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Politics & Government

Are government officials ethical in office?


Local government officials believe they and their colleagues are pretty ethical. They seem to feel differently about state officials, however.

Those are some of the findings of the latest Michigan Public Policy Survey by the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy at the University of Michigan.

“Mostly local leaders have a pretty high opinion of their colleagues in local government across the state, especially so in their own jurisdiction,” said Tom Ivacko, who manages CLOSUP.

According to the survey, 70% of local leaders reported that local leaders around the state are “very ethical” or “mostly ethical” while in office. Only 15% of that 70%, however, fell into the “very ethical” range.

The survey also showed that 88% of local leaders think their colleagues, local leaders working in their same jurisdiction, are “very ethical” or “mostly ethical.” This time 53% of that 88% fell into the “very ethical” range.

“It is a bit of a concern,” Ivacko said. “If the goal is perfect ethics, which it probably should be, this is below that.”

Local officials’ perception of state legislators, however, is a bit different. Fewer than half of them think state legislators are “very ethical” or “mostly ethical" and only 5% of local officials reported believing state legislators to be “very ethical.”