THINGS THINGS that men always exaggerate: –The size of….the fish they catch… –Job, income, car
Phrases THINGS you get tired of hearing –Silo –Drill down –Scrub the numbers
YOU? THINGS you should always protect –Your family –Yourself –Your identity –Your license
WHY? Things that bore me… –My mother in law –Andy Rooney –Meet the Press –Ethics for certified local government officials
Ethics Education …the American Accounting Associations Committee of Future Structure, Content and Scope of Accounting Education, recommended that accounting education must not only emphasize accounting skills and knowledge, it must also instill the ethical standards and commitment of the professional…
Federal, State, and Local Statutes Abuse of Office/Exploitation of Official Position Use of Information Representation Post employment Independence of Judgment Conflicts of Interest Gift/Favors/Attendance at Events
DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? NJSA 40A:9-22.5c: No local government officer or employee shall use or attempt to use his official position to secure unwarranted privileges or advantages for himself or others
OUCH THINGS that make my head hurt… –Too much ice cream eaten quickly –Going to work –Paula Abdul on Dancing with the Stars –Ethics dilemmas
Types of Dilemmas Ethical – legal dilemma Philosophical – practical Moral – amoral dilemmas
Approach Is an action ethical if it is legal? Conversely – is something unethical if it is illegal?
Other ETHICS to Consider Privacy Confidentiality Conflicts/Gifts Internal controls
Do you do this? Record things –Accurately –Honestly –Objectively –Timely
Standards of Ethical Conduct* Competence Confidentiality Integrity Objectivity
COMPETENCE Maintain an appropriate level of professional competence by ongoing development of their knowledge and skills. Perform their professional duties in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and technical standards. Prepare complete and clear reports and recommendations after appropriate analyses of relevant and reliable information.
CONFIDENTIALITY Refrain from disclosing confidential information acquired in the course of their work except when authorized, unless legally obligated to do so. Inform subordinates as appropriate regarding the confidentiality of information acquired in the course of their work and monitor their activities to assure the maintenance of that confidentiality.
CONFIDENTIALITY Refrain from using or appearing to use confidential information acquired in the course of their work for unethical or illegal advantage either personally or through third parties
LGEL - Information NJSA 40A:9-22.5g: No local government officer or employee shall use, or allow to be used, his public office or employment, or any information, not generally available to the members of the public, which he receives or acquires in the course of and by reason of his office or employment, for the purpose of securing financial gain for himself, any member of his immediate family, or any business organization with which he is associated;
THINGS THINGS you cant define but you will recognize it when you see it… –Pornography –Integrity
integrity Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity. –W. Clement Stone
INTEGRITY Avoid actual or apparent conflicts of interest and advise all appropriate parties of any potential conflict. Refrain from engaging in any activity that would prejudice their ability to carry out their duties ethically. Refuse any gift, favor, or hospitality that would influence or would appear to influence their actions.
LGEL - GIFTS NJSA 40A:9-22.5f: No local government officer or employee, member of his immediate family, or business organization in which he has an interest, shall solicit or accept any gift, favor, loan, political contributions, service, promise of future employment, or other thing of value based upon an understanding that the gift, favor, loan, contribution, service, promise or other thing of value was given or offered for the purpose of influencing him, directly or indirectly, in the discharge of his official duties. This provision shall not apply to the solicitation or acceptance of contributions to the campaign of an announced candidate for elective public office, if the local government officer has no knowledge or reason to believe that the campaign contribution, if accepted, was given with the intent to influence the local government officer in the discharge of his official duties.
INTEGRITY Refrain from either actively or passively subverting the attainment of the organization's legitimate and ethical objectives. Recognize and communicate professional limitations or other constraints that would preclude responsible judgment or successful performance of an activity.
ASK Are you and your staff competent to do all the requirements of the job without engaging the auditor or some other professional? What does your license mean? The only dumb question is the unasked one.
INTEGRITY Communicate unfavorable as well as favorable information and professional judgments or opinions. Refrain from engaging in or supporting any activity that would discredit the profession.
Consider if you will… You have been engaged as a professional for Greenacres municipality…you are friendly with many(all?) of your co-workers and often ask about family etc. One day a co-worker friend of your confides that her daughter is ill and requires a $10,000 operation that the current insurance will not fully cover. Some weeks later
Dilemma cont. You inquire about her daughter and she says that she is doing fine and confides in you that she borrowed $10,000 from one of the dormant, escrow, trust accounts but not to worry she is paying it back and will complete the payments before the municipality is audited… What do you do?
OBJECTIVITY Communicate information fairly and objectively. Disclose fully all relevant information that could reasonably be expected to influence an intended user's understanding of the reports, comments, and recommendations presented.
SAY WHAT? THINGS I barely understand –Teenage children –My spouse –Jersey Shore –Local Government Ethics Law
Everyday… "It happens all the time that people try to influence public officials. Where it becomes an issue is the action that comes from it." Peggy Kerns, Director Center for Ethics National Conference of State Legislatures
What do you do? You are asked to sign a sufficiency of funds statement when you know the funds will not be there until the end of the current fiscal year
Situational Ethics You have been asked to keep the books open past the end of the fiscal year and place a large transaction/sale of asset as a deposit in transit….
Nobody will know You work in a large municipality who has just upgraded their computer system and you are in charge of inventory/paying the bill –The salesperson says its no problem to slip in an extra computer if you make sure the bill gets paid on time –Your municipality auctions off old items and you are in charge of fixed asset inventory
Food for thought Should auditors be the municipalitys financial advisor as well? Familiarity Threat – NJ Comptroller?