The County Voice

New and Free(!) Resource for Counties on Ethics Laws

When it comes to California’s ethics laws, it can be a love-hate relationship for local officials. County officials appreciate the boundaries and accountability the laws create for those in public service for the wrong reasons.  Understanding the ever-changing nature of these laws for the well-intended county official, however, can be a challenge.

To help, the CSAC’s research affiliate, the Institute for Local Government, has just released an updated version of its publication, Understanding the Basics of Public Service Ethics. This resource is available for free as a downloadable e-book at

The book provides an easy-to-understand overview on public servants’ obligations under California’s ethics laws. Issues covered include:

  • Personal financial gains laws
  • Perk issues, including compensation, use of public resources and gift laws
  • Transparency laws
  • Fair process and merit-based decision making

The e-book also can be used to support a county’s AB 1234 ethics training.

Depending on a county’s needs, this booklet can be downloaded and duplicated to be used as a whole or as individual topic handouts.  The Institute welcomes links to its resources from ethics sections of county websites as well.

This resource is made available for free thanks to the generosity of the following Institute supporters Aleshire & Wynder, Best Best & Krieger, Burke Williams & Sorensen, Hanson Bridgett, Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard, Liebert Cassidy Whitmore, Richards Watson & Gershon, and Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai.

But wait, there’s more!  The Institute’s site offers a wealth of resources to local officials on the full range of ethical dilemmas that can face a local official, as well as resources on transparency and public involvement.  All this and more is available from

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