Chesterton is the first Porter County municipality to join the Shared Ethics Advisory Commission. Others should quickly follow suit.
The commission began in 2005 and saw limited growth in its initial years. Now, though, the ethics training organization will have membership in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties.
By joining the commission, member units of local government get access to valuable training programs. Ideally, training will be offered to employees, elected officials and political appointees.
With this training, employees and others learn how to respond in situations that could arise on the job. This training helps employees gain additional perspective in hopes of forestalling unethical behavior.
"We are committed to providing our employees superlative ethics training, and in doing so, raise the standard of professional municipal conduct to those we serve," Chesterton Town Manager Bernie Doyle said. "We look forward to being part of the growing family of Northwest Indiana municipalities and organizations dedicated to the highest public service."
Shared Ethics Advisory Commission President Calvin Bellamy praised the Chesterton Town Council's vote to join the all-volunteer organization.
"As our first Porter County member, Chesterton is demonstrating quality-of-life leadership, and we hope other Porter County communities will follow this fine example," Bellamy said.
The dues are low, and there is no staff or rent to worry about. All fees go directly to the training. That's as it should be.
Porter County government is working toward joining the commission. LaPorte County already belongs, as do nine Lake County communities — Crown Point, Dyer, East Chicago, Gary, Highland, Lowell, Munster, Schererville and Whiting.
There are some noticeable gaps in this roster — especially Lake County government, which initially voted to join but backed away. Officials in Lake County government and other communities should join.
For now, the ethics bandwagon is picking up speed — as it should.