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A Matter of Choice is a must-read for council members and senior municipal staff. It contains case studies and training resources that will improve your team's management and ethical decision making skills.

About the Book

"Integrity, accountability and transparency are pillars of public trust. When any of these crack or chip away, the result is broken democracy."

A Matter of Choice is about ethics in municipal decision-making. It is intended primarily for those who serve on municipal councils and for senior employees of the municipal public service. Educators and others interested in decision-making at the local level will also find the content of value.

The chief goal is to encourage thoughtful self-analysis and discussion about values which are fundamental to democracy. A secondary goal is to provide a selection of practical resources that will assist the process of decision-making.

At the core of his book are 21 brief, introspective case studies. Each case study challenges readers to face themselves and to consider how they would respond if placed in a situation like the one described.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  • Democracy at the Core
  • Municipal Corruption
  • Ethical Decision-Making
  • Under the Magnifying Glass
  1. Introspective Case Studies
  • Case Study 1 - Mr. Clean
  • Case Study 2 - Back to School Daze
  • Case Study 3 - Wet Blanket
  • Case Study 4 - Friends with Benefits
  • Case Study 5 - Family Affair
  • Case Study 6 - Follow Suit
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  • Case Study 7 - Back Scratch Fever
  • Case Study 8 - Neighbourhood Watch
  • Case Study 9 - Loose Lips
  • Case Study 10 - Colours of the Rainbow
  • Case Study 11 - Pants on Fire
  • Case Study 12 - Delusions of Grandeur
  • Case Study 13 - Too Many Chiefs
  • Case Study 14 - At All Costs
  • Case Study 15 - All for Show
  • Case Study 16 - Fifty Shades of Gray
  • Case Study 17 - Sleeping Dogs
  • Case Study 18 - Too Big for Britches
  • Case Study 19 - Back Against the Wall
  • Case Study 20 - Hot Seat
  • Case Study 21 - Playing Dirty
  1. From Don's Toolbox
  • Program Funding Questions
  • Post-Election Orientation
  • Chief Administrative Officer Evaluation
  • Policy Development
  • Meeting Conduct Guidelines
  • Code of Conduct Guidelines
  • Tips for Effective Leadership
  • Tips for Managing Difficult People
  1. Conclusion


"Got your book. Think it’s great. Well done!"

Sherri Walsh LL.B., B.A.
Integrity Commissioner
City of Winnipeg

"I can see these cases being used for training purposes for new and even experienced Councillors. Also, online academic courses (can) be based on these cases."

David Gingras
Analyst and Lead Product Developer
Municipal Intelligence Centre

"The case studies are very practical ... the collection represents good training material. All Councillors, new and returning, should have a copy of A Matter of Choice."

Don Fitzgerald
Executive Director
Province of New Brunswick

"I have read A Matter of Choice and am promoting it to others! Any new Councillor or mayor can benefit from having this publication."

Ivan Gallant
Councillor and Former Mayor
Town of Kensington

"... a renewed emphasis on the need for meaningful discussion around ethical governance ... A Matter of Choice - contributes to this important dialogue."

Andrea Jeffs
Finance Officer/Event Coordinator
Association of Municipal Administrators

"I really enjoyed your book on ethics ... it will serve as my go-to reference ... will require focused attention by municipal administrators in the years ahead."

Rob Philpott
Chief Financial Officer
City of Summerside

Explore the ethical challenges that present themselves everyday within municipal governments.