Legal Ethics/promotion


I work at a state institution. We seem to have some serious ethics issues across the board, but I have a specific question I hope I can bounce off of you.
There was recently a search for the associate director of our institution. The director of my division, "Don," was one of three candidates (the other two were directors of other divisions). The former associate director of our group, "Jim" was on the search committee. Jim was recently promoted to a "corporate" position within the institution, making room for "John" to become the current associate director of our division. Don was promoted, opening a search for the director of my division. Jim is now on the search committee for this position, and John is the leading candidate for the position (he has been appointed interim director).
I hope that made sense. The ethics problem is that Jim and John co-own and operate a pair of companies on the side, one closely related to the institution's work and the other not related. They make a lot of money through these side businesses, comparable to income from their institute jobs. This business relationship has not been disclosed to the institution. It seems straightforward that Jim has benefited his business partner indirectly by promoting Don, and directly by promoting John.

Question: Do these ethical problems compromise the decision to promote Don (and/or John, when that occurs), or are they simply something that affect Jim's job when the business relationship is discovered?


From the way that you worded the inquiry, it is apparent you feel there is a conflict of interest.  From the facts presented, it is  a conflict of interest.  Of course, there should have been a disclosure so that all of the candidates and the rest of the search committee could make informed decisions.

Very truly yours,

Paul D. Friedman, M.A., Ph.D., J.D.

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Paul D. Friedman, M.A., Ph.D., J.D.


I have been a practicing civil trial attorney since 1989 and have a master's degree in bioethics and a doctorate of philosophy in comparative ethics of law, medicine and business.

I am Certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and am Certified as a Specialist in Injury and Wrongful Death Litigation by the State Bar of Arizona Board of Legal Specialization.

I can answer questions dealing with general ethics principles, including legal ethics, medical ethics, bioethics and business ethics. I do not give legal advice over the internet.

For more information, you can view my website at WWW.EXPERTETHICS.COM


Experience in the area
I have been a practicing trial attorney since 1989 and I have a masters degree in bioethics and a doctorate of philosophy regarding comparative ethics.

Organizations belong to
State Bar of Arizona
State Bar of Colorado (inactive)
District of Columbia Bar (inactive)
Federal Bar
Licensed in Arizona District Court
Licensed in Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
Licensed in the United States Supreme Court
American Bar Association
National Board of Trial Advocacy
American Association for Justice
Arizona Trial Lawyers Association
American Society for Bioethics and Humanities
Kennedy Institute of Ethics
National Association of Realtors

Bachelor of Arts 1985
Juris Doctorate 1989
Master of Arts in Bioethics 2004
Doctorate of Philosphy 2006

Awards and Honors
Phi Beta Kappa
Multiple Who's Who

A list of my copyrighted publications and presentations is contained at WWW.EXPERTETHICS.COM

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