Keeping your word is an essential part of demonstrating integrity.
ICMA members who accept an appointment to a position should not fail to report for that position. This does not preclude the possibility of a member considering several offers or seeking several positions at the same time, but once a bona fide offer of a position has been accepted, that commitment should be honored. Oral acceptance of an employment offer is considered binding unless the employer makes fundamental changes in terms of employment.
Members have been censured for the following unethical conduct in the job search:
- After successfully negotiating with the local government and giving a verbal acceptance of their offer, a member continued to interview for other positions.
- A member signed an offer letter from a local government and then withdrew it to take a preferred position in another organization.
- A member verbally accepted an offer, after discussing and agreeing to the terms of compensation, and then withdrew from the position after the organization announced that he would be the new manager.
Responsibility for thoroughly evaluating the position, organization and community to determine whether or not it will be a good fit—before making a commitment—rests with the member.
For questions regarding this advice or other Code of Ethics issues, contact Steve Bryant, ICMA Senior Advisor (email@example.com).