By Kelly Reagan

I’ve appreciated and benefitted from other fleet professionals who have shared their mistakes and given accounts of how to avoid them. I would like to share my experience in the hope it will help others.

In setting up the local chapter of Municipal Equipment Maintenance Association, I asked members to sponsor the lunches for membership. It was a voluntary practice, not a requirement of membership. But as a fleet employee, I am seen as a representative of my employer, so it is a violation of the Ohio Ethics Commission.

While there was no thought of getting any personal value — and the ethics commission ruled there was no personal gain – it was a violation. We took action to end the practice to sponsor lunches as soon as the issue was raised and before the ethics commission finished their findings. I also took action to inform my boss and answer any and all questions. I updated my boss as the investigation progressed over a two-year period.

Remember this: a violation is a violation is a violation. I encourage you to review your own ethics policies often, continue ethics training within your organization and, when in doubt, check in with your state’s ethics board.

Remember best practices when you make a mistake. Take action to change those practices. Communicate to your administration and stakeholders, and accept and learn from the consequences. Mistakes can be a time of education and growth. Best practices will keep you focused so that you can learn and grow from your mistakes.

About the Author: Kelly Reagan is the fleet administrator for the City of Columbus, Ohio. He was a founding member of the Ohio chapter of the Municipal Equipment Maintenance Association and serves as chapter chair.