Ethics

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» Posted by on Oct 10, 2014 in Business Practices | 0 comments

Government employees are held to the highest level of ethical behavior, especially when it comes to spending taxpayer money.  While government travel represents only a small percentage of government spending, it is highly visible.  There are numerous news stories of government officials using taxpayer money to fund personal vacations or lavish accommodations under the guise of official government business.  There should be more oversight in place to ensure that government employees do not engage in fraud, waste or abuse regarding government travel. High ethical standards and consistent enforcement of travel policies are needed to avoid even a perception of inappropriate activity.

My office travels frequently in order to accomplish our mission objectives.  In addition, most of my coworkers are ‘virtual’ employees who work from home.  This combination of frequent travel and home telework often puts us in the spotlight when it comes to potential abuse of government funds.  We have adjusted our practices to be more transparent on how we make travel decisions.  For example, cost comparisons are now required before selecting certain travel options, such as taking taxis versus getting a rental car.  Also, if we extend government travel for personal reasons, we are required to show that there is no cost difference in airfare, or we are required to cover the difference.  Our travel charge cards are coming under more scrutiny as well.  If balances are not paid on time, charge card privileges are taken away and additional training is required before employees can get their privileges reinstated.  These proactive measures help ensure that we are good stewards of taxpayer money and we are not using our government positions for personal gain.  Employee awareness of the travel policies and consistent enforcement of the rules are two strategies that can be used to promote ethical behavior regarding government travel.

Lorie Henderson

 

 

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