Symposium explores lessons learned from “Breaches of Trust” in business, government
May 9, 2013
PORTLAND, Maine – From embezzlement by small town Little League treasurers to fraud and corruption within some of its largest financial institutions, America has witnessed stunning breaches of trust in the past several years.
The fifth annual Governance & Ethics Symposium, hosted by the University of Maine School of Law, asked a key question: Are we learning yet? The symposium took place on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 in the Moot Court Room at the University of Maine School of Law.
This year’s topic was “Governance, Ethics and Accountability in the Public and Private Sectors: Lessons Learned, Not Learned and Still to be Learned.” Panelists examined what Maine, as well as the rest of the country, has learned or failed to learn from well publicized failures of ethics and accountability within government, the financial and business sectors, and nonprofit organizations.
Panelists included Dan Wathen, of counsel to the law firm of Pierce Atwood, board chairman for the Maine Turnpike Authority, and former Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court; Janet Mills, Maine Attorney General; William Schneider, deputy director of Maine’s Office of Policy and Management, and past state Attorney General; and Jennifer Miller, a lawyer and Executive Vice President of Sappi Fine Papers of America.
The panelists discussed the recent case of Paul Violette, former director of the Maine Turnpike Authority, who is serving a three-and-a-half year prison sentence for stealing or misappropriating more than $400,000 in agency funds. Other highly visible situations including the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State, allegations of bribery and unsafe subcontractor practices at Walmart, continuing bank scandals and an epidemic of embezzlement and financial failures throughout society were also discussed.
The annual Governance & Ethics Symposium series was established in 2009 by the University of Maine School of Law. Co-chairs are Dean Peter Pitegoff of the Law School; Dan Boxer, adjunct professor of Governance & Business Ethics and former Chief Administrative Officer of Fairchild Semiconductor; and Tom Dunne, retired partner with Accenture.