Ethics for Contemporary Bureaucrats: Navigating Constitutional Crossroads, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Ethics for Contemporary Bureaucrats

Navigating Constitutional Crossroads, 1st Edition

Edited by Nicole M. Elias, Amanda M. Olejarski


224 pages | 6 B/W Illus.

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As the US faces frequent government shutdowns and new policy debates surrounding immigration, climate change, budgeting practices, and the balance of power, a constitutional crisis is emerging. With competing interests, unclear policy, and inconsistent leadership directives from the highest levels of government, how do contemporary bureaucrats make sense of this ethically turbulent environment? This collection provides a lens for viewing administrative decision making and behavior from a constitutional perspective, as public servants attempt to navigate new and uncharted territory.

Ethics for Contemporary Bureaucrats is organized around three constitutional values: freedom, property, and social equity. These themes are based on emerging trends in public administration and balanced with traditional ethical models. Each chapter provides an overview of a contemporary ethical issue, identifies key actors, institutions, legal and legislative policy, and offers normative and practical recommendations to address the challenges the issue poses. Rooted in a respected and time-tested intellectual history, this volume speaks to bureaucrats in a modern era of governance. It is ideally suited to educate students, scholars, and public servants on constitutional values and legal precedent as a basis for ethics in the public sector.

Table of Contents



Foreword: Camilla Stivers


Editor Biographies

Contributor Biographies

Introduction: The Constitutional Tradition in Public Administration Ethics

Larkin Dudley, Nicole M. Elias & Amanda Olejarksi

I. Freedom: Calling Health, Safety, and Financial Security into Question

1. Civil Servants on the Front-lines of Greenhouse Gas Regulation: The Responsibilities of Public Administrators to Protect the Public in the Face of Recalcitrant Political Institutions

Michelle C. Pautz, Ph.D.

2. Regime Values in Disaster Management

Patrick S. Roberts

3. Advancing Administrative Ethics Through Needs-Based Budgeting Practice

Dr. Kate Preston Keeney & Dr. Michael S. Keeney

4. Freedom v. Fairness: How Unresolved Normative Tension Contributed to the Collapse of the U.S. Housing Market in 2008 -- and Policymaker Inability to Reform It a Decade On

Susan W. Gates

II. Property: New Forms of Property Reinvigorating Longstanding Debates

5. Due Process and Property: What Process Due?

Amanda M. Olejarski & Sue M. Neal

6. Property, Intellectual Property and Ethics in Public Administration

Sara R. Jordan

7. Privacy as a Supra-Regime Value: The Ethical argument for a new evolution of regime values to better protect financial privacy in local governments,

Mike Potter, Ph.D.

8. Property and Emerging Institutional Types: The Challenge of Private Foundations in Public Higher Education

Kathryn E. Webb Farley

III. Social Equity: The New Frontier of Diversity and Inclusion

9. Non-binary Gender Identity: Challenging Public Values and Reshaping Institutions

Nicole M. Elias & Gwendolyn Saffran

10. Social Equity and Voting Rights: A Shrinking Regime

Susan T. Gooden & Dr. Brandy Faulkner

11. A Proposal for Strategic Controls to Ensure Equity in the Criminal Justice System

Henry Smart III, Ph.D.

12. Advancing Equity through Increased Access to Residential Broadband

Daniel Boden & Roy Kirby

Conclusion: Where the Constitution Can Lead Us

Nicole M. Elias, Amanda M. Olejarski & Sue M. Neal


About the Editors

Nicole M. Elias is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY and Co-Director of Women in the Public Sector at John Jay College, USA. She is a Research Fellow with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) and Research Partner with the New York City Commission on Gender Equity. Dr. Elias held a Research Fellowship at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Office and served as the Lead Faculty Advisor to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management on the 2016 Government-wide Inclusive Diversity Strategic Plan. She is the winner of the 2019 Audre Lorde Award for Social Justice and co-recipient of the 2018-19 Inaugural Presidential Student-Faculty Research Collaboration Award. Dr. Elias is the author of numerous journal articles, book chapters, government reports, and practitioner training modules on means of fostering greater representation and inclusion in public service. Amanda M. Olejarski is Associate Professor in the Department of Public Policy and Administration and serves as the MPA Director at West Chester University, USA. Her research has been published in numerous journals, and she’s the author of two books on ethical decision-making. Olejarski serves as President of the Keystone State ASPA Chapter, Chair of NASPAA’s Pi Alpha Alpha Committee, and Managing Editor of the journal Public Integrity.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Affairs & Administration
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Corruption & Misconduct