Do numbers tell stories and, if so, do such narratives supporting financial management decisions have elements of morality, justification, and fairness that are definitive? Inherent to these provocative questions is the reality that most public organizations and their administrators have considerable discretion in the selected approaches to developing budgets, which include a multitude of innate decisions that are neither clearly right nor wrong. Angela Pool-Funai's Ethics in Fiscal Administration: An Introduction addresses a shortcoming in broad ethics education by illuminating the grey areas of the public budgeting arena that include neither black nor white answers to decision problems. The book's goal is to encourage critical thinking through option analysis that considers the ethical constructs provided to a targeted audience of prospective budget managers and students of public administration.
Dr. Angela Pool-Funai organizes the onset of the book by establishing a framework that will facilitate discussion on ethics in budgeting. This framework includes economic theories, political science and ethical philosophies, and public administration history and theory. The framework also has a prefaced argument that 1) politics cannot be divorced from economics in modern government, and 2) personal philosophy on the appropriate role government will influence the choice of lens public administrators chose to wear in viewing ethical decisions.
The book supplements the conceptual framework with practical management tools and administrative processes that can aid the discussion on ethical decision-making. The administrative techniques in the book included strategic planning, line-item budgeting, performance-based budgeting, zero-based budgeting, accounting/auditing, financial reporting, decision-making models, revenue source evaluation (taxes, intergovernmental, debt), managerial methods, the role of politics in administration, and evolving technology.
Incorporated throughout the text are scenarios for readers to apply the discussion topics and ethical framework to practical dilemmas that public administrators experience. Readers are asked in chapter one's "Case and Point" exercise, for example, to be a Chief Financial Officer who has the responsibility of budgeting a 3% funding increase towards employee raises in an agency where there are issues of personnel attainment/retainment, employee morale, and longstanding pay inequities among comparable...