Ethical Leadership - The experience of JCU's 3rd IBD cohort

Mayor South Euclid - Georgine Welo

1. Why can ethical decision making be such a challenge to elected officials?

Mayors face on regular basis

Example: Call from resident – Can’t use public money on private property unless use appropriate channels. Mayor Welo is very strict on this but past mayors would just send a service crew to clean something up.

2. What ethical challenges (pressures) are you faced with and how have you dealt with them?

* Have to decline an 89 year old woman and send through a different channel.

* Meet someone at a restaurant. Offered free gifts as a mayor but have to decline perks. 

* Invitations – What do you pay for and what don’t you. Gifts – What do you do with the gifts? – Donate the items (Example: Crystal Christmas)

* When went to the club box with E. Ohio Gas to try to get them to put pipes in a certain place (Georgine paid for tickets) – Always have to weigh job vs perks

Resources used to make decisions:

                A) Ohio Revised Code

                B) Ohio Ethics Commission Guidelines

                C) Gut check as mayor, director, law directors (Call your #2 to run the item past)

3. In your last campaign, how important was it to promote ethical decision making?

At the local level, have to look at ethics and creditability of yourself – People watch you so you have to be careful (Local celebrity as an elected official or leader)

Don’t want to insult people who offer things (like offering to bag groceries)

Have to balance both ways

Example: Lots of holiday parties: someone handled her husband a beer. He said” This is my favorite beer” so now every year that beer is offered at the party because it is the mayor’s husband’s favorite beer

89 year old man brings her a box of candy so she would give that to the Food Bank

When offered gifts: Can accept $75 and under (Ohio Revised Code)

4. Have you personally witnessed any ethical violations in your career? If so, how did you address the situation?

Spoke to counter party mayor to tell them what they are doing is wrong strained the relationship 

Employee Handbook – solves a lot of problems up front – Had a Case Western Reserve intern from law school write it

One employee in the building department was let go for using his position for personal gain (Example: Cited violation; he would go do the work for the money)

Beginning of her term – Did inventory and found brand new equipment

                * Needed to be sold

                * Service director had been purchasing extra every year so him and his wife got a trip

Tax Money – Building was old, can’t drink the water, so got $27M for a water cooler

                * Georgine paid for this for 4-5 years before she realized the city should be paying for it

Have to be able to make a decision – Its hard & be able to live with making a mistake