I haven't posted on these boards for a while, but I do listen to the podcasts. I appreciate them being OK with getting fired for ethics issues. I volunteer on a board in my town, and we're getting dissolved for speaking about an ethical issue. As I have posted a long time ago, I work in research and development for a pharmaceutical company.

Without getting too detailed, we deal with health and safety issues. The town has been cutting costs by changing contracts, but in doing so, increasing risks. Contract negotiations are secret until they come to a public meeting, and they do so in a very fast way. People who find problems with the cheaper services are being shouted down, and hospital and incident reports are being discounted as false (in public meetings, caught on video). Because we spoke up, our group is being disbanded by the governing body. It's really one person, but his two puppets always vote his way on everything.

I led a huge PR effort. We got 12 newspaper articles written in 3 papers in 2 months. We've gotten residents writing letters, putting signs on their lawn. We armed everyone with the right data. And tomorrow they will have their vote and will be no more. But at least we let everyone know, we let the state know, and perhaps it will have an effect in November. It also helps me appreciate my employer more -- perhaps they don't give me the pats on the back I want, but at least they are all about data. Local politics are very messy, and something I hope to never have to deal with again. Listening to the ethics podcast did at least help me feel good about it.

Chris.Lodge's picture

Politicians: I trust them as far as I can spit them.

acao162's picture

As a local government employee this just kills me!  I have never been asked to do anything unethical or immoral, nor does my city permit such behaviour.  We feel that we have to be held to the higher standard because we are so "in public".  As an aside, I have made it pretty clear that I would resign were I asked to do something unethical.  It is a pity that your local gov't doesn't feel the same way.

I commend you for standing up and being that dissenting voice.  Local government is the closest to the people and should engage both citizens and politicians in healthy, respectful debate. 

Good luck with the vote anyhow.  Perhaps you have made more of an impact that you realize.

SamBeroz's picture

ACAO162, it's nice to hear from someone who's so passionate about local government! As a citizen, I value your dedication and commitment. Thank you - Sam

TNoxtort's picture

They had the vote today. Lots of citizens got up and the chairman was really disrespectful to them, as he has been at public comments in the past. Further, though it was supposed to be a discusion, the elected officials insisted on not commenting until the end. But it really was awful the way they treated people. I got up and spoke too. Everyone spoke in favor of keeping us. Not a single one spoke against us. After 1.5 hours of public comment, the elected officials spoke. The two for us spoke in favor. The two against made brief remarks. Then the chair spoke, spouting out lies and lies and misinformation, some related to my actions where I did not return his calls (because he screamed at me on the phone and on messages). So while we only had 5 min to speak, he got 20, and no one could respond. Finally they had the vote, and we were done.

I feel good that we did our best. The whole thing lasted two hours, a testament to our effectiveness at getting the word out to people. That I can feel good about, though I'd still feel bad if it really does affect the health and safety of someone. Everything this chair did was legal, but so unethical. It's interesting to see how as leaders, how important and easy it is to abuse power. But of course, not everyone will heed to that.

Chris.Lodge's picture

Is that the end of it, or can you carry on with your campaign?

If you have public support and you are no longer tied to the job, you can now do what you like.

TNoxtort's picture

This committee I was on was totally volunteer. It was not tied to my job. And our committee was dissolved.

But at this point, I am done. It's taken up a of my time, and I feel good we exposed it to the town. These elected officials will probably lose their positions in November, but that's for other people to work on. I just feel good we did ethically what was right. And I feel that I work for a company that does hold to better ethical standards than what my town is doing.