In the context of an ethical scandal, I reported yesterday that Pennsylvania Senator Joe Scarnati had his trip to the Super Bowl paid for by a local company, CONSOL Energy. Well, in a quick response to public scrutiny, Senator Scarnati yesterday announced that he would be reimbursing CONSOL for the costs.
That’s what I call reactive ethics.
Separately, I had previously reported about an issue where Michael Kinney, the executive director of the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority (PWSA), was the subject of an investigation because he awarded substantial business without adequate competition to a supplier that was run by friends and then changed the scope of work after award such that the supplier made more money. Well, this past weekend, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the PWSA dropped the investigation after Kinney resigned the executive director’s job in December.
In dropping the investigation, PWSA told the law firm conducting the investigation to instead develop new ethics guidelines. These new guidelines suggested that PWSA should “provide ethics training to employees, develop an ethics manual, fine-tune contract procedures, and impose unspecified checks and balances on the next executive director.”
What do you think I call that?
Right, reactive ethics.
It should not require an ethics scandal for ethical guidelines to be put in place, whether in government or in procurement. Can your organization – or your career – afford to have an ethics scandal happen before establishing ethical guidelines?
Putting ethical guidelines in place right away is proactive ethics. And proactive ethics beat the heck of out of reactive ethics. Why? Well, do you think Scarnati and Kinney will have challenges with being trusted again due to their embrace of reactive vs. proactive ethics?
I think so.
To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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