By Jo Anita MileyDecember 6, 2013
Ethics training, an annual mandatory face-to-face requirement for all government employees at the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville commenced Dec. 2 at Huntsville Center.
According to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, the executive branch of the federal government provides a detailed code of ethics for employees. All federal employees are required to take one hour, or three modules, of ethics training.
Clay Weisenberger, assistant counsel in Huntsville Center's Office of Counsel, conducted the ethics training to Huntsville Center employees.
Weisenberger said conducting annual ethics training is important to ensure that employees are aware of appropriate government standards. Ethics training is among the most important training government employees take because it reinforces the core values that public servants should all adhere to in the performance of their duties.
Weisenberger used the format for the TV game show "Jeopardy" as a training model to cover a wide variety of ethics topics including: contract obligations, gifts from outside sources, conflict of interest, impartiality, outside employment, position misuse and fundraising, report filing, working with contractors and misuse of position. Training questions were modeled from Department of Defense real-world situations to illustrate potential ethics issues and their appropriate resolution.
Weisenberger said government employees hold their positions as a public trust and American citizens have a right to expect all government employees to place loyalty to the Constitution, laws and ethical principles above private gain.
"We have a responsibility to strengthen the public's view that Government's business is conducted with impartiality and integrity. The integrity of our organization depends on our ability as individuals to recognize ethical dilemmas and respond in an appropriate manner. Without integrity and public trust, we could not carry our mission," Weisenberger said.
Molly Richardson, Huntsville Center, Engineering Directorate, civil engineer said the main thing she got from the training was that many of the questions she thought she knew the answer to had other aspects she hadn't considered.
"I learned a lot from the training and now I know who to go to when I have any doubts," she said. As a professional engineer, it's important to keep ethics a part of our standard. The annual ethics training helps to keep me updated."
Weisenberger told attendees to contact him or Margaret Simmons, Huntsville Center counsel and designated agency ethics official, when ethical issues arise prior to making a final decision.
"I hope this training strengthens your understanding of the pertinent ethics issues. I also hope you will keep in mind that, no matter what the ethics issue may be, if you are not sure what to do, checks with your ethics counselor before acting."