Loose Lips

Vince Gray’s Ten Commandements For City Workers

On Monday, the same day that news broke that a bunch of city employees were allegedly taking home both a pay check and unemployment benefits, Mayor Vince Gray told all District government workers that they have to sign an ethics pledge. And yes, since you're wondering, a spokesman for the mayor says signing the pledge is mandatory.

Here it is:


As an employee of the Government of the District of Columbia, I understand that I am a public servant and, thereby, am entrusted with working for the common good of our city and its residents.

As a public servant, I have been given access to governmental power and resources for one purpose: To serve the government of the District of Columbia and the people whom that government represents.

Therefore, I solemnly pledge to honor the public trust and responsibility with which I have been entrusted by:

1. Refraining from misuse of my position or office for personal financial benefit or for the financial benefit of my
relatives, friends or organizations with which I am affiliated;

2. Avoiding financial conflicts of interest by declining to participate in government actions that could affect my
own financial interests or those of my relatives, friends or organizations with which I am affiliated;

3. Avoiding representational conflicts of interest by declining to represent a non-governmental party in a matter
before the government or involving the government;

4. Avoiding gifts and payments from interested parties by refraining from soliciting or accepting anything of value
from those who are regulated by or are doing business with the government;

5. Avoiding outside payment for government work by refraining from soliciting or accepting anything of value from
outside sources for doing government work;

6. Acting impartially by avoiding giving preferential treatment to anyone;

7. Safeguarding government resources by declining to use government letterhead, personnel, equipment, supplies,
or other resources for a non-government purpose or engaging in personal or private activities during times when I
am required to perform work for the government;

8. Safeguarding confidential non-public information by not revealing or using confidential non-public
information for a non-government purpose;

9. Disclosing waste or illegal conduct by government officials to the appropriate authorities when I witness it
taking place;

10. Abiding by revolving-door restrictions by following all rules and regulations restricting former government.

Photo by Matt Dunn

  • livening

    seems like guidance rather than commandments. natch.

  • Wrack

    What a load of hypocritical horseshit. Mayor Gray, you're saying that you and your city administrator and all your senior staff always "[act] impartially by avoiding giving preferential treatment to anyone?" What a pandering fool. Nobody buys this. Nobody respects you.

  • Jes sayin’

    The Ten Commandments were handed down on Mt. Sinai.
    These, on the other hand, are the Ten Suggestions.

    Considering how many DC employees ignore the Ten Commandments, especially that one about not stealing and that other one about not bearing false witness, I'm not sure how much change the Ten Suggestions will bring about.

    Can't blame Vince for trying, though.

  • Krystle

    If Vincent Gray wasn't a crook himself, he would have given that advice to Harry Thomas Jr., his admitted best friend and spared him some jail time.

  • Embarrassed DC Employee

    As an employee of the District (and one who does not live in the District), I am embarrassed that ethics pledges even have to be drafted for my coworkers and bosses to realize illegal activity is illegal.

    We go through ethics discussions in our orientation, yearly refresher classes from OAG, and have other training aides at our disposal and still have to sign this crap.

    What a ridiculous dog and pony show. I apologize to those that hate DC Government workers because of my peers who decide it's ok to steal from the residents of the city we work for.

  • LastStop

    Actually, my company requires a similar mandatory signatury agreement on ethics. That way, there is no question as to what is expected and required. It also makes it alot easier to discipline, up to termination, those who violate the agreement. We also have to sign an annual sexual harrassment policy agreement.

    One step in the right direction. Will the Councilmembers be signing this agreement as well?

  • Drez

    How is this any different than the many ethics initiatives that preceded it?

  • DJ Ren

    Managed to get my hands on an internal draft - I think they paid $5k for a speechwriter to come up with the one Alan has. Anyway, see below...

    One City Commandments:

    (Hand)Dance like noone's watching.

    Love (your convicted felon cronies) like you've never been hurt.

    Hire like Microsoft Excel never existed.

    Steal like nothing's nailed down.

    When confronted (on anything), blame your staff.

    "Accept Full Responsibility" - but see point above.

    Rinse & Repeat.

  • LastStop

    @Drez: Different I imagine because employees never had to sign an ethics agreement before. But if nobody in the Wilson Building is being held accountable to the agreement, I don't see what good it will do.

  • drez

    I'm pretty sure that dc employees have had to sign various ethics agreements in the past. At least at point of hire. And this isnt' the first round of ethics training, either.

  • dcgovcorruption

    Government employees have been signing such pledges before assuming their position ("to uphold the laws of the District of Columbia and the Constitution of the United States of America, and to avoid the appearance of impropriety") for decades. The Personnel regulation also cover the same. Maybe it changed after Anthony Williams left office. Nothing new, just passing blame to the bureaucrats for the shortcomings at the Wilson Building.

  • LastStop

    @dcgovcorruption: I agree. This is the first time I have ever heard of any overt mandatory requirement for all dc government employees to sign a stand alone ethics agreement. Yes, maybe mixed up in DC regulations, but nothing that they laid pen to regarding ethics alone.

    I still say that if the elected officials of the Wilson Building and their staffs, you know, the one's who do much of the unethical business in this city, are not held to the same agreement it is a waste of time and it is scapegoating.

    I see nothing wrong with requiring employees to sign the agreement.

  • leeshato

    Every one who works for the district elected or not elected should have to sign this agreement. Vincent Gray did not start the culture of DC government. He now has to help create a change.Vincent Gray has to try to move this one city in a new direction.

  • http://letschange.org Respected Citizens

    This Mayor is the OLDEST and the most unattractive we have ever had.

    Can someone send him to the DENTIST, followed by an excellent hair weave stylist for men.

    At least, him and his girlfriend Linda have the same type of old-ass wrinkles.

    Hopefully, she will not get bed riddens. If so, he may send her a divorce note while moving onto his next level of interest.

    Just like Fenty, Gray would love being anything other than Black.

  • rcwb

    The only employees not required to sign the agreement were employees in the Mayor's office and City Council.Everyone else signed a similar form yearly.

  • PBD

    They eventually told us that we could disagree as an option. I had to disagree because my department had already been instructed by management to ignore several of the tenets above - or else.