Around Town: City managers 101

In light of the current city manager search and the issues raised by the position’s former occupant, a copy of the profession’s code of ethics might come in handy for those of you who keep your finger on the pulse of the city government. Any city manager worth his salary belongs to the International City Manager’s Association, so you can probably bet that whoever is hired to replace Bill Moss, who happens to be a member, will have to abide by these standards.

It’s also worth noting that submitting to any kind of public approval, whether you want to call it election, vote of confidence, or whatever have you, seriously hinders the member’s ability to carry out these tenets. Moss has mentioned before that he would be required to relinquish his membership to the organization if his performance were to be evaluated by the public.

– Be dedicated to the concepts of effective and democratic local government by responsible elected officials and believe that professional general management is essential to the achievement of this objective.

– Affirm the dignity and worth of the services rendered by government and maintain a constructive, creative and practical attitude toward local government affairs and a deep sense of social responsibility as a trusted public servant

– Be dedicated to the highest ideals of honor and integrity in all public and personal relationships in order that the member may merit the respect and confidence of the elected officials, of other officials and employees and of the public.

– Recognize that the chief function of local government at all times is to serve the best interests of all people.

– Submit policy proposals to elected officials; provide them with facts and advice on matters of policy as a basis for making decisions and setting community goals; and uphold and implement local government policies adopted by elected officials.

– Recognize that elected representatives of the people are entitled to the credit for the establishment of local government policies; responsibility for policy execution rests with the members.

– Refrain from all political activities which undermine public confidence in professional administrators. Refrain from participation in the election of the members of the employing legislative body.

– Make it a duty continually to improve the member’s professional ability and to develop the competence of associates in the use of management techniques.

– Keep the community informed on local government affairs; encourage communication between the citizens and all local government officers; emphasize friendly and courteous service to the public; and seek to improve the quality and image of public service.

– Resist any encroachment on professional responsibilities, believing the member should be free to carry out official policies without interference, and handle each problem without discrimination on the basis of principle and justice.

– Handle all matters of personnel on the basis of merit so that fairness and impartiality govern a member’s decisions, pertaining to appointments, pay adjustments, promotions and discipline.

– Seek no favor; believe that personal aggrandizement or profit secured by confidential information or by misuse of public time is dishonest.

Enforcement of the code is overseen by the ICMA Executive Board and violations could result in private censure from the organization; public censure that obliges the organization to contact any number of outside institutions, including the news media, that it strongly disapproves of the member’s conduct; expulsion and a membership bar, which prohibits the individual from reinstating his membership.

Now that everyone on the island has access to this list, residents can more easily monitor and assess the performance of the new city manager, whoever he may be.

For more information, visit and

© 2008 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Stories

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.