"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The smell test and a new SLOTM

They say that quitters never win, but sometimes the best thing you can do is quit (listen up Norm Coleman) - in fact, sometimes its the only ethical thing you can do. Just ask ethicist John Jones, former technical advisor to the ethics committee of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.

The short version: Ethics committee warns board of directors of police chiefs association that it is unethical to accept sponsorship money and gifts as it could constitute a conflict of interest or create the impression of conflict of interest. Board tell ethics committee to mind its own business and pass the doughnuts. Ethics advisor does the right thing and resigns on the spot.

From Christie Blatchford's well-detailed story in the Globe:

The technical adviser to the ethics committee of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has resigned over corporate sponsorship - including that of Taser International - of the group's annual conference.
John Jones, an expert on police ethics who has advised the committee for three years, quit Thursday after the committee's efforts to stop the practice was rebuffed by the board of directors.
"I said in that case, I can't remain a member," a saddened Dr. Jones, the author of Reputable Conduct: Ethical Issues in Policing and Corrections, told The Globe and Mail in a phone interview yesterday from his Ottawa home. "[Such sponsorship] doesn't pass the smell test."

The fine folks at CBC Radio's As It Happens were on the story like a cop on a donut. Listen here to their interview with the soft-spoken ethicist who walks the walk and the executive director of the Association who merely talks the talk.

Jones and the rest of the ethics committee were concerned by the fact that the police chiefs - who charged with ensuring their own officers don't accept so much as a free cup of coffee - were availing themselves of free concert tickets and sponsorships from the Canadian Bankers Association, Loto-Quebec, Microsoft, Bell Mobility and Taser International.

"Generally, commercial enterprises do not operate altruistically. When they donate money, they expect there is something in return." Jones told the Toronto Star, which points out that the Association issued a position paper supporting the use of "conducted energy weapons" last year. Taser International is just about the only maker of "conducted energy weapons" - to the extent that the term is synonmous with their brand name.

The Association doesn't see any conflict of interest - I guess justice really is blind.

The editors down at the Mop&Pail agree.

And so, for having the courage to bite the hand that feeds him and quitting rather than going along with unethical behavior to get along with his employer, Dr. John Jones is our newest Spiritual Leader of the Moment.

No comments: