Guerrilla Government and Waldo's Map of Ethical Obligations of a Public Servant
Public administrators are frequently faced with conflicting interests that demand a subjective analysis that can lead to suboptimal outcomes unless their professional obligations are taken into account. To gain some additional insights into these issues, this paper provides an explanation of the Nevada Four guerrillas' competing obligations using Waldo's map of ethical obligations of a public servant. An explanation concerning the impact of the guerrillas' actions on the individuals involved, the organization, and public policy is followed by a discussion concerning this author's disagreement with their actions and why.
Review and Discussion
The term "guerrilla government" is used to describe actions that are taken by career public servants that are contrary to the policies of their superiors for various reasons, primarily because they are dissatisfied with these policies but other reasons play a role as well (O'Leary, 2014). In the case of the so-called "Nevada Four's" guerilla government activities...
It is noteworthy, though, that rather than working within the system they were professionally obligated to support, they elected to circumvent this system because they believed they held the moral high ground. For instance, O'Leary (2014) notes that, "The Nevada Four had no time for intergovernmental turf fights for several reasons. First, since they hoped to hide most of their actions from those at higher levels in their hierarchies, they could not afford to take credit for their successes" (p. 39).
The fact that the Nevada Four placed their own perspectives concerning this environmental issue above the interests of their superiors is indicative of disloyalty rather than a higher moral position because these individuals had a fundamental responsibility to work within the public administration system rather than covertly sabotaging its efforts. Notwithstanding the fact that the Nevada Four did not seek recognition or reward for their covert actions does not exonerate their actions, but rather reinforces the secretive approach they chose to use to achieve their personal goals. In this regard, O'Leary points out that, "They were dedicated to a goal, not to personal aggrandizement. Protection of the wetlands came first" (2014, p. 39).
Certainly, it is…
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