Applying Ethical Decision Making Models To Guerrilla Government

1455 words - 6 pages

In the case study of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrators, the main ethical issue was the use of power. When John Spencer became administrator of the EPA, he made the decision by himself to buy a membership of the chamber of commerce. Not only was this an ethical issue, but was also illegal under federal guidelines. Even though the purchase did not occur, he failed to consider the advice from employees and he was going to use taxpayer funds. Therefore, it was also a conflict of public interest since the public did not have an opinion on it or even aware of the situation. During his period in office as administrator, he continued to use public funds without justifying the expenses (O’Leary, 2014). In addition, he would intimidate/threaten any employee who questioned his decisions. As an administrator, Spencer brought up many ethical issues. He failed to be loyal to the Constitution and the law by breaking several laws such as the Civil Service Reform Act. He also used government money for personal expenses and failed to be honest multiple times while performing his duties. He gave preferential treatment to agencies when he did not implement clean up orders and failed to protect government property when he allowed outside agencies access to confidential information (US Office of Government Ethics, 2000). Similarly, when Robie Russell was assigned as EPA administrator, many ethical issues arose. He conducted meetings with only other administrators he trusted. The deputy administrator was not included and was only allowed to express his opinions in a pre-meeting with the division directors. Russell was also deleting negative comments from reports before releasing them to the public, which went against advancing the public interest and failure to fully inform and advise the public (American Society for Public Administration, 2013). Like Spencer, if anyone questioned his decisions, they were excluded from his meetings and he also used public funds for personal expenses (O’Leary, 2014).
Issues Political Appointees faced and Federal Law Violations
The EPA administrators that were involved in this case study had to follow their job tasks while balancing their superiors and employees. One of the common problems among the two administrators was the cleanup of hazardous waste. Spencer was very lenient and failed to assess penalties to agencies that did not follow a cleanup order. On the other hand Barnes “penalized local governments that failed to follow environmental laws” (O’Leary, 2014, p.52) and did not allow any exemptions of wastewater treatment. In the beginning Russell’s approach was similar to Barnes and even “filed legal action against companies accused of violating superfund laws” (O’Leary, 2014, p.57). Towards the end of his command, he ended up supporting an oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to Congress even though the analysis showed it had possible negative side effects. Throughout Spencer and Russell’s...

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