The City of Dunedin (a bedroom community on the North side of St. Petersburg) addressed some problems they experienced in their public dialogue by adopting just such a code. Given the chaos caused in our little community by certain un-civil acts by our Mayor, SDM suggests the village council consider adopting one, too:
Code of Core Values for Civility and Ethics
Integrity – I shall make no promises or commitments I cannot reasonably expect to fulfill, and I shall maintain appropriate social, ethical, and organizational norms in City related activities.
Ethics – I pledge to maintain the highest standards of professional behavior and to comply with the laws, regulations, and policies under which we operate.
Civility – I pledge to help create an atmosphere of respect and civility where individual Commissioners, City Manager, department heads, staff, committee and board members, and the public are free to express their ideas and work to their full potential.
Respect for the Individual – I respect the diversity of Commissioners, staff, committee members, and citizens, to provide fair and equitable treatment in all areas, and to encourage personal and professional growth.
Communication – I pledge to be open, consistent, truthful, and respectful in all communications, written and verbal, as this is vital for reflective and sound decision making for the Dunedin community.
Teamwork – I shall work together with others, with mutual respect, to achieve organizational goals, recognizing that unity of purpose and effort leads to increased productivity and greater accomplishments.
Leadership – I shall lead by example, using appropriate interpersonal skills, and shall strive to maximize citizen and staff involvement to further the vision of Dunedin’s quality community.
Creativity and Innovation – I shall strive to stimulate and appreciate new concepts and solutions suggested by all, as Dunedin’s creative community is enriched.
Quality – I shall strive for excellence in every phase of our work.
Stewardship – I shall strive to make a positive contribution to our City and to enhance the quality of services throughout the Dunedin community.
Efficiency – I shall work to attain our goals by optimizing the use of our energy, time and resources.
Organizational Sensitivity – I shall consider the impact of all decisions on resources and to recognize the limitations imposed by our environment.
Adaptability – I shall respond efficiently and effectively to the needs of our citizens as well as to changes in our environment.
Recognition – I shall recognize and value individual contributions to the Dunedin community, as the City’s mission and vision are pursued.
SDM knows that codes of ethics and civility – like citizens’ bills of rights, sadly – merely set the lowest bar of political behavior. We have a right to expect that any person seeking public office is internally constituted to be an honorable person. Unfortunately, public office often attracts precisely the opposite type.
So, we should insist that codes like the one above – adapted to our village – be included in the political dialogue. In Palmetto Bay, we could make the code above part of the packet of documents a candidate signs (or refuses to sign) when he or she qualifies for election.
Then, when we run into a politically devious act (like trashing your opponents, colleagues and community-members through a theoretically untraceable website), then at least we have a political yardstick against which we can measure the guilty pol.
SDM Wonders: Since your agenda at the May 15th Committee of the Whole is so lacking in consequential matters, will one of you add a serious item so this village can begin the process of reconciliation?