“Doing the right thing” isn’t always easy, whether you’re an elected city official, an appointed member of a city advisory committee, or a paid member of the city staff. Newly elected officials may be surprised to find that issues that seemed straightforward during their campaign are suddenly more complicated now that they are in office. Appointed commissioners may struggle to balance their own opinions with the policy preferences of the elected officials who appointed them. And staff can sometimes get caught between upholding professional norms of integrity while trying to respond to the desires of the community and elected officials.
In an effort to provide cities with guidance on these complex issues, the League Board of Directors appointed an Ethics Advisory Panel. The 10-member panel was created to work toward a product that would promote high standards of ethical behavior, while providing a helpful framework to city officials trying to grapple with these issues.
The result of the panel’s work is two documents: a values-based Model Statement of Values, and a law-based Template Code of Conduct. The panel prepared these resources for use and consideration by Minnesota cities and city officials. Each city council is encouraged to decide for its city whether and how to incorporate these tools into city operations.