Of course they did.
President Donald Trump’s team rejected a course for senior White House staff, Cabinet nominees and other political appointees that would have provided training on leadership, ethics and management, according to documents obtained by POLITICO….But the contract was never awarded because after the election the transition team shifted its priorities, according to a letter the General Services Administration sent to bidders such as the Partnership for Public Service. The program was expected to cost $1 million, the documents show. The contract-based training program was authorized in 2000, and the Obama and Bush transitions both received the training.
“It has been determined that the requirements as defined in the RFQ do not accurately reflect the current needs of the Presidential Transition Team,” the GSA contracting officer, Matthew Gormley, wrote in the Jan. 10 letter.
1. Welcome to my world. With very, very rare exceptions, most organizations, including the government and all levels of it, still regard ethics training as a luxury, a low-priority, a necessary evil, a waste of time, or all of these.
2. And, to be fair, most ethics trainings, and I am certain this is true of virtually all government ethics training, cover ethics rules and laws, and provide no real training in ethical decision-making and ethical problem solving at all. This means that as far as actually improving the ethics of the staff and management goes, they are a waste of time.
3. If I’m not facilitating them, they are also usually tear-your-eyes-out-of-their-sockets boring.
4. Organizations, especially corporations, usually schedule ethics trainings only after a major ethics breach, scandal or catastrophe. Usually they claim that the new ethics commitment is permanent and will be annual and organization-wide, but management seldom follows through. Tragically, I speak from bitter experience.
5. Ethics training sessions are worthless if the leadership isn’t committed, involved and present. Do you think Bush or Obama attended these sessions for their staffs? Of course they didn’t. Would Trump have attended one? Never.
6. Again to be fair, if the training was going to be the same program the last two administrations got, I agree with the decision to skip them. Neither White House was sufficiently ethical. Whoever trained them should be investigated for training malpractice. The sad truth is that most ethics training companies are hacks, fakers and frauds, using off-the-shelf material and less interested in ethics than in giving the clients boilerplate while their audience day-dreams.
7. For the record, I would do a White House ethics and leadership training for the Trump White House at no charge, and require neither promotion nor publicity. It would be my pleasure and honor, because heaven knows they need it, and the nation needs an executive branch that is as ethical as possible.