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 NV Center for Public Ethics


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To Research public and governmental ethics issues through comparative analysis, from the perspectives of law, public administration, public policy, philosophy, and political science, through citizen feedback and comparisons of Nevada law and standards with those prevailing in other jurisdictions, with a view to improving law, regulations, procedures and norms in Nevada.

To Educate elected and appointed government officers and the general public about standards and procedures needed to preserve and protect integrity at every level of government in the State of Nevada, and to promote channels for active citizenship, as the Organization and its membership deem necessary.

To Recommend improvements in the moral culture of public service, both in statutes, legislation, and regulations, as well as in the practices and accepted norms of public service, as the Organization and its membership deem necessary.

Principles Of Public Ethics

I.  The Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights form the foundation for free and equal citizens to authorize persons and choose policies and rules under which we live.

II.  A public office is a public trust. By accepting election or appointment, or by taking the oath of office, a public official promises to listen to, and weigh the concerns of all those in the community, rich or poor, and to work for policies and rules  which provide for the safety and well-being of all the people.

III.  A public officialís authority is vested by the free and informed consent and trust of the people.  It is an authority on loan, and its use is a stewardship for the sake of fairly and openly conducting the publicís business.

IV.  A public official is expected by law and by virtue of the publicís consent to be governed by just and fair laws, to exercise authority with independence of judgment.  

V.  The test of that is whether a reasonable person, having heard all sides appealing for or against an action, would judge the chosen action to be reasonable and fair for the sake of all.  Oneís reasons for this judgment should be given in public at the time of the decision.

VI.  Except under specially-defined circumstances, every public act of a public official is open to public scrutiny.  Elected and appointed officials should tell the public their reasons for their votes and decisions. This practice creates greater openness, so that every policy and rule is open to inspection, as to its feasibility, cost, and wisdom.  Only when the public agrees through established laws and institutions to accept secrecy or sealed records can they be closed.

VII.  The practice of active citizenship is the underpinning of public ethics. Adult citizens need to seek out and create times, places and channels for working with each other so as to understand and, where needed, improve upon the quality of our shared public life. Our youth need to learn about, and have opportunities to practice the beginnings of active citizenship during and after school.

Nevada Center for Public Ethics


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    Nevada Center for Public Ethics Columns    

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