Letters to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | New Langley code won’t fit on bumper sticker

To the editor:

Regarding the Record’s May 18 editorial, “Code of ethics should be simple.” It’s a rare day when I’m linked to the likes of Hammurabi and Napoleon, but I’ll take it as a compliment.

The current review of Langley’s Code of Ethical Conduct is a valuable contribution to our city. Many thanks to those commissioners and others who volunteer their time, energy, and intellect in this effort that has been years in coming.

Yes, “Do it in public” makes a good bumper sticker. It’s also a core principle of this commission’s directive, and must be core to our government’s conduct. But we are looking for better than a simplistic “bumper sticker;” or an overly-complex code that will sit on a bookshelf.

Any code we adopt should be appropriate, practical, to the point, respected and enforceable. As I said in my introductory remarks to the commission’s members, “we are seeking an ethical conduct code suitable for Langley; not for the City of Seattle, Harvard Divinity School or General Motors.”

Getting back to Napoleon: some 200 years ago he said, “A leader is a dealer in hope.” I’m very hopeful that Langley’s new code of ethical conduct will be right for our place and time.

Hal Seligson



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