Ethics and accountability

This week, we will be reading about ethics and accountability. In Chapter #5 of the Shafritz et al. reading, we will examine the precursor to ethics – honor. We will also look at government corruption, ethical codes, and legislative oversight as a means of holding public officials accountable. In the Stillman reading (Chapter #16), we examine Dwight Waldo’s attempt to frame ethics in the context of the public service. Waldo, in particular, offers a map to help administrators navigate some of the inevitable problems that are likely to be encountered. The group case study for this week examines the so-called “butterfly ballot” used in Florida during the 2000 presidential election (“The Case of the Butterfly Ballot,” by Robert Montjoy and Christa Daryl Slaton). The discussion questions for this week are posted under the “Assignments” link here in Canvas. Both the individual and group assignments are due by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, October 30th.


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Group Discussion Questions (The Case of the Butterfly Ballot):

3.) Would applying Dwight Waldo’s 12 ethical obligations to this case study have made a difference in the outcome? If so, how? If not, why not?


Individual Discussion Questions:

1.) Is corruption in the public sector worse than in the private sector? Why or why not? Do you believe that it is ever appropriate for a government official to lie to the public? Discuss.


2.) Shafritz et al. (2013) discuss four levels of ethics – personal, professional, organizational, and social. Which of these levels best epitomizes how you make workplace decisions? Why? Are professional codes of ethics such as those offered by ASPA and ICMA worthwhile? Discuss. If you had to make any modifications to ASPA’s code of ethics (, what changes would you make?


3.) Discuss Dwight Waldo’s ethical map delineated in Chapter #16 of the Stillman text. Why does Waldo contend we need a map/navigation instrument to guide us? Do you agree with his list of 12 ethical obligations? Why or why not? Given that his essay was published 40 years ago, do you think it has withstood the test of time? Is there a need to add/subtract anything from his map?


4.) It is argued by Shafritz et al. (2013) that legislative oversight takes place in many forms, including hearings and casework. What do these forms entail? Is there any potential to abuse either form of oversight? Why or why not? Discuss.




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