Pat Salerno’s recent about-face — accepting Wichita’s offer for the city manager position, signing a contract and then pulling out at the last minute — clearly violates the ethical guidelines of the professional organization to which he belongs, the International City/County Management Association.
According to one of the ICMA tenet guidelines, “Members who accept an appointment to a position should not fail to report for that position,” and “once a bona fide offer of a position has been accepted, that commitment should be honored.”
The ICMA also stresses to applicants, “Don’t say ‘yes’ unless you mean it.”
Simply giving one’s word is seen as a professional commitment, according to Martha Perego, ethics director for the ICMA. (Salerno negotiated and signed a contract.)
The ICMA makes some allowances for extraordinary circumstances in such cases, Perego told The Eagle editorial board, but “it has to be fairly compelling.” She wouldn’t comment specifically on the Salerno case. But she made clear that the ICMA takes its ethics rules seriously; in fact, the organization has a formal hearing process for publicly censuring and even removing members who violate its professional tenets.
This might be one way for Wichita to hold Salerno accountable for his unprofessional conduct. Randy