The Nathan M. Bisk College of Business Center for Ethics and Leadership held its Fall 2011 Ethics Breakfast on Tuesday, October 18th. The topic, Politics and Ethics, was the focal point of featured speaker Mr. Stuart Burns, Chief of Staff for U.S. Representative Bill Posey. Mr. Burns shared with students and faculty his own personal thoughts and reflections on this issue.
Mr. Burns addressed politics and ethics both from national and personal perspectives. He started out explaining that, “the ethics of Congress are guided by law.” He pointed out that when needed the Ethics Committee holds members and staff accountable through their investigative efforts. He also explained that, “the court of public opinion serves as an ethical measuring stick.” Those serving in Congress are accountable to those they represent.
Mr. Burns brought a historical perspective to the discussion. He explained, “One of the biggest challenges our nation’s Founding Fathers faced was how to promote social order and discipline in a self-governing society.” He pointed out that the Founding Fathers of the United States understood the importance of a strong commitment to ethical principles, not just in their leaders, but across society. Further, they understood that ethical principles were essential and ingrained in the very character of the individual, regardless of his or her profession.
He shared several stories regarding personal convictions with the insight that, “No one can really separate their own personal convictions from their actions nor divorce ethical principles from their actions. It is a part of one’s character and who he or she is as a person … and those involved in politics are no different in this regard.”
Mr. Burns also shared some learning experiences while working in the halls of Congress. He concluded his talk by describing how trust can be gained by being courteous, respectful, and making good decisions. “Keep your word and be truthful. If you are dishonest with others, you will lose their trust.”
Mr. Burns has over twenty years of governmental service. He leads a staff of 16 and is Congressman Bill Posey’s chief political advisor. Previously, he served as legislative director and deputy chief of staff for Congressman Posey. He had also served for 14 years as legislative aide to former U.S. Representative Dave Weldon. Prior to that, he worked in the administration of former President George H. W. Bush at the U.S. Department of Education Office of Legislative Affairs.
Business students and faculty attended Mr. Burns’ talk along with administrators from Florida Tech’s research office and members of the Center for Ethics and Leadership (CEL). Attendees included (pictured to the right): Dr. Tristan Fiedler, Associate Vice President for Research Federal Government Relations and Partnerships and Mr. Frank Kinney, Vice President for Research at Florida Tech. Attendees also included (pictured below): Mr. David Brock, CEL member, Mr. Stuart Burns, Dr. Ann Becker, Dean of the College of Business, Dr. Roger Manley, Professor of Management, and Mr. Cliff Peterson, CEL chair.
The Nathan M. Bisk College of Business Center for Ethics and Leadership hosts a fall and spring Ethics Breakfast that is made available, free of charge, to faculty, staff and students.
More on the CEL: The objective of the Center for Ethics and Leadership is to provide a forum for exploring and furthering ethical practices in organizations, to support and participate in ethics related education opportunities, and to continually promote the importance of ethical behavior in society with particular emphasis on the business community.
The CEL is governed by Bylaws and a Steering Committee. For more information about how you can get involved, contact the Center at (321)674-7327.