On March 6, 2021, the ICMA Executive Board voted to approve the Committee on Professional Conduct’s (CPC) recommendation to publicly censure former Mascotte, Florida, city manager Jim Gleason for conduct in violation of Tenet 3 of the Code of Ethics. The board also decided to revoke Gleason’s ICMA Credentialed Manager designation with the provision that he would be eligible to reapply for the credential after a period of five years.
After the August 19, 2020, meeting of the Mascotte governing body concluded, Gleason had a highly inappropriate and unprofessional verbal altercation with a member of his governing body who he called “a piece of white [expletive] trash.” The incident occurred outside of the meeting venue in front of Gleason’s employees and members of the community. Gleason was arrested, but the charges were ultimately dropped.
The board concurred with the CPC’s determination that the ICMA Code of Ethics holds members to a higher standard than what the law requires in order to merit the trust of the governing body and the community where the member serves. Furthermore, managers are expected to model appropriate personal and professional conduct for employees at all times even when presented with challenging situations.
Tenet 3 of the ICMA Code of Ethics states:
Tenet 3. Demonstrate by word and action the highest standards of ethical conduct and integrity in all public, professional, and personal relationships in order that the member may merit the trust and respect of the elected and appointed officials, employees, and the public.
Guideline on Public Confidence. Members should conduct themselves so as to maintain public confidence in their position and profession, the integrity of their local government, and in their responsibility to uphold the public trust.
Guideline on Conduct Unbecoming. Members should treat people fairly, with dignity and respect and should not engage in, or condone bullying behavior, harassment, sexual harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, age, disability, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
Members are encouraged to read the ICMA Code of Ethics and Guidelines. As a member benefit, ICMA provides confidential advice to any members who may be uncertain of their ethical obligation or who need guidance to resolve an ethical dilemma. Contact Martha Perego, director of ICMA Member Services and Ethics, at email@example.com or 202-962-3668; or Jessica Cowles, ethics advisor, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-962-3513. Ethics advice, information, and the ICMA Code of Ethics are available online.