Forum 7 module 7.docx - Accountability and ethical conduct...

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Accountability and ethical conduct are important concepts in public administration. In Tennessee, recent political stakeholders and some bureaucratic stakeholders have been caught up in various scandals (Operation Tennessee Waltz, Operation Rocky Top etc.). Based on the readings, what could Tennessee do to make political and bureaucratic functionaries more accountable? Operation Tennessee Waltz and Operation Rocky Top were FBI investigations into political corruption. Rocky Top took place in the 1980’s and dealt with illegal activities involvingcharity Bingo and the sale of illegal bingo licenses according to Revolvy (n.d.). The investigationresulted in over 50 convictions, to include several politicians and state legislators, two of whom committed suicide before they could be brought to trial. Tennessee Waltz was another FBI investigation that took place in the mid 2000’s and took six years to wrap up. In this case the investigation began with a court clerk’s office with a contractor accepting money for work that was never performed using an invoice scam. The investigation was expanded to include state senators and other public figures once it was discovered that lawmakers were accepting bribes from lobbyists to benefit the interests of the lobbyist’s clients. This case led to new state ethics laws and an independent ethics commission in the state according to the archive file on the Tennessee Waltz case (2008) with the FBI. Accountability and proper ethical conduct is an important part of public administration. Milakovich and Gordon (2013) define Bureaucratic accountability as not being above the controlof checks and balances by other entities, they are specific principles applied to control the power of the organization (p.89). In the case of Tennessee Waltz, this began with corruption in the circuit courts office with an invoice scam. By turning the accounting of each department over to a larger accounting department it provides a mean of checks and balances in accounting. This oversight can further be scrutinized by adding in yearly audits by outside accounting firms that report directly to the local elected government board. Khalil, Saffar & Trabelsi (2015) quote Ballet al. (2003) and “ suggest that financial reporting standards limit corruption when coupled with stricter laws that hold auditors accountable for materially misleading financial statements.”

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