During the pandemic, the Shared Ethics Advisory Commission, like many other organizations, had to limit its operations. Now that society is reopening, SEAC is resuming its activities.
And not just resuming, but coming back with enhancements. SEAC used the year “off” to review, renew and improve its program of work.
A brief reminder of what SEAC does: The mission is to bring ethics training to every employee of member communities. So far, 24 Northwest Indiana communities have made the extra commitment to promote ethical decision-making by joining SEAC. All communities in Lake, LaPorte and Porter counties are eligible for membership.
Even though half of 2021 is already over, a full year’s program is scheduled for the remaining months.
Later this month, SEAC will host an evening training for board and commission members from SEAC communities, featuring David Limarti, a former town manager and a highly respected presenter. His presentation will focus on potential conflicts of interest and other challenges faced by private citizens who commit their time to serving their communities.
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On Oct. 29, the annual Ethics Summit will be presented for the 10th time. This morning-long event consists of a keynote speaker, followed by table-top discussions of hypothetical, yet practical, ethics scenarios.
Attendees at each table are challenged to identify the ethics issues contained in their assigned scenario and then report to the whole assembly.
Ethics guide coming
For the first time, this year’s keynote speaker will be from the private sector: Violet Sistovaris, a senior NISOURCE executive. She will discuss ethics lessons from the private sector that may relate to the public sector. SEAC Vice President Rich Weigel is leading the planning arrangements for this year’s event.
SEAC’s training committee, under the leadership of Jamie Ward and Paula Carey, is working on a major revamping of SEAC training for front-line employees. The final product will be introduced to SEAC trainers in early 2022. Also ready for printing is a brief ethics reference guide for distribution to every employee.
Throughout the pandemic, SEAC commissioners have met remotely to conduct as much business as conditions allowed. After each meeting, Communications Committee Chair Julie McElmurry prepared a fact sheet for each commissioner to report to their respective communities. She also oversaw the Candidates Ethics Action Pledge which was mailed to every candidate in the spring and fall elections.
Dan Klein, in his fourth year as SEAC president, is guiding the commission as expanded and enhanced services are being developed and offered to member communities.
Thanks to his strong leadership and the active support of fellow commission members, SEAC has used the pandemic pause for planning, all in service of SEAC’s continuing mission to help build an ethics culture in Northwest Indiana.
Calvin Bellamy serves on SEAC as an at-large member and President Emeritus. The opinions are the writer's.