Magazine article Public Management

Investing in Your Community

Magazine article Public Management

Investing in Your Community

Article excerpt

Q. The assistant city manager, who has deep roots in the community, has been asked to join the board of the local nonprofit hospice provider. The agency is struggling financially and is embroiled in a lengthy dispute with the county over compliance with various regulations. The assistant wants to give back to the community. His extensive community network, management expertise, and knowledge of government would certainly be an asset to the board. Will this volunteer work create any ethical issues?

A. Community service is compatible with public service. Holding senior positions in local government doesn't preclude ICMA members from contributing their time and expertise to nonprofit or charitable organizations in their communities. Before accepting an assignment, however, it's wise to consider whether there is a nexus between your official duties and your volunteer work that could create a conflict or the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Because the city doesn't fund the hospice or regulate its activities, the assistant should feel free to serve on the board. In the interest of maintaining good ties with the county manager and staff, the assistant may want to help the board develop a strategy for resolving the dispute with the county but leave the implementation to other board members or hospice staff.

Q. The city manager has an opportunity to invest in a partnership that is developing assisted-living centers throughout the region. One site will be built within the city limits of the manager's city. …

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