The chosen article by Hayley Harding is entitled “Brent Coles, Who Was Sentenced for Misusing Public Funds, Is Running for Mayor Again.” The article touches upon the controversy of Brent Coles’ decision to run for the mayor of Boise after being accused of illegal spending of the local budget money. Coles argues that the present mayor has made several poor budgetary decisions, including hiring Moshe Safdie for $11 million to design the new building of the main Boise library (Harding). It is unclear if the citizens of the city can trust Coles after his unethical spending.
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The ethical issue related to the article is the violation of honesty is one of the core ethical principles in public budgeting. In 2002, Mayor Coles used city funds to pay for tickets to see a musical and other expedition on a trip to New York City. Coles manipulated the city budget to allocate funds to personal needs, which led to the loss of approval among the population. However, according to Alexander, the matter may have been due to the lack of knowledge about budgeting ethics (543). Taxpayers do not want to fund the mayor’s entertainment; however, Coles may have been unaware that such expenses were not covered by the city budget. During his visit to New York, Coles spent a little over $2,000, which may not be worthy of a risk. However, regardless of the reasons for the misuse of the budgetary money, Coles lost the trust of the voters, and his chances of being elected remain slim.
The misuse of public money may negatively impact future budget funding requests. If Coles is to be reelected, all his new expenditures are likely to be carefully reviewed and heavily criticized. This may lead to adverse consequences for the city budget since it would be hard to justify any changes in taxes or fees to support a new program. Additionally, federal grant providers are more likely to deny requests from Boise’s administration due to an increased possibility of unethical expenditures. In brief, the adverse outcomes of budget money misuse are vast, and there is a high probability that they will linger for an extended time period, as in the case with Mayor Coles.
Alexander, Jennifer. “A New Ethics of the Budgetary Process.” Administration & Society, vol. 31, no. 4, 1999, pp. 542-565.
Harding, Hayley. “Brent Coles, Who Was Sentenced for Misusing Public Funds, Is Running for Mayor Again,” Idaho Statesman. 2019, Web.