Originally Written by P. Nelson
The ethics triangle is a model to follow to help militate against unethical decision-making. If Mayor Burns used this model it might have helped him make better decisions. When there is no moral discernment of what is right or wrong, a public official or administrator needs to analyze the situation carefully. However, in the following case study this does not appear to be something Mayor Burns practiced. For the purposes of this paper the case study “Gotta Love Those Bread & Butter Unions” will be analyzed. The source for all subsequent quotes is from this case study.
The first unethical issue is that the newly elected Mayor Burns was motivated by his misdirected obligation. He felt he owed something to the Sealy Law Enforcement Officers’ Association and his two ex-students. Professor Burns made promises during his campaign that the public was not aware of to his friends. He was willing to compromise his personal and professional integrity. This is not considered lobbying because it was not initially mentioned that there was an interest to influence any policy. However, it was a tactic to get the chief fired.
Duty and public interest are at the center of the ethics triangle. Mayor Burns breaks many of the key values listed as guidelines and the ethics triangle concepts. His duty/obligation to the public interest is questioned. His character is questioned. His principles are questioned, and his concerns for consequences are questioned. Mayor Burns’ feelings of obligation to his ex-students, now police officers, clouded his judgment. This covers the virtue-based classification. Mayor Burns was willing to repay them for their service, and the financial support they gave him during his campaign. This also covers the virtue and principle-based concepts because he uses this as a reason for his behavior, which is a reflection of his...