Ethics Word Cloud

Determining the Department’s Ethical Environment

Ethics word cloud

Author: Danielle Myrick

As state employees, we are to maintain the highest ethical standards. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently completed an audit of the Department’s Ethics Governance and Environment. The audit assessed the Department of Transportation’s ethics program by evaluating the Ethics Policy, (Topic Number 001-010-020), calculating the required training completion rate, reviewing current processes for distributing ethics related information, and surveying employees to gauge ethical awareness in the department.

We tested four specific areas to determine adequacy and compliance with the Governors’ Code of Ethics and department’s Ethics Policy. Our testing determined:

  • the department’s Ethics Policy meets the requirements of the Governor’s Code of Ethics;
  • the department’s Ethics computer based training (CBT) is aligned with the requirements of the department’s Ethics Policy;
  • there was a 91% compliance rate for the completion of the Ethics CBT by department staff employed at least 1 year during fiscal year 2015/16; and
  • the department needs to strengthen controls to ensure employees understand the department’s ethics environment and have access to ethics related information.

Additionally, a 12 question survey was conducted and we received 2,209 department employee responses. The survey results revealed:

  • 7% of respondents correctly identified the department’s Ethics Officer.
  • 62% of respondents correctly answered, “Cannot accept any gift that is given to him by any lobbyist or consultant who does business with FDOT,” to the question, “An FDOT employee is going to be married soon. His future wife, who is not a state employee, has friends who are lobbyists or who are consultants who do business with FDOT. The friends will be invited to the wedding. The FDOT employee wants to know if he can accept wedding gifts from his future wife’s friends who are consultants who do business with FDOT or who are lobbyists.”
  • 44% of respondents correctly answered, “Accept the job, but don’t work on the contract for which he was a part of the technical review committee,” to the question, “A thirty year FDOT employee is about to retire. Last year he was a member of a technical review committee to select a consultant to do work for FDOT under a five year contract. The contract was awarded to the ABC Corporation. The ABC Corporation has offered the FDOT employee a job after he retires. What can the employee do?”

Overall, the department has a substantial ethics program. However, opportunities for improvement exist. We have provided recommendations in the audited areas to improve compliance and create a more effective ethics program. The complete published report can be found on our internet page.