Mayor Johnson Speaks on Ethical Guiding Principles for Chelsea’s Officials


By Doug Marrin

Mayor Johnson used her time to report at the January 19, 2021, City Council meeting, to talk about the structure that the City has in place to guard against the perpetuation of falsehoods by elected and appointed officials. Such falsehoods “are incredibly damaging to our democratic institutions,” said the Mayor.

“In light of some of the conversations that have happened nationally and locally, I want to just reiterate the structures that the city has regarding its ethical principles in our charter,” Mayor Johnson told the Council. The Mayor then elaborated.

“The City's charter, which is essentially the City's constitution, has five guiding principles for the City of Chelsea's government, including its elected and appointed officials. These principles are,

  1. The principle that public office is a public trust. Public servants shall treat public office as a public trust, using the powers and resources of public office only to advance public interest and not to attain personal benefits or pursue any private interests incompatible with the public good.
  2. The principle of independent objective judgment. Public servants shall employ independent objective judgment in performing their duties, deciding all matters on their merits, free from conflicts of interest and apparent improper influences.
  3. The principle of accountability. Public servants shall ensure that government is conducted openly, efficiently, equitably, and honorably in a manner that permits the citizenry to make informed judgments and to hold government officials accountable.
  4. The principle of democratic leadership. Public servants will honor and respect the principles and spirit of representative democracy and set a positive example of good citizenship by scrupulously observing the letter and spirit of laws and rules.
  5. A principle of respectability and fitness for public office. Public servants shall safeguard public confidence in the integrity of government by being honest, fair, caring, and respectful and by avoiding conduct that creates the appearance of impropriety.

“It is our obligation and duty to ensure that we do not damage public confidence in our governmental bodies and processes by failing to verify and confirm information before receiving it as fact. Each of us has a duty to ensure that our communications, either inside or outside council chambers, are accurate, factual, and honorable. To do otherwise is not in accordance with our ethical principles. And in my opinion, violates the oath of office that each of us work to hold.”

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