Do private sins outweigh public virtue, or vice versa?
Does the benefit of the many permit us to overlook the transgressions of the few?
Is it best to leave the past in the past, or does that compromise the integrity of the future?
These are some of the topics we address when this week's ethics panel Grapples with the Gray.
Here is our ethics challenge:
15 years after retirement, a prominent metropolitan city police commissioner passes away. He was highly effective during his long term of service as both the face of the department to the public and as an advocate for the welfare of his officers.
He was both admired and respected throughout the force and throughout much of the city. After his retirement, he recorded 60 hours a week as an administrator for a local charity.
However, behind the scenes he was guilty of misuse of power, misappropriation of funds, and other egregious instances of graft. Upon investigation, the current commissioner discovers that his involvement with the charity was nominal: he showed up infrequently, fulfilled few responsibilities, and used his office for extramarital activities.
Traditionally, former commissioners have always received large-scale funerals, not merely to honor the individual but to honor the office and the institution. The current commissioner finds himself caught between pressure from top brass to hold the traditional funeral ceremony with full regalia as a show of respect for the department on the one side and his own contempt for the man who abused the power of the office on the other.
What are the current commissioner’s options, and how should he decide what to do?
Meet this week’s panelists:
Laura Gray is a Passionate People Connector, Columnist, Author, and Development Director of The ALS Association Northern Ohio Chapter
Mark O'Brien O’Brien is founder and principal of O’Brien Communications Group, helping Companies Manage Their Brands, Solve Their Problems, and Simplify the Complex.
Peter Winick is the founder and CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage and host of the Leveraging Thought Leadership podcast.