The Crestview case study is an ethics-related case that focuses on the violation of the Sunshine State law by council members through email communications, racketeering allegations against leadership, and excessive use of force by the police in street crimes. The interactions between decision-making and the actors involved led to further problems. One could explain that it was due to unethical behavior, poor leadership, poor organizational culture, and public mistrust. The paper addresses these problems and addresses the organizational changes that the Crestview state should undertake to resolve these problems.
The article is an ethics-related case that focuses on the violation of the Sunshine State law by council members through email communications, racketeering allegations against leadership and excessive use of force by the police in street crimes. The city had controversial issues contrary to Florida state laws, mission, and culture. Therefore, the case deals with an internal government’s struggles in its leadership. The city is composed of a mayor, three members representing the three precincts of the city and the last two members to make a total of five were chosen at large. Members of the city council are supposed to use their authority to improve the general welfare, happiness, health, and safety of the inhabitants. The council is Crestview’s legislative body, and it is responsible for assessing the efficiency of the city’s operations and delivery of public services. In 2011 and 2012, the police department, mayor, and city of Crestview were confronted with illegal problems stemming from a lack of understanding of the law (Anderson, 2014). To meet the legislative needs of the council, the city of Crestview will need to make organizational adjustments and maintain an open government that adheres to Florida’s state public records legislation. The interactions between decision-making and the actors involved led to further problems. One could explain that the problems resulted from unethical behavior, poor leadership, poor organizational culture, and public mistrust.
In the government, elected leaders are accountable to the public, and the primary responsibility is based on legal and social responsibility. As postulated by Ross et al. (2018), unethical leadership is characterized by corruption and other scandals. Unethical behaviors are observed in the Crestview City Sunshine Law, mainly seen among the Mayor, council leaders, and police administration. For example, the case of deleted emails made the public start questioning the leadership. In observing ethics, one needs to be taught what to observe and respect; the City council members were put under training programs, but this did not take long before the police were alleged to use force. This signifies that the members hardly observed the code of ethics, and of much importance to be noted. The Crestview council struggled with the knowledge of the laws guiding their behavior, making it difficult to observe the code of ethics.
In terms of leadership, professional leadership should align with the procedures and processes of the organizational mission and vision statements. The processes and procedures must be components that make it possible for the need to be adaptable to public organizations (Kaluza et al., 2020). Having such characteristics needs to be supported by personal leadership, characterized by knowledge, caring, sharing, trust, and ethics. The mission and values of Crestview city are not employed by their employees. This is due to a lack of trust among the city council members, employees, and other officials. Leaders should lead with transparency, yet recent council members have been accused of discussing city business in closed sessions via email. As a result, the accusation of the council and leaders violating the city openness requirement as stipulated in the state constitution. Ethical leadership should be shown at all levels in an organization, but this does not apply to the City of Crestview. For instance, there were allegations against the police department, which was explained headed by Floyd the police used excessive force, which brought questions on the integrity of the unit. The Mayor handling the case did not sit well in the Councilman Iannucci; thus, such can help describe that in terms of leadership, the city experienced poor leadership making the Crestview council members struggle with the knowledge of the laws governing their tasks.
The element of commonality is missing in the Crestview Sunshine Law, which requires attaining history together via shared experience, as postulated by Khan et al. (2020). A strong organizational culture empathizes effective communication and openness above everything else. Such makes employees feel comfortable in communicating their ideas, opinions and thoughts. The presence of evidence is important in any case, showing how well the organization is. But in this case, the Mayor failed to show evidence throughout the case. The Mayor started the email trends, and after lacking the evidence, he insisted the blame be placed on him. The council members committed to do everything possible to minimize the law’s breach, and the court decided that the members should get legal training. In the long run, these laws were not observed since the sunshine law was still violated due to a lack of faith in the council’s integrity. Even the Mayor was seen violating the law. The lack of organizational culture is clearly tied to the lack of information provided through emails, especially in the election cycle. The court provided no history concerning the problems and issues of Crestview. A better organizational culture requires equitable experience for the members. This is different in the case of Crestview City Council, where no equitable experience was provided to build organizational culture.
Trust is an important ethical concept in an organization. Wickramasinghe (2021) postulated that trust is the consistent behavior leaders provide with each interaction. It has components such as a) risks, which allow one to have faith in a given situation to achieve positive outcomes, b) vulnerability which drives an individual to be open to hearing what other people say and c) expectations which facilitate trust. A lack of trust characterizes the City of Crestview. For instance, the Sunshine Law requires the government to run an open government, but the state council is faced with allegations such as delating emails in city servers, having secretive meetings, and arranging secretive contracts. Lack of trust is evident within Crestview city, which has hindered professional and personal leadership. To enhance ethical leadership, Crestview City needs to address the issue with immediate effect so that the vision for community redevelopment will be effective.
Conclusions and Recommendations
In enhancing the organizational culture, trust, effective leadership, and other ethical behaviors are structuring how the local government operates. The main action necessary for Crestview to achieve a stronger government is to create and enhance the code of ethics. This will help establish the organization’s wide expectations for the employee’s behavior and safeguard against personal interests. To foster a positive community culture, each government agency must participate in ethics training. Mayor must use the opportunity to select a transformational leader who displays a strong subjective responsibility and have the ability to enhance performance and morale and motivate the city employees (Paais & Pattiruhu 2020). It is also important for the council to educate members on their election and re-election to the civil body. The education should include the Florida Sunshine Laws, tasks of the leader’s role and a code of ethics that reflect the citizenry and Crestview government. In addressing trust within the organization, the law should encourage interaction between employees; The city will need to create active process management, which entails leaders playing the role of facilitator by stabilizing and controlling employee relationships. Finally, the city should establish a standard of measurement for all parties’ outcomes.
In conclusion, the analysis shows that numerous cases in Crestview stem from a consistent pattern of distorted culture, unethical behavior, poor leadership, and public mistrust. As explained in the recommendation section, the city needs to change its leadership to move forward. Such will apply to other organizations, states and law-making governing bodies that face similar problems of unethical behaviors.
Anderson, T. (2014). The Day the Sunshine Left Crestview [Case Study]. Electronic Hallway University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs, Seattle.
Kaluza, A. J., Boer, D., Buengeler, C., & van Dick, R. (2020). Leadership behaviour and leader self-reported well-being: A review, integration and meta-analytic examination. Work & Stress, 34(1), 34-56.
Khan, M. A., Ismail, F. B., Hussain, A., & Alghazali, B. (2020). The interplay of leadership styles, innovative work behavior, organizational culture, and organizational citizenship behavior. Sage Open, 10(1), 2158244019898264.
Paais, M., & Pattiruhu, J. R. (2020). Effect of motivation, leadership, and organizational culture on satisfaction and employee performance. The Journal of Asian Finance, Economics, and Business, 7(8), 577-588.
Ross, M. W., Iguchi, M. Y., & Panicker, S. (2018). Ethical aspects of data sharing and research participant protections. American Psychologist, 73(2), 138.
Wickramasinghe, A. S. (2021). Trust and Organizational Leadership. In Handbook of Research on Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Managerial and Leadership Psychology (pp. 490-511). IGI Global.