Corruption and American Cities

Essays and Case Studies in Ethical Accountability


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About the Book

Corruption is a chronic public concern affecting America’s cities. Greed, ethical lapses and lack of accountability have drained untold millions in tax dollars.
Corrupt practices range from embezzlement, graft, bribery, kickbacks, extortion, nepotism and patronage to the misuse of funds, vehicles, equipment, supplies and other public resources. Court proceedings to investigate and prosecute perpetrators add to the cost.
Media exposés have magnified the spectacle of abusive and unethical government. This book investigates the reasons behind corruption and imparts guidelines for better accountability.

About the Author(s)

Joaquin Jay Gonzalez III, Ph.D., is Mayor George Christopher Professor of Public Administration at Golden Gate University. He worked as immigration commissioner for the city of San Francisco and is long-time President and CEO of the Pilipino Senior Resource Center in San Francisco, California.

Roger L. Kemp, Ph.D., has been a city manager on both the East and West coasts for more than 25 years and holds International City/County Management Association credentials. He has taught at the University of California, Rutgers University, the University of New Haven, and the University of Connecticut. He is a distinguished adjunct professor in the Executive MPA Program at Golden Gate University.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Joaquin Jay Gonzalez III and Roger L. Kemp
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 240
Bibliographic Info: appendices, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6577-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2714-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

Preface 1

Part I: The State of Corruption

 1. The Town That Can’t Seem to Govern Itself (Daniel C. Vock) 7

 2. Drained (Josh Goodman) 11

 3. Dilemmas Faced When Contracting Out Public Services (Andrea Headley) 15

 4. Chicago and Illinois, Leading the Pack in Corruption (Dick Simpson et al.) 17

 5. The Dark Side of Awards and Accountability (Ken Miller) 21

 6. Public Corruption: An Ethical Challenge (Dulce Pamela Baizas) 25

 7. Corruption—An Enlightened ­Self-Interest? (Ravi Subramanian) 27

 8. When Does Politicians’ Unethical Behavior Become a Crime? (Alan Ehrenhalt) 29

 9. Managing Public Mistrust of Government (Brynne VanHettinga) 32

10. Coffee and Doughnuts: Building Accountability (John J. Carroll) 34

11. Can Police Departments Reduce Implicit Bias? (Paul Figueroa) 37

Part II: Practices and Possibilities

A. Classic

12. Cuyahoga County’s Road to Recovery from Corruption  (Josh Goodman) 41

13. How Public Professionals Stay Politically Neutral  (Roger L. Kemp) 43

14. How Would It Look in the Paper?  (Bob Stone) 45

15. Charlotte Mayor Resigns After Arrest on Corruption Charges (Mark Washburn, Jim Morrill and Michael Gordon) 47

16. The Costs of Public Corruption  (Patrick Fitzgerald) 51

17. Whistleblowers Anonymous  (Tom Arrandale) 53

18. Regaining the Public’s Trust  (G. Edward DeSeve) 57

19. New York Corruption Investigation Trends  (Chelsea A. Binns) 59

20. Lack of Oversight Led to ­Ex-Water Agency Head’s Conviction  (Dan Ivers) 61

21. How We’re Losing the War on Corruption  (Mark Funkhouser) 63

22. Municipal Employees Retirement System Faces Questions (Kevin Litten) 65

23. Responding to an Ethical Crisis (Kevin Duggan) 67

24. Ethics: Focus on the Fundamentals (Martha Perego) 69

25. Ethics, Front and Center (Troy Brown) 71

B. Contemporary

26. Local Government Ethics Reform (Robert Wechsler) 75

27. Assessing the Ethical Culture of Your Agency (JoAnne Speers, Jan Perkins and Arne Croce) 81

28. Building a Strong Local Government Ethics Program (Michael W. Manske and H. George Frederickson) 85

29. Ethics: Alive and Well  (Elizabeth Kellar and Jan Perkins) 91

30. Ethics in Public Management Education  (Alicia Schatteman 94

31. Key Elements to Building Transparent Communities International City/County Management Association 96

32. A Dose of Transparency (Penelope Lemov) 101

33. Introducing the Cycle of Transparency (Paul Blumenthal) 105

34. Council-Manager or Strong Mayor? International City/County (Management Association and California City Management Foundation) 108

35. A ­Cost-Effective Way to Bust (and Prevent) Contractor Fraud (Jim Sullivan) 111

36. City-State Oversight of Funds Given to Nonprofits Lacking (Zach Patton) 113

37. Vigilance Required for New York Government Employees (Chelsea A. Binns) 120

38. Lessons of Bell, California (Michael McGrath) 122

39. Where Our Profession Is Making a Difference (Kevin Duggan) 126

40. Prudent Options for Balancing Public Budgets (Roger L. Kemp) 133

41. The Seven Deadly Sins of Public Finance (Liz Farmer) 138

42. Body-Worn Cameras: Using the Wealth of Data Effectively (Paul Figueroa) 143

43. Report Grades Cities’ Spending Transparency Websites (Mike Maciag) 148

44. Using Technology to Increase Access and Transparency (Brian A. Moura) 150

45. Unlike Zoos, Public Health Departments Don’t Need National Accreditation  (Mattie Quinn) 153

Part III: Caveats and the Future

46. Speak Out, Do the Right Thing and You’re Fired! (Brynne VanHettinga) 155

47. Dealing with Public Mistrust  (Dana K. Lee) 157

48. When Transparency Fails to Produce Accountability  (Pospere Charles) 160

49. When Transparency Becomes the Enemy of Accountability (Stuart C. Gilman and Howard Whitton) 162

50. How to Embed Transparency into Collaborative Governance (Jusil Lee and Erik W. Johnston) 165

51. Corruption, Ethics and Accountability (Rod Erakovich et al.) 168

52. Anti-Corruption Effort Targets All the States (Neal Peirce) 170

53. States Disclose Economic Development Subsidies (Mike Maciag) 172

54. Why It Might Finally Get Easier to Access Public Data (Liz Farmer) 175

55. The Truth about Public Employees in California (Sylvia A. Allegretto and Jeffrey Keefe) 177

56. Disclosing Public Employee Pay Troubles Some Officials (Mike Maciag) 186


I. Professional Code of Ethics (Government Finance Officers Association) 189

II. Code of Ethics with Guidelines  (International City/County Management Association) 191

III. Proposed Code of Ethics for Municipal Officials (State of Connecticut) 196

IV. Transparency in Government Procurement (National Institute of Governmental Purchasing) 213

V. Glossary of ­Anti-Corruption Practices (Joaquin Jay Gonzalez III) 220

About the Editors and Contributors 223

Index 225

Book Reviews & Awards

“This is an outstanding compilation of data addressing government corruption. A must read for anyone wishing to hold their local government accountable.”—Edward Hazel, Prosecutor; “If you care about good governance, you need to read this examination of one of its most difficult issues.”—James Nordin, Treasurer, City of Rio Vista, California; “An essential resource for practitioners and academics committed to curbing corruption and promoting ethical governance.”—Donald C. Menzel, Past President, American Society for Public Administration; “This is a remarkable collection of stories and analyses of corruption and anti-corruption attempts in the United States…America leads the world in anti-corruption legislation but it lags in enforcement. This volume underscores the challenges and opportunities facing reformers on the look-out for the public good.”—Emil Bolongaita, Professor, Carnegie Mellon University; “The book touches upon a very sensitive issue to Americans—public integrity! America was already tormented before by a ‘Spoils System’ of government and the book does a fine job of highlighting similar ethical issues and providing inspiring anti-corruption practices.” —Lt. Carlos Sanchez, San Francisco District Attorney’s Office; “Very interesting and timely book, with a unique mix of analysis and relevant case studies… demonstrates the problem of corruption and mismanagement from an angle not always analyzed in the literature in such lucid terms.”—Gambhir Bhatta, Technical Advisor (Governance), Asian Development Bank; “This is an important work. Shinning a light on corruption in America is essential for the health of our democracy.”—Ruth S. Astle, Administrative Law Judge (retired), State of California.