ICMA ethics

Over the past two years, ICMA has been working to advance the ICMA Executive Board’s directive from June 2020 to review the ICMA Code of Ethics to better integrate our ethical commitment to racial justice and equity.  That directive was one of six action steps the board took related to diversity, equity, and inclusion:

“The local government management profession and ICMA were founded on a Code of Ethics and a Declaration of Ideals, which demand that we serve the best interests of all, achieve equity and social justice, and act with integrity so that we may earn the trust of all those we serve. Addressing systemic racism is our ethical obligation. We will revisit our Code of Ethics to better integrate our ethical commitment to racial justice and equity into the very fiber of the 12 tenets.

To assist in this review effort, ICMA has engaged a team from the School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  To date, this review has included the following steps:

1. Conducted an environmental scan to learn how other professional associations are addressing equity and racial justice in their codes.

2. Convened two focus groups to help guide areas for discussion with the membership.

3. Facilitated 17 feedback sessions (virtually or in-person).

Thanks to the 600 members who have participated in feedback sessions over the past nine months to share their invaluable perspectives.  The discussions focused on four tenets and some of the corresponding guidelines that participating members identified as most relevant to the profession’s continued commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion that shaped the upcoming survey that will be sent to the entire ICMA membership soon. 

We Want to Hear from You

Hearing the perspectives of members continues to be an essential part of the Code review process. A survey will be emailed to all ICMA members in early July and will remain open for three weeks. Please take the time to share your thoughts with ICMA. Survey responses will help determine the next phases of this review effort.

Stay Connected

ICMA will share project updates in Leadership Matters and on ICMA’s Code review project webpage, Members with questions or comments are encouraged to contact Martha Perego, member services and ethics director, at mperego@icma.org or 202-962-3668 or Jessica Cowles, ethics advisor, at jcowles@icma.org or 202-962-3513.


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A new, reduced dues rate is available for CAOs/ACAOs, along with additional discounts for those in smaller communities, has been implemented. Learn more and be sure to join or renew today!