Real-Life Scenarios for Planning Ethics Training

The global COVID-19 pandemic has caused many organizations to consider adapting their continuing education training to virtual online formats. This happened recently with the cancellation of APA's National Planning Conference in Houston and its subsequent reshaping into the NPC20 @ Home digital conference on April 29–May 1.

"Ethics Cases of the Year: 2020," a presentation from an ethics session at NPC20 @ Home, is now available for use by state and local APA chapters and sections — either for in-person or online conferences.

Based on input from attendees at NPC20 @ Home, the PowerPoint presentation has been revised to better accommodate the potential use of technology for questions and answers, as well as to provide the real-life outcomes of the seven case studies.

All of the case studies — or ethical scenarios — are based on topics from the past year, as selected by the AICP Ethics Officer and the AICP Ethics Committee from misconduct complaints and informal inquiries they reviewed in 2019 and early 2020.

"While the names and locations have been changed, the substance of the cases have not," notes Ethics Committee Chair Karen Wolf, FAICP, a member of the AICP Commission.

The titles of this year's planning ethics scenarios are Confidential Information, Endorsements, Personal Property, Professional Misrepresentation, Public Engagement, Running for Office, and Social Equity. The presentation starts with a short Refresher on Planning Ethics, which includes a summary of last year's misconduct cases and informal inquiries.

The Ethics Cases of the Year: 2020 presentation is 1.5 hours in length to comply with mandatory Certification Maintenance requirements for Ethics training. The full session on the Cases of the Year at NPC20 @ Home was recorded and is available on APA Learn.

If you have any questions — or if you need assistance in presenting the case at your conference — please contact the Ethics Officer at or 312-786-6360.

Also keep in mind that members of the Ethics Committee may be available to participate in chapter or regional sessions, which could help make the training even more informative and stress-free.

Top image: Adapted from the title slide of the Ethics Cases of the Year PowerPoint presentation, available for use in ethics training.

About the Author
James Peters, FAICP, was appointed the AICP Ethics Officer in April 2015. Among the duties of the Ethics Officer are investigating complaints of ethical misconduct, providing informal ethics advice to membership, helping to develop educational materials, and serving as staff to the AICP Ethics Committee.

May 15, 2020

By James Peters, FAICP