Originally Posted by the Detroit Legal News

Public administration issues that highlight ethical lapses were discussed at WMU-Cooley Law School’s Lansing campus during the panel event, “Guardians of the Public Trust: Ethics in the Modern Era,” on Oct. 19.

Sponsored by the Michigan Capital Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration and WMU-Cooley Law School, the event featured expert panelists, and was moderated by Dr. Jerry Jennings, a facilitator at K-KAM Communications.

Panelists included Dr. Matthew S. Mingus, professor and MPA director at Western Michigan University; Dr. Agustin V. Arbulu, executive director of Michigan Department of Civil Rights; Dr. Kevin Elliott, associate professor at Lyman Briggs College and Michigan State University; and Jeff Williams, CEO of Public Sector Consultants.

The group focused on an array of challenges that have lead to a large decline in public trust since the high point during the Bush–Clinton era. One issue the panel discussed was the Flint water crisis. Discussion included ways to heal Flint, response time and implicit bias against people of color.

“Michigan’s Attorney General has been using the Flint debacle as a launch plan to the governor’s office, and that what seems likely to be more than $25 million spent on investigations and lawyers fails to help the people of Flint,” said Mingus.

Mingus also highlighted the varying charges placed on private contractors compared to local and state employees, citing that 15 public servants have been charged with criminal acts while contractors have been accused of minor civil violations.

Mingus holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree in public administration, and a bachelor’s degree in public affairs and speech communications. His research, taking him to China, Iraq and Canada, has increasingly focused on comparative federalism and other models of decentralized administration.

Arbulu brings more than 16 years of senior management experience to his position as executive director of the MDCR. Arbulu previously served as president and CEO of a post-acute care organization aimed at reducing rehospitalization and maximizing patient satisfaction.

Elliott studies the role of values in science as well as a range of ethical issues related to science and technology. Much of his scholarship is related to social issues raised by environmental pollution, and he is the author of the book, “Is a Little Pollution Good for You? Incorporating Societal Values in Environmental Research” (Oxford University Press, 2011).

As CEO, Williams serves as the managing partner of PSC, focusing on the company’s finances, information systems and consulting operations. Williams has more than 25 years of experience as a policy analyst, systems analyst, statistician and manager.

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