Presentation on theme: " For each of the following ethical dilemmas, participants are to identify the course of action they would take, the issues that are involved, and the."— Presentation transcript:
For each of the following ethical dilemmas, participants are to identify the course of action they would take, the issues that are involved, and the potential consequences of each option.
A colleague whom you consider a friend has been taking petty cash. You have just learned about your friend’s actions. What would you do? ____Tell the appropriate authority what you know. ____Keep quiet. You do not want your friend to be fired over such a small matter. ____Other:
Key points: This situation pits personal and organizational loyalties against each other. Even though the amount stolen may be minimal, this situation is very serious because it involves theft of government funds. By saying nothing, a manager or supervisor is in reality condoning the act and could be held accountable. It could also be argued that if you say nothing, your friend might try more serious embezzlement in the future. Some participants might believe that a better course of action would be to confront the employee and insist that he or she come clean; if this course of action is taken, it is critical that the manager or supervisor be prepared to turn in the employee if the employee refuses to come clean. Paying back the money is not sufficient; the employee must admit to the theft and make restitution.
You have worked with a local government supplier for many years and have developed a good relationship with the sales representative. He mentions that he has some season tickets for the local professional basketball games that he cannot use. He suggests that you and your spouse accept them as a gift. What would you do? ____Accept the tickets and list the tickets on your financial disclosure form. The sales representative is a friend and is not asking for anything in return. ____Turn down the offer of the tickets. You believe that the gift might compromise your objectivity or others’ perception of your objectivity in your relationship with this and other suppliers. ____Other:
Key points: Many local governments have rules about gifts; this would be a good time to review these rules. Regardless, it is critical that employees follow guidelines prescribed by state financial disclosure laws, which usually require public employees to disclose all gifts. Most government employees find that their lives are less complicated, however, if they make it a practice not to accept gifts of any kind from those who do business with local government.
Your local government is involved in snow removal, as a street department member you are approached by a resident and asked a special favor to remove their driveway snow. What would you do? They offered $20 for the consideration. ____Remove the snow using city equipment. ____Refuse the snow removal and suggest they call one of the local service providers. ____Other:
Key points: It may be tempting to accept the the $20 proposal, but to use city equipment for personal gain is not permitted. There are also considerations from insurance coverage to just fairness to the other residents. If you do it for one, can you do it for all. If it is not policy to clean off resident driveways, then it is not permitted.
The city has an annual plan to do asphalt repairs and crack sealing. The contractor is under the direction of the city as to what streets need to be done. A resident has approached the city employee overseeing the project an asked if some of the cracks in his driveway can be touched up. What would you do? ____Accept the offer and direct the contractor to seal the driveway cracks. ____Refuse the resident’s request. ____Other:
Key points: This situation again refers to fairness. How would it be perceived? Is it fair? It is not permitted to use city funds for private applications. The acid test is if it is done for one can it be done for all. Usually it would be cost prohibitive.
An employee is having personal problems that are affecting his or her work. The employee is frequently late and has failed to meet several expectations. What would you do if you were the supervisor? ____Document the problems carefully, tell the employee that his or her performance is unacceptable, and draft a performance improvement plan. Hold the employee accountable for any lapses. ____Look the other way. Since the problems are due to personal issues, performance will improve once the employee resolves these issues. You sympathize with the employee and want to avoid adding to her problems. ____Other:
Key points: It is critical to address any performance problem promptly and objectively. Ignoring an employee’s poor performance, does a disservice to the organization, places more responsibility on others, and tacitly supports negative behavior. Moreover, the employee is being paid for work that she or he is not doing but getting paid for, which is essentially a falsification of payroll records. The supervisor needs to let the employee know that her performance is hurting the quality and timeliness of work and help develop an improvement plan that clearly identifies goals, the steps that the employee must take to improve, and the consequences of failing to achieve stated goals. Since the supervisor believes that the performance problems are due to some personal issues, the supervisor should also offer some support in addressing these issues, such as the local government’s employee assistance program. The supervisor cannot mandate this help, however.
You were recently promoted to a job as a building inspector. You have just learned that some of the inspections that your predecessor claimed to have completed were never undertaken. What would you do? ____Keep the problem to yourself. Your job is to do the inspections that are scheduled now, not to check up on someone else’s work. There is no way to hold the building official responsible, so there is no reason to risk word getting out to the media. ____Inform your supervisor or the department head, even if it means that you have to “reinspect” the buildings. ____Other:
Key points: Although there could be short- term embarrassment to the city or department if this problem is reported, the public outcry would be far worse if citizens learned of a “cover-up.” Moreover, if a building that had not been inspected experienced a fire or structural problem, the government could be held liable.
The government recently purchased plants for several parks and has several left over after planting them. One of your best employees has approached you to ask if he can take the plants home. What would you do? ____Let the employee take the plants. Since they are going to be thrown away otherwise, you consider the plants a reward for good work. ____Explain the employee that letting him take the plants could appear to be inappropriate. The press might make a big deal out of this type of thing. ____Other:
Key points: This situation appears innocuous, but giving the plants away could be construed as misuse of government funds. Purchasing more of any item than necessary is wasteful and could also be considered a breach of ethics, as ethical decision making requires making the best use of government funds. The supervisor needs to discuss this situation with his or her manager or department head to find the optimal solution. If there is no other park or government property where the plants could be used, it might be a better option to allow the public to purchase them at cost.
The city has a program of recycling scrap metal which is based on tonnage goals. If the goals are met, the program rewards members of the street department with incentives based on meeting the scrap metal tonnage targets. An employee decides to take some scrap home to use. What do you think? ____Tell the appropriate authority what you know. ____Keep quiet. You do not want your friend to be confronted such a small matter. ____Other:
Key points: This situation pits personal and organizational loyalties against each other. Even though the amount stolen may be minimal, this situation is very serious because it involves theft. Even though it is considered scrap, it has a value. By saying nothing, a manager or supervisor is in reality condoning the act and could be held accountable. It could also be argued that if you say nothing, your friend might try more serious acts in the future. Remember that the employee is stealing from his fellow team since the incentives of the program are shared by others as well.
One of the employees has just received a position that will require him to spend significant time out in the field. The city has a policy about the use of cell phones: They are to be used sparingly to call supervisors and colleagues only for city business. You have become aware that this employee is using the phone for personal hobby and entertainment use. What would you do? ____Remind the employee of the policy regarding cell phone use and point out that excessive personal use is not permitted. ____Ignore the calls. They seem to have no impact on his ability to get the job done. ____Other:
Key points: Ethics requires enforcing policy equally for all employees. If the supervisor feels that there should be exceptions to the policy, he or she should bring the issue up with the department head to change the policy. A compromise to this is to assess a monthly fee to the employee to reimburse the city for a reasonable amount of any personal calls. Again reasonable and actual always need to be measured for fairness.
During a recent storm, one of the employees experienced significant property damage. More than a dozen trees were knocked over, and one tree hangs precipitously over his house. Several of the employees on your work team are planning to work this weekend to help the employee cut up and haul away the damaged trees. The employees have asked you if they can borrow a chainsaw from the department to use over the weekend. What would you do? ____Let them use the chainsaw, but remind them that it needs to be returned first thing Monday morning. ____Decline their request. The chainsaw is government property. ____Other:
Key points: The supervisor should take this opportunity to explain to the work team that any use of government property for personal projects is a breach of ethics. Personal use adds wear and tear to the equipment, perhaps making it necessary to replace it sooner than necessary. There are also liability issues to consider. Insurance would be unlikely to cover an injury that occurred off hours; the government could be held liable if someone got hurt.
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