Perception of city hall ethics has improved

audit2City employees have a more positive opinion of the ethics of those “at the top” of city management than they did in 2008, according to a new city audit.

The audit report notes that fewer than half of respondents agree that top management sets a good example of ethical conduct. Still, the report says, the 49 percent who agree in 2016 is a 19 percent increase over the number who agreed in 2008.

The auditor’s office surveyed 4410 active city employees and got 2005 responses to offer a picture of employees’ perceptions of the city’s ethical environment. The survey compares results to the most recent previous survey in 2008. Since then, the city has revised its code of ethics, provided ethics training and expanded the authority of the Municipal Office and Officers Ethics Commission.

Among the findings:

  • Three-fourths of survey respondents agreed that top city management insists that employees follow city laws and practices.
  • Although only 45 percent of respondents agreed that top city management treats all members of the public the same, regardless of personal or political connections, that percentage was significantly higher than in 2008.
  • Most employees reported being familiar with the city’s code of ethics, knowing how to report unethical behavior, and being expected to report unethical behavior.
  • Employee knowledge about how to handle ethical concerns is mixed. Although improving significantly, less than half of employees agreed they could report unethical behavior without fear of retaliation and only about one-third of employees believed unethical behavior would probably be detected and punished.
  • Ten to fifteen percent of employees reported being asked by an elected official or department management to do something that contradicted the city’s rules and procedures while performing their job duties during the past twelve months.

View the complete report online

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