Professional Local Government Management Association Censures and Bars City Manager for Ethics Violation

Former member violated ICMA Code of Ethics by exploring candidacy for elected office.

ARTICLE | Jul 5, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC – Jack Schnirman, city manager, Long Beach, New York, was publicly censured by the Executive Board of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) at their June 10, 2017 meeting. The Executive Board also permanently barred Mr. Schnirman from future membership in ICMA. The Executive Board found that Mr. Schnirman’s conduct violated Tenet 7 of the ICMA Code of Ethics.

While serving as the city manager, Mr. Schnirman established a committee to explore the possibility of running for elected office in Nassau County, home to Long Beach. Via a committee called “Nassau Forward”, Mr. Schnirman raised funds and created a very visible social media presence. This conduct constitutes a violation of Tenet 7 of the ICMA Code of Ethics.

In reviewing the case, the ICMA Committee on Professional Conduct (CPC) concluded that Mr. Schnirman also leveraged his position and office with the City for the benefit of his political aspirations. The CPC cited two specific examples. An invitation to a January 10th Nassau Forward event listed Mr. Schnirman’s position as city manager and referenced his accomplishments during his tenure with Long Beach. In an interview with the local media, described as being held in his City office, Mr. Schnirman talked about his successes as city manager and his interest in running for elected office. Mr. Schnirman is now a candidate for Nassau County Comptroller.

ICMA and its members have a longstanding commitment to political neutrality. Members working for a local government are required to abstain from engaging in any activity related to electing candidates for any public office. They shall not endorse candidates seeking or holding elected office; provide financial contributions; accept appointment to elected office; or run for elected office. By remaining politically neutral, ICMA members can best serve the entire governing body and maintain the public’s trust as objective sources of information, guidance, and providers of public resources in an equitable manner.

The ICMA Code of Ethics states:

Tenet 7. Refrain from all political activities which undermine public confidence in professional administrators. Refrain from participation in the election of the members of the employing legislative body.

Guideline on Running for Office
Members shall not run for elected office or become involved in political activities related to running for elected office, or accept appointment to an elected office. They shall not seek political endorsements, financial contributions or engage in other campaign activities.

About ICMA
ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, advances professional local government worldwide through leadership, management, innovation, and ethics. ICMA is second only to the federal government in the collection, analysis, and dissemination of data focused on issues related to local government management. Through expansive partnerships with local governments, federal agencies, nonprofits, and philanthropic funders, the organization gathers information on topics such as sustainability, health care, aging communities, economic development, homeland security, alternative service delivery, as well as performance measurement and management data on a variety of local government services—all of which support related training, education, and technical assistance.

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