Ethics Tenet 8

Make it a duty continually to improve the member’s professional ability and to develop the competence of associates in the use of management techniques.

Case Study

The County Manager’s contract has language that states the “… manager is encouraged to be active in his/her professional organizations and pursue educational opportunities.” During the manager’s first two years of tenure, this contract provision was interpreted in a manner that resulted in the County paying membership dues to ICMA & FCCMA coupled with monies budgeted that afforded conference expenses. The County even paid for the manager’s self-assessment testing offered by ICMA after six months of employment. The election resulted in a majority change in commission makeup with four new members that ran on a fiscally conservative platform. During budget review, several of the newly-elected commissioners began to scrutinize line-item expenditures paying particular attention to the manager’s professional memberships and travel costs. Even though the manager explained that ethically professional managers need to pursue 40 hours of educational development annually and that the employment contract recognized that requirement, the majority of commissioners felt the contract language had been interpreted too liberally and that membership including travel expenses should be paid by the manager. In addition, since tax dollars were expended for the manager’s self-assessment, two of the commissioners demanded a copy of the results should be made public.