County employees' code of conduct aims to enhance public's respect

Commissioners OK rules written by workers

March 22, 2002|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

The Carroll commissioners approved a code of conduct yesterday for the county's 600 employees, a dozen rules that workers should "understand and embrace," according to the document.

A group of 10 employees from various departments helped write the code hoping "to enhance the respect of the public" and "to enable employees to achieve the highest standards possible in service to each other, to businesses and to citizens," according to the code.

Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier said the staff did a great job writing a code that reflects what a county of character is about.

Carroll joined the Character First character development initiative nearly a year ago. Each month it asks employees to focus on one character trait, such as honesty or acceptance.

"The idea is to reinforce and encourage," said Frazier. "It is not at all condescending. The employees themselves wrote it."

Committee coordinator Jolene Sullivan, director of Carroll's Human Services, said county employees already exhibit strong character traits.

"We are just raising the standards by which they are measured," she said. "This is something each one of us can live with."

Before meeting with the commissioners yesterday, Sullivan shared the code with other department heads. She also plans several group meetings so that all workers will "be on the same page," she said. "Every group will have the same information."

Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge said she hopes employees feel they can speak openly in the group meetings and offer their thoughts on the code.

In announcing her intention to run again for commissioner yesterday, Gouge praised the county staff.

"We have hired these people for their expertise," Gouge said. "The commissioners should set policy and directions for the future and then let employees do that work."

The code will not be used as a standard for job performance reviews, Sullivan said.

Applicants for a county job will receive a copy of the code so "they know what we expect and the caliber we want in county government," she said.

"These standards are already there for many," Sullivan said. "This is where we all have to be. It is also a way to let the public know that county employees are already displaying tremendous amounts of character."

Much of the code is common sense and solid work ethic that the committee wanted to emphasize, she said.

"We aren't children and this is not a question of teaching," Sullivan said. "We are trying to reinforce good qualities."

The code reads:

Employees shall use their skill, talents and imagination to create new, unique, innovative and efficient approaches to their duties and responsibilities, focusing on a high service standard.

Employees shall use sensitive information for the sole purposes of their position in a manner that is confidential and discreet.

Employees shall demonstrate respect toward others in the performance of their duties.

Employees shall perform the duties of their positions taking responsibility for their actions and outcomes.

Employees shall interact with others in a kind, courteous manner that fosters cooperation and achieves the highest level of service.

Employees shall embrace the goal of service and shall exhibit a willingness to help in order to achieve that goal.

Employees will be trustworthy and show a high degree of integrity in all interactions.

Employees shall exhibit fairness and justice in all dealings with co-workers and the citizenry.

Employees will be self-disciplined and dependable in prioritizing their work to meet the deadlines assigned to them.

Employees will show self-confidence when dealing with the public in order to foster trust in the services being delivered.

Employees shall exhibit perseverance by taking initiative and utilizing all known resources available to them to assist co-workers and citizens in finding solutions to problems and situations.

Employees shall exhibit acceptance and understanding by conducting themselves in a manner, which supports diversity and builds bridges between differences, creating an environment in which all feel accepted.

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