ICMA Code of Ethics - A Quick Refresher

A simple reminder of the ethical principles we have all agreed to abide by.

Aug 15, 2018 | ARTICLE

Message from the Cal-ICMA Ethics Committee

The ICMA Code of Ethics governs the behavior of every member of ICMA.  The Code, adopted in 1924, and most recently amended by the membership in June 2018, establishes principles that lay the foundation for our local government management profession and helps set the standard for excellence in government.  ICMA members pledge to uphold these principles in their work as a method to help earn trust of the public, elected officials and staff.

The Cal-ICMA Ethics Committee is committed to raising awareness of this obligation and the importance of respecting political neutrality and the rights of elected officials and residents as encouraged by the Code of Ethics.

ICMA Code of Ethics - A Quick Refresher

The principles outlined in the recently updated ICMA Code of Ethics and enforced by the Rules of Procedure, govern the conduct of every member of ICMA. Unquestionable ethics is a cornerstone of the profession.  The following is a simple reminder of the ethical principles we have all agreed to abide by.

The mission of ICMA is to create excellence in local governance by developing and fostering professional local government management worldwide.

To further this mission, certain principles, as enforced by the Rules of Procedure, shall govern the conduct of every member of ICMA, who shall:

Tenet 1

Be dedicated to the concepts of effective and democratic local government by responsible elected officials and believe that professional general management is essential to the achievement of this objective.

Tenet 2

Affirm the dignity and worth of the services rendered by government and maintain a constructive, creative, and practical attitude toward local government affairs and a deep sense of social responsibility as a trusted public servant

Tenet 3

Be dedicated to the highest ideals of honor and integrity in all public and personal relationships in order that the member may merit the respect and confidence of the elected officials, of other officials and employees, and of the public.

Tenet 4

Serve the best interests of the people.

Tenet 5

Submit policy proposals to elected officials; provide them with facts and advice on matters of policy as a basis for making decisions and setting community goals; and uphold and implement local government policies adopted by elected officials.

Tenet 6

Recognize that elected representatives of the people are entitled to the credit for the establishment of local government policies; responsibility for policy execution rests with the members.

Tenet 7

Refrain from all political activities which undermine public confidence in professional administrators.  Refrain from participation in the election of the members of the employing legislative body.

Tenet 8

Make it a duty continually to improve the member's professional ability and to develop the competence of associates in the use of management techniques.

Tenet 9

Keep the community informed on local government affairs; encourage communication between the citizens and all local government officers; emphasize friendly and courteous service to the public; and seek to improve the quality and image of public service.

Tenet 10

Resist any encroachment on professional responsibilities, believing the member should be free to carry out official policies without interference, and handle each problem without discrimination on the basis of principle and justice.

Tenet 11

Handle all matters of personnel on the basis of merit so that fairness and impartiality govern a member's decisions, pertaining to appointments, pay adjustments, promotions, and discipline.

Tenet 12

Public office is a public trust. A member shall not leverage his or her position for personal gain or benefit.

Adopted by the ICMA Executive Board in 1924, and recently revised by the me

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