Resources - Ethics and Law

Business Ethics - Three Types

Type I Examples: Conflict of Interest and Self Dealing

1. A contractor (or grantor) offers you . . .

  • a cup of coffee
  • an after dinner drink at a local tavern
  • a homemade cake, cushion, etc.
  • a knife, watch, or some other purchased item
  • a lunch at a restaurant
  • a ski weekend at his cabin

What would you do?

2. You have worked for a moving company before becoming a Purchasing Agent for your agency, and now have started a part-time move-consulting business on the side. Several potential government suppliers have called your business for assistance which you could provide:

  • on weekends.
  • on your lunch hour and coffee breaks.
  • not at all.

What would you do?

3. While an employee of the Department of Land Use and Transportation, your brother-in-law asks you to go in on a real estate deal which sounds like a good investment. Before you buy-in, you discover from the liaison agent that the property is part of a planned county road widening project which will require the acquisition of a portion of the property in question.

What would you do?

4. You are assigned to an employment interview panel and discover that one of the applicants is:

  • your wife's cousin
  • your parent's best friend
  • your mother-in-law

What would you do?

Type II Examples: Serving Your Agency Mission

1. You are asked to recommend an appraisal of a single family residence which the owners purchased three years ago for $80,000. The property in question will be taken over by the County for a road widening project. Your market search indicates the range of value to be between $65,000 and $80,000, with the greatest support at the lower end of the range. What value do you place on the property?

2. As a facilities acquisition agent, you present an offer on a piece of property to an older couple who, after expressing unhappiness with the offer, ask whether they should sign the option. The piece of property will be used for a new jail. You believe the offer is within the range of market value but know that others along the line who objected to the original tender have been offered an additional 10% to 15% to settle.

What do you tell them?

3. As a Personnel Analyst, you notice three job applications and their accompanying resumes have arrived after the closing date for accepting applications. A review of the resumes suggest that all three of the late applicants are the strongest candidates for the position, yet your office has a policy of not accepting applications that arrive after the official closing date for a position.

What do you do?

Type III Examples: Acting as Trustees for the Pubic Interest

1. While negotiating with potential contractors you discover:

  • they are illegal aliens
  • they have filed inaccurate tax returns for the past 12 years.
  • they are growing a pot of marijuana on the kitchen windowsill
  • they have a methamphetamine lab in the basement
  • their 18-month old child appears to have been regularly abused
  • they are responsible citizens using assumed names and are wanted for destroying Selective Service records in 1971.

What would you do?

2. As a Purchasing Agent, you notice that a department submits two consecutive contracts with the same vendor for $9,500 and $9,000 respectively. Your agency's contracting policies provide that any one contract which exceeds $10,000 must go through a request-for-proposals process.

What would you do?

3. Your supervisor has instructed you to inform the ABC123 Construction Company any time there is a request under the Freedom of Information Act on the details of previous contacts between your agency and the ABC123 Construction Company. You have not been instructed to extend this courtesy to other construction companies that have done business with your agency.

What would you do?

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