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Thread: Another ethics question: actions without legal authority

  1. #1
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Another ethics question: actions without legal authority

    I don't want to call a few things my employer does as being illegal, but they are definitely being done without proper legal authority or process.

    Just wondering what you would do?

    Here are a few options I have

    1) Register a complaint with the local bar association - lawyers oversee the process and approve the documents that are prepared without legal authority.

    2) Call my local planning org and register a complaint against the people who oversee the projects (from Sr to manager to director to commisioner to city manager)? The code of ethics is pretty clear on this, that we are not to undertake actions that are against the law.

    3) Refuse to have anything to do with any project or application that is similar in nature.

    4) Just to let you know the politicians think the action is a great thing, even though it is similar to black mail.

    Other suggestions on ways to get this fixed?
    Last edited by donk; 22 Sep 2006 at 9:43 AM.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  2. #2
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    well, I think we need to know more about what's happening or what happened and what the damages from their actions are or are likely to be...

  3. #3
    maudit anglais
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    I'd start with 3. If they don't accept your position, escalate to 2. Definitely make sure you are on firm ground first...do you know a lawyer you can speak to confidentially about this?

    You may also want to brush up on Provincial "whistle-blower" legislation.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian solarstar's avatar
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    Without knowing anything further, I'd go with #3. #1 and #2 are opening up huge cans of worms that you may not be willing to live with in the long run. I'm all for the greater good, but if you are in a small place (and even if you aren't) your future is probably toast. I'd stay out of it, make sure the parties know your concerns (which they probably already do), and cya as much as possible by notes, file memos, etc. The comment from Tranplanner about talking to an attorney isn't bad, either, if that's an option for you. Does the local government attorney know about this?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    You can get in contact with your APA/AICP local/state rep for informal advice which will be kept confidential unless you persue any actions. I haven't done this yet but the thought has crossed my mind before.
    @GigCityPlanner

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I kept a pretty tight reign on my former employers when they were going down this path. I would typically speak up in the public meeting and "advise" them as to the legal actions they could take or the process they would have to follow to be in compliance with the law. This may have been easier for me as a director, as it is part of my role. Your director should really be doing this now, and if s/he is not, then the ethical conflict begins right there. Does the CIP have an ethics code and ethics officers? I would start there. Another approach may be to advise the applicant of their rights and the correct procedure during the submittal stage. Once they get to the Plan Commission they can approach it as informed participants.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

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