Friday, August 15, 2014

Journal report on APS football players eligibility controversy; a great case study

Journal reporter James Yodice comes this morning with a report, link, on high school football players with eligibility issues, an APS coach with ethics issues, and a regulatory body with disclosure issues.

The story is interesting because it deals with violating codes of ethics rather than violations of law.

The regulatory body is the New Mexico Activities Association.  Yodice interviewed Executive Director Sally Marquez.  The standards of conduct she followed in responding to his questions are manifestly confused.

On one hand, she is bound by the law,  she is required to tell certain truths.  She must for example, produce public records upon demand.  The law provides exceptions.  She cannot for example, produce students names. (That is my assumption - I didn't bother to go read the applicable law).

On the other hand, she is bound by ethics.  Ethics require doing more than the law requires, and less than the law allows.

All of these folks do this dance as they answer questions.  One moment they dance to the tune of the law.  It may come after they waste ridiculous amounts of money in litigation trying to hide it, but it will come; they will obey the law.

During their finest moments, they dance to the tune of higher standards of conduct than the law.

I would like you to consider at least one of those standards.  I would have you consider it because it is the standard that the leadership of the APS has established and enforces upon students, link, here quoted in significant part;


There is no more fundamental ethical value than honesty. We associate honesty with people of honor, and we admire and rely on those who are honest. But honesty is a broader concept than many may realize. It involves both communications and conduct.

Honesty in communications is expressing the truth as best we know it and not conveying it in a way likely to mislead or deceive. There are three dimensions:

Truthfulness. Truthfulness is presenting the facts to the best of our knowledge. Intent is the crucial distinction between truthfulness and truth itself. Being wrong is not the same thing as lying, although honest mistakes can still damage trust insofar as they may show sloppy judgment.

Sincerity. Sincerity is genuineness, being without trickery or duplicity. It precludes all acts, including half-truths, out-of-context statements, and even silence, that are intended to create beliefs or leave impressions that are untrue or misleading.

Candor. In relationships involving legitimate expectations of trust, honesty may also require candor, forthrightness and frankness, imposing the obligation to volunteer information that another person needs to know...
Clearly Marquez was being "legal" not candid, forthright and honest in response to legitimate questions about the public interests and her public service.  At no time apparently, are politicians and public servants "legally" accountable to higher standards, despite their protestations. 

Higher standards cannot be enforced in courts of the lower standards.

My hackles raised a little when I read;
The New Mexico Activities Association has completed its investigation of the players. “As far as we’re concerned, the case is closed,” executive director Sally Marquez said.(emphasis added)
"... and "the case is closed" is the language powerful people use to end speaking truth to power.  They use it to indicate their suspension of a complainant's right to further pursue an unjust resolution of their complaint.  I just wrote, link, how some anonymous bureaucrat in APS has determined my "issue is closed" with respect to my complaint against APS' Chief of Police Steve Gallegos.

No comments: