Midwest Social Sciences Journal


After more than 50 years of widespread public corruption in Northwest Indiana, a small group of citizens and public officials met over a period of several months and developed a largely voluntary response. The result was the Shared Ethics Advisory Commission, which trains public employees on ethical decision making, provides specialized training for department heads and board and commission members, and hosts an annual ethics summit for the general public. Periodic employee ethics surveys indicate a positive effect of the training. In addition, the commission has developed a Candidate Ethics Action Pledge administered in each local election cycle, and a 12-page checklist for member communities to use to evaluate their own policies. The commission is funded by modest membership dues (for most communities, only a few hundred dollars). Twenty-four Northwest Indiana communities are members. Everyone serving on the commission (one representative from each community, plus two at large) is an unpaid volunteer. The commission is in its 13th year.