Making A Difference-Promoting excellence in TDCJ
By Fred Nwagbo and Pamela Herring, ACE Opinion Committee members
In 1996, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice established the Advisory Council on Ethics (ACE) to develop a code of conduct, prepare and disseminate agency value statements and develop ethics training programs. The council advocates for ethical conduct throughout the Agency. The vision of ACE is to make a difference in the lives of employees whose service and dedication make our agency the most respected in the nation. In carrying out the obligations of advocating and fostering an ethical environment for the agency, ACE promotes the core values espoused by the Texas Board of Criminal Justice and TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston: Commitment, Honesty, and Integrity.
The council members serve as a sounding board, a source of guidance, and a channel for raising a range of issues involving agency policies and practices. ACE accepts anonymous submissions and works closely with the Human Resources Department and the Office of the General Counsel to respond to employee concerns. ACE is also working in collaboration with TDCJ-Office of the Inspector General and Office of Internal Audit to implement the Fraud Prevention and Detection Program. The key components of the TDCJ-Fraud Prevention Program are: promoting a culture of honesty and ethics in the workplace; implementing antifraud processes and controls; and finally, fostering appropriate oversight process by management.
Success in creating a climate for responsible and ethically sound behavior requires continuing effort and a considerable investment of time and resources, but the effort pays enormous dividends. Experts in organizational ethics agree that “ETHICAL MANAGERS enjoy competitive advantage over unethical managers …ORGANIZATIONS that pride themselves in promoting and enforcing ethical culture enjoy competitive advantage over organizations that allow unethical practices to flourish.”
And of course, regardless of the competitive advantages to be gained, efforts to create a climate which promotes responsible and ethical behavior are important simply because it is the right thing to do.
For information about ACE, visit the TDCJ website or write to the Deputy Executive Director’s Office-ACE, TDCJBOT Admin. Room 213, P.O. Box 99, Huntsville, TX 77342-0099.