The Case of Good Causes

SFC Malone works with homeless children in the Pittsburgh area, devoting extensive off-duty time to alleviating a developing social problem. Authorities in the city have found that homeless adolescents commit a significant percentage of city crimes. SFC Malones program has made a difference, and as his commander, you have supported his efforts.

Now he has come to you with a request that you approve a function at the Armory--a meeting SFC Malone is calling the UN of Pittsburgh. He has at long last persuaded the leaders of three rival teenage gangs to sit down together at a social function, but he must get you to sign a form declaring the activity is an official military function. Without the signed form, the civilian building supervisor will not allow the activity to proceed.

Your superior is in Europe on vacation and unavailable for advice or approval. You reflect that he has been cracking down on the misuse of government facilities, especially misuses carrying a price tag for the Army. SFC Malones efforts are strictly private and off-duty.

SFC Malone has emphasized that the UN meeting will probably make or break his efforts to straighten out kids in his program. The Armory, he says, is the only neutral ground he can use. He asks you with great intensity, "Will you sign off on this for me, sir? for the kids?"

How would you answer?

[The point of this exercise is to examine the impact of integrity on a decision of this nature. How should we apply the core quality of Candor to this situation? After some discussion, work through the questions on the reverse, having asked each person to record a position first. Try to get members of the group to identify and articulate their reasoning for their responses to the five statements.]