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DoN names ethics attorney of the year

17 Jun 2010 | Pamela Jackson

The associate counsel, Office of the General Counsel, Marine Corps Logistics Command, was awarded the Navy Office of General Counsel Ethics Attorney of the Year Award during their annual conference held in Washington, D.C., May 26.

Warner Meadows was chosen from a group of more than 600 attorneys who work for the DONGC office.

“I was surprised when my name was called at the end of the last plenary session. I knew I had been nominated, but didn’t think I had won because I was not told in advance. It was a very nice surprise,” Meadows said. “It is nice to have your work validated because ethics is important, but misunderstood, and is often viewed incorrectly as people standing in the way of getting the mission accomplished.”

Meadows said it is important that everyone understands that ethics is a mission multiplier. It is a way to be successful in your mission and do it correctly.

“When I came here, I saw a motivated workforce that wanted to do their jobs well and the right way. I also saw a need to have a robust training program to teach people what the rules are so they are clear when they make decisions, and at least know that if they do break a rule, what that rule is. The ethics rules are not always something we think about, such as the 20-dollar gift rule, giving gifts to other government employees, using our computers and telephones for personal use,” he said. “The ethics rules make sense when you look at them, but we cannot assume employees know what they are.”

All Navy Message 013/07, Expectation of Ethical Conduct, reads: All personnel must adhere to the highest standards of integrity and ethical conduct because ethical behavior is rooted in the DoN’s core values. The Navy Code of Ethics implemented 14 principles of ethical conduct and guidance is offered by the Office of General Counsel here at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.

Meadows was nominated by David Rowland, counsel, Office of the General Counsel, LOGCOM.

“One of Meadows’ primary duties is to provide ethics advice to LOGCOM officials and his efforts in this area were rewarded in his being named the LOGCOM 2009 Employee of the Year, a first for the Office of Counsel. In the past year, he has taken the Ethics Law Program to new heights of excellence,” Rowland said. “He has become the “go to guy” for ethics law advice and has provided in excess of 500 legal reviews to LOGCOM since Oct. 1, 2008.”

Rowland said in his nomination that Meadows regularly sends out ethics information to senior leaders for them to share with their workforce. He has also created several ethics guides for LOGCOM employees and posted them on the intranet site and gives briefings at LOGCOM’s new employee orientation and LOGCOM Academy.

“Meadows answered the command’s need for ethics training classes by creating “tailored” classes to various departments,” Rowland said. “Although we have successfully divided the ethics requirements for the two major commands, he remains a vital part of the program for the base. The outcome of these massive efforts has resulted in hundreds of LOGCOM and MCLB Albany employees being trained at virtually no cost.”

Meadows stressed the need for employees to know that these kinds of rules are out there and everyone should think about them as they plan their day or a special project in advance.

"It is important to get our office involved from the beginning because it is much easier to give guidance on how to do certain things and in most cases, we can get to yes, but it is much harder when you have already done something incorrectly and we have to help fix it,” he said. “We can provide training to an entire organization, senior leadership or supervisors.”

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany