Ethics in Government:
Why Ethics, Why League, Why Now?
Almost daily, we read in our newspapers of the increasing concern about ethics at all levels of government -- and the need for establishing ethical standards for public officials. Be not confused! Officials are no less moral today. Rather, government is getting more and more complex. Complexity cannot help but magnify otherwise simple problems.
The League of Women Voters' responsibility is to promote active citizen participation in government, and our vital concern must always be "good government." We must be the community leaders, not followers, in seeking this goal. The League is
recognized as a study and action organization, the members of which care and who can get things accomplished.
How will we handle ethics on the State level? Honolulu has a slight advantage because they worked on local ethics, but this will not change our total state study. We will begin by gathering as much information as is available from other jurisdictions on how they handle ethical regulations. By comparing these with what we have here in the state, and with standard regulations, we will be able to evaluate what we feel are necessary ethical regulations.
Each of you will now begin your homework assignment on ethics -- one that will not take any extra time out of your day. READ YOUR NEWSPAPER (you do this anyway) with awareness of ethical problems. There are articles almost daily that relate to ethics on some level of government.
A State Study Guide on Ethics is in the works, at least mentally, and will be available to you in the fall for background. This, coupled with your reading, should make it a SNAP of a study. Above all, don't panic at the thought of two items on the State Current Agenda. There is no rush for consensus!
Chairman, Ethics in State Government