Ethics and Public Service
The most important value in public service is ethical behavior. Ethics refers to the moral principles that govern an individual’s conduct and performance of activities. Public servants have to subscribe to the highest level of morality to earn and maintain the trust and confidence of society. As a result, various government agencies have formulated codes of ethics to guide and regulate the behavior of their employees. For instance, the department of homeland security (DHS) has incorporated a Memorandum on Ethical Behavior, which encourages workers to protect and conserve public resources. In addition, the directive requires employees to act with impartiality and avoid cases where private interests conflict with official functions. Further, the regulation challenges DHS members of staff to report waste, abuse, and fraud whenever it is detected within the department. Evidently, this government agency has taken proactive measures to integrate ethical behavior within its structures and culture.
Public servants face complex ethical dilemmas during their daily functions. For example, DHS employees earn an average of about $75,000 every year. However, these security agents confiscate illegal drugs and weapons worth billions of dollars when conducting operations. Ethics dictate that the officers ought to deliver every recovered item to their supervisors. Unethical conduct may lead some rogue agents to conceal exhibits and evidence for their benefit. Such developments would embolden criminal organizations and compromise national security and safety. Therefore, ethics is crucial since it promotes accountability, transparency, and integrity in the public sector. Most importantly, it helps employees navigate sophisticated moral dilemmas in the course of their official duties. As a result, I believe that ethics is the most important value of public service.
Corruption and Public Service
Corruption is the most important challenge to public service. Corruption refers to dishonest or fraudulent behavior by people in authority. Public servants gain access to significant resources and amass tremendous power in society. In some instances, these employees leverage their position and authority for personal benefit. Corruption occurs in various forms, including nepotism, bribery, embezzlement of public funds, influence peddling, extortion, and graft. In homeland security, Corruption may be evident in the fraudulent awarding of contracts. Public servants tend to allocate lucrative deals to friends, relatives, and acquaintances in return for kickbacks and other favors. For example, the military is facing criticism for making stopovers at President Trump’s Scottish hotel. Similarly, Vice President Mike Pence raised controversy for staying at President Trump’s hotel in Ireland. The government has commenced investigations to determine whether these instances amount to corruption.
Corruption leads to weak institutions and poor service delivery to the community. A corrupt system spends significant time and resources brokering deals instead of developing and implementing progressive policies. Moreover, corruption promotes inequality and exclusivity by creating unequal opportunities for different groups in society. As a result, it leads to poverty, discrimination, and marginalization. For instance, it creates high economic, social, and political disparity since some people have access to unlimited resources, while others starve. Most importantly, corruption erodes democracy and the rule of law by nurturing a class of powerful and wealthy individuals, who believe that they are above the law. Corruption threatens to cripple all public functions by diverting time and resources to select members of society. Therefore, I feel that corruption is the most important challenge in public service.