Talking ethics in public life with School of PPA’s Wally Siewert, Vivian Eveloff

Wally Siewert and Vivian Eveloff

Wally Siewert, director of UMSL’s Center for Ethics in Public Life, and Vivian Eveloff, director of the Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life at UMSL, guest on a recent episode of “St. Louis on the Air” on St. Louis Public Radio. (St. Louis Public Radio photo/Áine O’Connor)

Missouri politicians on both sides of the aisle have grappled this year with unethical behavior that has gone public and led to resignations. It was the topic of discussion last week on “St. Louis on the Air,” a program on St. Louis Public Radio | 90.7 KWMU.

The trend fuels the general reputations politicians already have for seeking power and prestige for selfish reasons, according to Wally Siewert, director of the Center for Ethics in Public Life at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

“This is the wrong reaction, you’re freeing them up to fulfill your least and lowest expectations, instead of holding them to a higher standard, which is what we should be doing,” Siewert told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh.

Missouri’s term limits for legislators contribute to the problem, Siewert said. Vivian Eveloff, director of the Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life at UMSL, agreed.

“It is not a lifelong career; it is a stepping stone,” Eveloff said on St. Louis Public Radio. “You know when you walk in there, how long you can possibly be there and where you will go next becomes the most current thing on your mind. You need to cultivate people who have money and who can perhaps support you in your next run for another office and all of that becomes a serious issue. You don’t have the longtime relationships you used to.”

The Center for Ethics in Public Life and Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life are part of the newly formed School of Public Policy and Administration at UMSL. The school is also home to UMSL’s Master’s Degree in Public Policy Administration program, Center for Excellence in Financial Counseling, Public Policy Research Center and Des Lee Endowed Professor of Community Collaboration and Public Policy Administration.

Visit the UMSL website for more information about School of Public Policy and Administration. Visit the St. Louis Public Radio website to listen to the full interview with Siewert and Eveloff.

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