Latest "Governmental Ethics" Posts

Michael Minh Nguyen: Unethical Choices Lead to Finance Services Manager Downfall

In the City of Placentia, California the Finance Services Manager, Michael Minh Nguyen was given a 25-year sentence plus an order to pay the city approximately $2.6 million in restitution for the $5.2 million in funds he embezzled and approximately $10.3 million in fines. He is now 37 years of age and he will likely be behind bars for the most of his adult life. Financially, his life is ruined unless he is lucky enough to win the state lottery. He is a white-collar criminal, with an emphasis on the word “criminal.” Here’s the full story.

He will have company in jail, Herbert Norris Trotter Jr., is facing 37 years in jail as Nguyen’s co-conspirator for his role in money laundering and theft along with Michael Todd McDonald of Henderson, Nevada, who was part of the money laundering scheme. He faces 58 years in jail, which is effectively a life sentence.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Governmental Ethics and tagged , , , ,

What does Steve Ballmer have to do with the Ethics of Govt. Spending?

 

Steve Ballmer, the man who with Bill Gates founded Microsoft, has just launched an interesting piece of software called USAFacts. The software is intended to track government spending. My response is that it is long overdue.

Steve Ballmer has spent $10 million to develop the “product,” because it was nearly impossible for him to find information on how the government was spending its money – and where. In a recent interview on CNBC, Ballmer said:

“What we’re trying to do now is create a foundation for a more fact-based discussion about what’s going on with government in our country. This is really a starting point. We need more data.”

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Governmental Ethics and tagged , ,

Governmental Ethics: Government Policing Itself for Ethics Violations? It’s About Time!

In this political season, where “Left and Right” have never been so far apart from one another, we must sometimes allow that good things can come from unexpected places and not everyone is “the enemy.”  So when you think of governmental ethics – is it time for the goverment to police itself for ethics violations?

The new Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is going after sexual predators in his own department. He has sent a letter on what he expects as proper ethical behavior to the 70,000 employees under his “command.” The letter was prompted after a “senior law enforcement official” with the Department of the Interior was accused of multiple accounts of sexual harassment. The official was accused of touching, hugging, text-messaging and flirting with six women, and of discussing “inappropriate” subjects.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Governmental Ethics and tagged , ,

Alabama Former Governor Robert Bentley: Why do Powerful Politicians Behave Badly?

The Alabama Ethics Commission met last week to hear testimony in regard to allegations against Alabama Governor Robert Bentley. It was found that there is a strong likelihood he violated Alabama’s ethics and campaign finance laws. If Bentley is found guilty, he could face the rest of his life in jail plus having to pay massive fines.

This is not governor Robert Bently’s first unethical rodeo, in fact he is still fighting problems stemming from his personal and working relationships with a former member of his staff. While everyone seems pleased that the governor is being brought to justice, there is also anger at what the State of Alabama has been put through over the last 18 months.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Governmental Ethics and tagged , ,

Governmental Ethics: How Are We Electing Our Politicians?

Before the madness of our last presidential election (and I say this without regard to whomever you voted for), there was a more local story that encapsulates politics and the process of electing public officials.  This is governmental ethics in the trash!

governmental-ethics-2Fairfax City Mayor Richard “Scott” Silverthorne was arrested for distribution of methamphetamine in an uncover sting. The mayor entered into the drug dealing lifestyle which was to exchange drugs for group sex.

The mayor was caught providing two grams of methamphetamine to undercover detectives. I might also mention that to supplement whatever they paid him to be the mayor he was also working as a substitute teacher for the Fairfax County School system.  Mind boggling!  Government ethics be damned by Mayor Silverthorne.  Guess he felt that his lofty position would make him immune to the law?

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Governmental Ethics and tagged , , ,

Governmental Ethics: City of Springfield faces $50 million lawsuit

The story starts out simply enough. In response to the bidding process, an investment group pooled together funds for the potential development for a new Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) building. Had they been successful, it would have resulted in a lucrative lease. Instead, the investment group is now suing the City of Springfield for $50 million lawsuit, governmental-ethics-city-of-springfieldclaiming the city used unethical and corrupt practices.  At issue is the application of governmental ethics in practice.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Governmental Ethics and tagged ,

Procurement Fraud at Miami International Airport – Is Your Organization at Risk?

There are stories of men and women who start from very humble beginnings and who are able to build amazing lives of success and ethical contributions to society. Then there are stories of those who had great potential and promise and who went off the tracks and chose unethical roads.  Now Ivan Valdes faces charges stemming from his procurement fraud at Miami International.

procurement-fraudIvan Valdes started out in his work life cutting grass. Through hard work he became the director of terminal maintenance at Miami International Airport making a nice salary of $98,000 a year. He supervised 100 people and carried a great deal of success. It was apparently not enough for him. He decided to pursue an unethical path – procurement fraud.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Governmental Ethics and tagged , ,

Construction Ethics and Political Ethics in Alabama – FAIL!

Having dinner this evening in Memphis, I struck up a conversation with a person who taught compliance for government employees in purchasing.  He shared that there has never been a time when temptation was so great and the chance of getting Construction and Governmental Ethicscaught was so high.  “Time have changed,” he shared.  “When you consider the pressure of construction and politics its no wonder that construction ethics is so in the news!”

Construction Ethics in the News

Two employees on the Alabama Licensing Board for General Contractors – Nancy C. Saffo and Christy Easterling – were indicted on charges of forgery and using their position for personal gain.

A state investigation determined that they used their positions to obtain checks or currency, and knowingly possessed forged instruments.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Governmental Ethics and tagged , , , , , , ,

Military Ethics: Who Trains Generals on Ethical Behavior?

A General Officer and indeed all of the higher military ranks, are not only military, but political and strongly “organizational.” The sacrifice it takes to reach those ranks is amazingly difficult. It is often commonly said that in the Army a general is next to God, and while I wouldn’t go that far, they are pretty powerful people.  All the more reason that they are held to the highest standard of ethical behavior.

Military EthicsYet like the CEO or the COO of a civilian organization, a general can fall from grace with a rapid thud; make that, a big huge thud. It is usually not incompetence of the military kind that destroys a general’s career but completely screwed up ethical decisions. Such is the case with Maj. Gen. David Haight.  His ethical behavior created quite the consequence.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Governmental Ethics and tagged , , ,

Governmental Ethics: Pentagon has no idea what’s in its Books

The critics of the military’s spending habits seem to have a point; indeed, 6.5 trillion points.  This is an example of governmental ethics failing. According to Fiscal Times (July 31, 2016) in an article entitled: “Pentagon’s Sloppy Bookkeeping Means $6.5 Trillion Can’t Pass an Audit,” author Eric Pianin writes:

Governmental Ethics Flag“The Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the behemoth Indianapolis-based agency that provides finance and accounting services for the Pentagon’s civilian and military members, could not provide adequate documentation for $6.5 trillion worth of year-end adjustments to Army general fund transactions and data.”

Before we go on, I will let us all reflect for a second and take in a collective breath. It is essential to point out that this is an annual number. This is why members of Congress have demanded that by September 30, 2017 the Pentagon must achieve what is termed “audit readiness.”

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Governmental Ethics and tagged , , ,