Tom LoBianco, writing for the Associated Press, has a good piece of investigative journalism which takes a look at the relationship of former Tony Bennett chief of staff, Todd Huston, with his once and future employer, Cisco Systems, and the Indiana Department of Education.
It looks like Huston left Cisco to come work with Bennett at the Department of Education, maintained a close relationship with the Cisco people while he was at the IDOE and arranged contacts between Cisco sales people and the Department of Education, then left the IDOE to go back to Cisco while still providing education policy advice to Bennett and facilitating contacts between Cisco sales people and the IDOE.
The story has a sort of Mitch Roob feel to it.
Ethics—???? simply a frame of mind, a concept, or a matter of law? Do we simply say “that’s just the way things are done” or should something else be the standard of expectation.
Rick Westerman says
Both a frame of mind — “decisions are based upon ethical principles, which are the perception of what the general public would view as correct. [wikipedia] — and a force of law (or at least adminstative ruling) — http://www.in.gov/ig/files/Ethics_Exec_summary.pdf
As long as people have the ability and desire to jump from private sector jobs to public sector jobs and vice-versa it will be hard to separate non-ethical decision-making behavior from knowledge-based decision-making behavior.
Also, as far as the frame of mind, it does depend on the society the behavior is taking place in. In the USA we expect a hands-off ‘do not enrich you or your buddies’ ethics.
Paula Griffith says
It all boils down to, in their mind, the ends justifying the means. “It’s ok to take shortcuts or do something that looks shady because I’m 100% sure I’m right and good and must stop those evil (insert appropriate “them”here)”