Professional public administration in the United States is more than a century old, and over that time it has adapted to new demands, adjusted to new truths (social, economic, organizational, and technological), and absorbed new values. By way of example, turn to the U.S. Constitution and compare the dissonant definitions of what is fair in the Fourteenth Amendment (equal protection clause) and the Sixteenth Amendment (in- come tax). In the former, fair means treating everyone identically, but in the latter, it had come to mean treating people in different circumstances differently.
Today public service is an amalgam of often-discordant values and the action principles they underwrite. All operate at the same time and in tension with one an- other. Because managers—and services and policies—cannot and should not swing like a pendulum from one to the other, managers daily find themselves reconciling the values and balancing the claims.
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Mapping Ethical Obligations
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