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Ethical Decision-Making for Guerrilla Government in Seattle

The ethical issues illuminated in the case were identified as a strategic application of tactics to circumvent stipulated policies and mismanagement of public funds. There was a bitter relationship between those in authority and their juniors, who could not point out the wrongdoings perpetrated by their seniors. Decision-making became a daunting task in the context of legal matters, the major task was during the process of decision making (O’Leary, 2019). Similarly, the Guerilla Government in Seattle exposed the relevancy between legal matters and ethical issues. The case also presents a situation in which there was no confidentiality in information and mistreatment of the servants who stood by the federal laws and ethics.

The government of the United States considers the ethical matters of the land before making important decisions. Through succinct scrutiny of the law, the norms that are pegged on the ethics are the fundamental pillars that are prioritized before a final decision is made (Spicer, 2010). The federal laws are the guidelines that every court of the United States draws their conclusions from matters lying within legal frameworks (Svara, 2014). It is imperative to note that ethical matters are those that revolve around the consciousness of what is wrong and right. In the context of politics, decision-making that relies upon ethical decision-making models is driven by the actions of those in authority. The context of the guerilla government EPA Seattle regional office does not merit ethical violations. Rather, the case shows that the people entrusted with power intrigued the guerilla actions.

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The officers used their powers in the offices to abuse the law for matters of self-indulgence. Ethical values such as righteousness and honesty were put forward as tools of defending the morals of the land. Moreover, ethical laws are the avenues of empowerment of the employees to accept or reject the good or bad decisions imposed on them by their superiors (Olsson, 2016). Additionally, the application of the ethical decision-making models did not contradict any organizational culture of the government EPA Seattle regional office. It is an organizational culture that plays a critical role in determining better achievements of a system.

The officers faced challenges during their application of the guerrilla tactics in the senior position. Besides, they exposed their greed and other weaknesses. For example, the political appointees had difficulty during major decision-making processes since there was varied opinion amongst them. Additionally, these political appointees failed to create cohesion and trust between the senior officers and the servants (O’Leary, 2019). Mistrust emerged due to the actions of people like Spencer towards their juniors. Making personal profits encompassed the life of some leaders as they practiced abuse of office. Spencer decided to make contractual agreements with companies for personal developments. Spencer’s actions amounted to a violation of ethics and federal laws. Using a public office to facilitate personal interests like making trips are clear indicators of how the political class violated the laws and bypassed the agency regulations.

Career officers decided to apply guerilla tactics to stop their seniors from abusing their offices. Most of their leader’s actions were based on greed and personal attributes. Despite being aware of the consequences of defying the federal laws and the ethical mandates, the career officer became much concerned about their seniors and political appointees. The political appointees overruled and mistreated their juniors, to gain access to the public funds (O’Leary, 2019). Through bribes and favoritism, the senior employees had become more powerful with less control as they disregarded the law. This led to the amassing of wealth to help them protect their interest, the officers also lost focus of their sole obligation of protection and conservation of the dictates of the constitution.

Through the defiance, they acted as traitors who never appreciated and comprehended the federal laws and the ethics of the land. These triggered the career officers to promptly apply the guerrilla tactics. The actions of the senior officers were unethical and promoted heinous acts like corruption. In a land where citizens and civil servants are guided by democracy and play a role of strict adherence to the law, the junior officers had limited options like to apply guerilla methods. It was wrong for the leaders and other perpetrators to turn away from the laws of the land. Both the organization and the general public suffered immensely. The collection of taxes requires a proper channel to promote government development agendas in society. When individuals decide to use public resources for personal gains as in the case of Spencer, it becomes difficult to achieve the key agendas of development and other policies (Balfour & Adams, 2014; Daniel & Follett, 2020). The use of the guerilla tactic was therefore unethical since the career officers had been sidelined by their seniors.

Patriotic leaders adhered to the federal laws and remained within ethical jurisdictions. The action by such leaders helped in normalcy resumption in the EPA Seattle office divisions. There existed a feeling of betrayal from the senior leaders who failed to protect the junior employees for unethical job perspectives. The entire agency and its management seemed to have overlooked their roles of serving American people. Nevertheless, the protection of the constitution was less important to the agency. There were organized targeted crimes towards law-abiding employees.

To quell the dilemmas created in the discussed scenario, the administrators were to thoroughly scrutinize the situation and apply other methods of addressing the ethical decision making in their context of EPA Seattle. The administrators failed to comprehend that some of the decisions they made would be rejected by their juniors. This otherwise does not warranty mistreatment of a junior career officer in the management system (O’Leary, 2019). Looking down upon a junior officer by their bosses’ amount to unlawful and unethical relationships. This intern promotes a lack of respect and open defiance by the junior officers to their senior counterparts. The best the agency would have done is to prevent the promoters of corruption and unethical matters within the organization form occurring. The management had the sole authority to protect the image of the company and to reinstate sanity before the worse took place. Defying the laws and promoting misuse of public resources were to be put under check by the senior management who failed to observe their obligations of services (Daniel & Follett, 2020). The lessons learned from the EPA Seattle Office division are numerous.

First, it is important to balance between ethics and personal interest. The officers developed a poor attitude to protect their jobs but failed them by opting for guerilla tactics in their operations. Mutual respect among employees plays a pivotal role in the success of a company. For the Seattle office division, respect between the senior and the junior employees had drastically deteriorated. This made cooperation among the workers difficult. Finally, the laws and ethics act as pillars that an organization anchors its operation. Acts that can be seen as contempt of the law should be avoided at all costs in every organization that strives for prosperity. The use of guerilla methods in systems of governance should only be avoided in any way possible.


Balfour, D. L., & Adams, G. B. (2014). Unmasking administrative evil. Routledge.

Daniels, B., & Follett, A. P. (2020). Building credibility: Lessons from the leadership of William Ruckelshaus. The Environmental Law Reporter50(3), 10238.

Olsson, J. (2016). Subversion in institutional change and stability: A neglected mechanism. Springer.

O’Leary, R. (2019). The ethics of dissent: Managing guerrilla government. Cq Press.

O’Leary, R. (2017). The 2016 John Gaus lecture: The new guerrilla government: Are big data, hyper social media, and contracting out changing the ethics of dissent? PS: Political Science & Politics50(1), 12-22.

Svara, J. H. (2014). The ethics primer for public administrators in government and nonprofit organizations. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Spicer, M. W. (2010). In defense of politics in public administration: A value pluralist perspective. University of Alabama Press.

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