Ethics Program

Cal-ICMA's Ethics Committee provides members with an array of information, access to programming, and awards.

ICMA Code of Ethics

Adopted in 1924, the ICMA Code of Ethics defined the principles that today serve as the foundation for the local government management profession and set the standard for excellence. Leadership in a management structure committed to equity, transparency, integrity, stewardship of public resources, political neutrality, and respect for the rights and responsibility of elected officials and residents strengthens democratic local governance.

Learn more and access the complete Code of Ethics.

Ethical Hero Award

The purpose of the Cal-ICMA Ethical Hero Award is to recognize Cal-ICMA members who have served in the local government profession with dignity, honor and integrity, and have demonstrated exceptional ethics while carrying out their duties in local government. Nominations may be submitted at any time. 

Learn more and submit a nomination. 

Upcoming Ethics Training

FREE WEBINAR: Ethics in Action-When It's Your Duty to Say "No"

What we'll cover:

  • What are the most prevalent ethical issues and how can you spot them?
  • What are examples of when you need to say "no" and how to do so effectively?
  • How can you strengthen the ethical culture in your organization and what roles can everyone play?


  • Nick Finan, TCMA Ethics Chair, Texas City, TX
  • Martha Perego, Director of Member Services and Ethics, ICMA
  • Bruce Messelt, County Administrator, Chisago, MN

ICMA-CM: This webinar meets Practice 1 (Personal and Professional Integrity), and 5 (Personal Resiliency and Development) of ICMA’s Practices for Effective Local Government Leadership.

Post-webinar discussion questions:

  • What ethical areas are of particular concern for our agency?
  • What efforts would help our agency strengthen its ethical culture?
  • Which resources would we like to tap to support our efforts?

Ethics Matter! Advice for Public Managers E-Book

A collection of sound ethics advice from ICMA's Public Management (PM) magazine.

This e-book from ICMA is a member benefit that presents sound ethics advice in a collection of columns from the Ethics Matter! columns that appear in every issue of Public Management (PM) magazine.

Download the e-book

Ethics Articles

"Embracing Ethics Now" -December 2018

Unfortunately, it often takes an ethical failure and crisis to raise ethics training to the level of priority it deserves.

"Ethics Matter!" -October 2018

Advice for public managers now a new ICMA e-book

"ICMA Code of Ethics - A Quick Refresher" -August 2018

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

"Creating Ethical Dilemmas for the Staff" -May 2018

Ask or direct a staff member to do something unethical and you place the person in an untenable position of great risk.

"Ethics Series: See Something, Say Something" -December 2017

All employees have a stake in reporting incidents of suspected or actual wrongdoing.

"Understanding ICMA's Ethics Enforcement Process" -August 2017

The Cal-ICMA Ethics Committee is committed to raising awareness on all aspects of the ICMA Code of Ethics.

"Responding to an Ethical Crisis" -June 2017

Three critical questions demand answers.

Learn more about the Cal-ICMA Ethics Committee