2013-05-16 / Letters

Ethics versus legalities: Is it right? Is it fair? Is it just?

TO THE EDITOR:

I respect the opinion of the City Attorney regarding the “legality” of Mayor Barnes (sic) construction company bidding on the Foxwood city project, however, I think that oftentimes, what the law permits or requires is not necessarily what is ethically or even morally right.

For example, as stated by professional ethicist Bruce Weinstein, PhD on October 15, 2007, in Bloomberg Businessweek, “We are a nation of laws, and our society would quickly devolve into anarchy without the rule of law as a binding, motivating force for all of us.”

Nevertheless, the ethical principles ... are the true basis of our society, and it is to those principles we ought to return every day when we ask ourselves: “What should I do? I believe that the bidding on a city project, being negotiated by the Mayor’s City Administrator might pose a conflict of interest, which is defined in Webster’s II New College Dictionary as “A conflict between the public obligations and the private interests of a public official.”

Though the Mayor does not have a proprietary interest in Foxwood, I assume he is the proprietor of Barnett Southern and therefore would have benefited financially from the venture had Barnett-Southern been awarded the contract. When we talk about what is legal, we should also ask: Is it right? Is it fair? Is it just?

Ema Jefferson

(Editor’s note: It must be clarified that Foxwood is not a city project and nothing connected with its business has been negotiated by the City Administrator. The extent of the City of Washington’s involvement with the project was to provide a zoning change which requires that residents of the development be age 55 or older.)

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If Nate Cullers is so big on

If Nate Cullers is so big on ethics, maybe he should publicly declare why he is no longer working for the state of Georgia.

I wonder if Ema Jefferson's

I wonder if Ema Jefferson's letter, with the quote, “A conflict between the public obligations and the private interests of a public official.” might be a b etter question for our President!