Finance offices often have policies to provide guidance to staff and/or elected officials on how to handle everyday ethical issues. However, getting people to pay attention to and live by these polices can be a challenge.
The new GFOA Code of Ethics is a reimagining of how finance offices think about ethics. The old way was centered on telling people what to do and what not to do. The new Code of Ethics asks finance offices to think about ethics as synonymous with building trust with elected officials, other staff members, and the public.
Trust is an asset as important as any that can be found on our balance sheets. GFOA's new Code of Ethics shows us how to live these values. It recognizes that people are imperfect and that we are all subject to biases that can challenge ethical behavior. The code asks the members of government finance offices to confront these challenges in order to serve our communities to the best of our abilities.
Integrity and honesty are the foundation on which trustworthiness is built. A member of a public finance office is in an unusual position where their influence over the allocation of limited resources and the fiscal future of their community requires the highest standard of integrity and honesty. To demonstrate integrity and honesty, a finance officer must:
* Manage public finances honestly and transparently.
* Stand for their values.
* Be open to new ideas.
Doing the job of a public finance officer well honors the trust the public has placed in them. To produce results for their community, a finance officer must:
* Do high-quality work.
* Hone their expertise.
* Exercise good judgment.
Local governments depend on trusting relationships between people. If people feel unfairly treated, relationships break down, and they may withhold their support from the government. To demonstrate how the finance officer treats people fairly:
* Respect the rights of others.
* Develop processes and procedures that are fair.
Embracing diversity and fostering inclusiveness helps finance offices cultivate organizations and promote policies that reflect the communities they serve. When people feel included, they will see that their government is concerned for their wellbeing. To demonstrate how they value diversity and foster inclusion, a finance officer must:
* Provide people with opportunities to be part of decisions that affect them.
* Support equity in service provision.
Consistently applying their personal standards makes it...