Missouri Local Government Ethics Survey Report

The MMES is a pilot project studying municipal level ethics issues across the State of Missouri.  The survey correlated information about ethics training and codes with ethics violation rates in an attempt to assess how the ethical climate in Missouri municipalities compares to other areas, and whether ethics measures such as ethics codes and training have an impact.  This webpage contains the results of the survey, our observations about the data, and policy recommendations for citizens, elected officials, and the media.  Our hope is to start an ongoing conversation about the strengths and shortcomings of public ethics policies in municipalities in the State of Missouri.

Our findings indicate that while ethics codes are relatively widespread, ethics training lags behind in Missouri. And it is ethics training programs, not ethics codes by themselves, that  are correlated with measurable drops in several categories of ethical infraction. Further, we found that while more ethics violations were observed in larger municipalities (5000+), these municipalities were not more likely than smaller ones to implement ethics measures. However, ethics measures had a stronger impact in larger municipalities, indicating that these larger municipalities may be the lowest hanging fruit for effective ethics reform.

Interested to see how you or the local government entity you work for compares?