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Ethics Initiatives

Ethics Policy

For our employees... We are committed to honesty, fairness, and providing a safe and healthy working environment that respects the dignity of every staff member.

For our clients and community... We are committed to providing excellent and uncompromising service while providing information that is accurate, completely objective, relevant, timely and understandable.

For our suppliers and partners... We are committed to transparency and openness that protects and ensures the proper use of agency assets.

In all our transactions… We promise strict adherence with applicable government laws, rules and regulations, avoiding impropriety or the appearance of impropriety in the performance of our duties. Compliance with the law does not comprise our entire ethical responsibility; rather, it defines our minimal standard.

How can I be sure my actions are ethical?

You’re on ethical thin ice when you hear…

  • “Well, maybe just this once”
  • “No one will ever know”
  • “It doesn’t matter how it gets done as long as it gets done”
  • “It sounds too good to be true”
  • “Everyone does it”
  • “We can hide it”
  • “No one will get hurt”
  • “We didn’t have this conversation”

When in doubt, ask…

  • Are my actions legal?
  • Am I being fair and honest?
  • How will I feel about myself afterwards?
  • Will I sleep soundly tonight?
  • How will it look in the newspaper?
  • How would I feel if my family, friends, and neighbors knew what I was doing?

If you aren’t sure what to do, ask...and keep asking until you are certain you are doing the right thing.

Palm Beach County Ethics Pledge

The following principles are standards of conduct which define the essentials of honorable behavior in our community:

  • I pledge to maintain the highest standards of behavior and to follow laws, regulations and policies which apply to me. I will take full responsibility for learning and complying with laws and rules governing the standards of conduct for my position, profession and office.
  • I pledge to disclose situations in which a personal interest conflicts with my professional or public obligations, and to take action to avoid all actual and perceived conflicts of interest.
  • I pledge to neither use nor allow the use of resources or information to improperly or illegally further any interest.
  • I pledge to make good on my promises and to avoid making promises or commitments I cannot reasonably expect to fulfill.
  • I pledge to help create an atmosphere of respect and civility where individuals and the public are free to express their ideas and work to their full potential.
  • I pledge to be truthful and respectful in all communications as this is vital for sound decision making for my business or community.
  • I pledge to work together with others, recognizing that unity of purpose and effort leads to greater accomplishments.

By following these principles and maintaining the highest ethical standards, I make my community greater and stronger than it was when I became part of it.

“No Gift” Policy

On February 1, 2007, newly-elected Tax Collector Anne Gannon implemented a rigid "No Gift" policy throughout her office, including the service centers. The revised "No Gift" policy bars any employee of the Office of the Constitutional Tax Collector from accepting any type of gift, including food.

"The employees of the Tax Collector have always been prudent regarding gifts, but given the recent sensitivity to governmental abuses, we needed to clearly define the gift parameters. No gifts of any kind are acceptable," Gannon said.

In addition to receiving a copy of the new policy, each employee received suggested language to use to politely refuse a gift. Any gifts delivered that are not returnable will be donated to local charities.

POLICY:
Consistent with Florida Statutes, public officers and employees of the Tax Collector's Office may not solicit, accept, or agree to accept gifts from any customer or office vendor.

PROCEDURE:
1. Definition: For the purposes of this policy, gifts are defined as any item of value to the recipient, including a gift, loan, money, reward, favor, service or promise of future employment given by any customer, vendor, or potential vendor of the Tax Collector's Office.
2. Public officers and/or employees must politely decline gifts as acceptance, solicitation or the promise of acceptance of any gift can lead to the perception that the employee's actions or judgment can be easily influenced. Employees and relatives of employees may not accept gifts from customer, vendors, or potential vendors on or off Tax Collector premises.
3. Gifts should be politely declined. In the event that a gift is left for an employee, the employee must immediately notify his/her supervisor of the gift so that the supervisor can politely arrange for its return.
4. Violations of this policy may result in corrective action up to and including termination of employment.

Other Initiatives

Honest Services and Public Integrity Workshop

Tax Collector’s Office Implements Ethics Policy 
January 26, 2009
press release

Tax Collector Gannon is taking the Palm Beach County Ethics Pledge one step further, by asking every member of her staff sign the pledge.  On Wednesday, January 28, at 8am, Tax Collector Gannon and Leadership Palm Beach County will kick-off the signing of their ethics policy.  “We take our value of integrity very seriously – our ethical behavior matters to everyone at our office, not just the elected official.  Our staff interacts with the public each and every day and the professional behavior we exhibit is a key part of that interaction.” said Tax Collector Gannon.   

The Tax Collector’s Office will also be the first government office in Palm Beach County to partner with Ethics Point, a third-party ethics reporting agency. Ethics Point provides a website and toll-free phone number for employees to report questionable ethical behavior. Tax Collector Gannon emphasized that “Our goal with the ethics policy is excellence in the workplace in a culture of openness, trust and integrity.”  

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