This course defines “soft corruption” as: Interests and involvements that are not illegal but fail to meet acceptable standards of morality. The exploits of government officers and employees that will be excoriated in this seminar are the issues that infuriate citizens and undermine public confidence. Some of these are: Betraying oaths; Collusion; Finding or developing loopholes; Concealing transactions from public view; Nepotism; Lies and Deception; Obscuring the truth; Advancing personal agendas; Neglecting convictions, and more. The standards of morality that will be declaimed are the “Pledges” that accompany The Foundation and Pillars of Government Ethics. The goal of this class is to strengthen the ethical resolve of local government officers and employees by confronting them with dramatic interactive role-play that features a variety of ethical dilemmas and conflicts of interest in government service. The YOU BE THE JUDGE experience will draw upon past and recent ethics cases as well as common scenarios faced by local government officers and employees. Attendees will witness live dramatic confrontations between ethics combatants comprised of complainants and ethically challenged local government officers. It will also feature conflicts and disagreements between fellow employees.
Instructors will lead students through a review of the provisions of ethical standards in the New Jersey Local Government Ethics Law (N.J.S.A. 40:9-22.1 et seq.) and encourage them to discuss the ethical ramifications of the behaviors exhibited in each case. Instructors will ask the students to assess culpability and conclude whether each episode in soft corruption crossed the line to become an actual ethics violation. Students will be challenged to take the “high road” and avoid the type of conduct on display, whether or not an actual violation occurred.
The presenters will utilize student interaction as the greatest influence on moral and ethical reasoning. Attendees will be encouraged to express ethical judgments and explain their decisions. The high level of tension fostered by these dramatic encounters will spur government officers and employees to challenge their own assumptions and beliefs, thereby enhancing their moral and ethical thinking skills. The purpose is to test the students’ ethical senses and raise awareness of the most common lapses of judgment in government employment.
Dave Nenno Ethics Law Consulting Services: Ethics training and professional development seminars. 1976-2010 NJ State Department of Community Affairs, Division of Local Government Services, Local Finance Board (retired); and Joe Adams CEUnion Consultant/Instructor, CIO at Kanda DMF Inc, Bucks County Community College Continuing Ed Instructor
Breakfast starts at 8:30AM and class begins at 9:00AM till 1:00P