interest in codes of.
which this moveable meaning creates or ethics however appears to be an ever growing. perpetuates the standard of good behavior which belief that these laws do not go far enough. is supposedly being followed is by this confusion in. danger of becoming nothing more than a belief that What a carefully crafted and defined ethics code. one s personal opinion on the subject is no better or or ordinance can do is to establish behavioral. worse than the opinion of anyone else The result is standards of integrity fair dealing responsibility. a kind of relativism around the word ethics which accountability and disinterested conduct which. logically raises the question of whether there should are not specifically covered by existing laws but. really be any ethics standards in the first place which are an essential part of the fiduciary duty. the highest standard of conduct which is almost, A large part of the problem here is that the term universally recognized in this country as being owed. ethics has a number of meanings assigned to it by to the public by its public servants and officials. any standard dictionary For example one reference,includes all of the following. 1 the study of the general nature of morals,and of the specific moral choices to be made. by an individual in his relationship with,others i e the philosophy of morals or moral. philosophy,2 a set of moral principles or values,The Importance of Ethics for a Local Government 9.
Ethics Handbook for Michigan Municipalities Better Communities Better Michigan integrity fair dealing responsibility accountability openness Thank you The Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys wishes to thank the Michigan Municipal League Foundation for their generous financial support of the Ethics Handbook project The Foundation contribution has greatly assisted with

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