Planners, Managers, and Ethics: When Cultures Collide

Monday, May 8, 2017 | 4:15 p.m. - 5:45 p.m.
CM | 1.50
E | 1.50
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You'll learn about:

  • The art of achieving an ethical result when working with professions that have different values and ethics. 

  • The historic development of the planning and city management professions and how their ethics codes were developed.

  • The similarities and differences in the AICP and ICMA codes of ethics.

Planners often work for city/county managers who have different approaches and ethical standards. Learn how to meet the standards of the AICP Code of Ethics while balancing the complementary and competing ethical standards that bind city managers.  This session expands and updates a session from the 2016 National Planning Conference, incorporating new scenarios and content from Jerry Weitz' book, The Ethical Planning Practitioner (2013).

The odds are good that at some time during their careers, planners will work for a city or county manager.  When that happens to AICP members, there's always the chance that there will be a clash between the practices embodied by the AICP Code of Ethics and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Code of Ethics. 

This session will examine the different belief structures embedded in the two codes and focus on how these differing belief structures, value systems and ethical codes can be balanced to achieve an ethical result.  Recent research will be revealed that highlights the differences and commonalities between the AICP and ICMA Codes of Ethics.

The panelists will present several interesting scenarios based on typical interactions between planners and managers and will lead a discussion about the resulting ethical issues.  Discussion will be focused on discovering solutions that satisfy the city manager’s goals while remaining within the bounds of the AICP Code of Ethics.  This session will include material which at this writing is pending publication in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Planning Association.


Steven Preston , FAICP , Pasadena , CA (see bio)
Mary Kay Peck , FAICP , MKPeck Associates , Clearwater Beach , FL (see bio)
Bonnie Johnson , AICP , University of Kansas , Lawrence , KS (see bio)