Stewardship refers to management processes used to safeguard individual or organizational interests. Therefore, public stewardship is managing public resources by state organs to ensure subtle investments and supervisory procedures. The concept of public stewardship began in Europe during the 15th century. Consequently, when government leaders and employees used it to propel the management of public funds (Public Stewardship).
In such cases, governments and Federal systems play managerial roles as sole protectors of public properties. Hence, ensuring accountability and appropriate use of public funds. While budgeting entails paramount accountability, it is necessary to expound on the significance of public stewardship in budgeting. In additions, ethical requirements, and consequences related to recent current events.
Need and Importance of Public Stewardship in Budgeting
Federal systems ensure budgeting outcomes correlate with financial resources invested in project activities. It indicates that public stewardship is crucial, especially for managers who have to be accountable for every action and decision made on behalf of their organizations (Simpkins et al., 2021). Managers who supervise public resources recklessly find themselves at a crossroads with top-level management because they do not focus on important aspects of stewardship.
Budgeting processes need supervision such that companies awarded tenders perform according to expectations. For example, Upon awarding a company a contract to repair water leakages, making budgetary allocations remains essential based on the best work for the best price. As a result, officials ought to thoroughly oversight the company’s operations. Consequently, to ensure utmost efficiency to avert non-compliance with requirements and completion of the scope of work. This case scenario provides a subtle example of the significance of public stewardship. Moreover, in promoting accountability and utilization of available financial resources.
Ethical Requirements for Leaders
Public stewardship in budgeting remains critical because the personnel involved ought to maintain the highest levels of ethics. State agencies and big corporations recruit individuals based on standards of professional conduct and values exhibited by prospective employees (Simpkins et al., 2021). Some of the values often considered includes; reciprocity, reporting, responsibility, and nurturing, as they are definitive of public stewardship provisions.
Taxpayers always need assurance from governments that public resources remains utilized efficiently and none misappropriated. Public stewards play their roles by availing plans on the intended use of available resources, and new emerging information communicated to stakeholders. Likewise, responsibility is an attribute that stewards should exhibit and demonstrate when managing resources at their disposal (Public Stewardship).
This remains achievable through ardent communication and understanding of stakeholder expectations and involvement. Lastly, nurturing applies to relationship-building between stakeholders and government entities responsible for managing public resources. Therefore, these requirements illustrate the essence of considering ethical provisions during recruitment.
Consequences of Unethical or Poor Public Stewardship
In some cases, public stewards are unethical and contribute to poor stewardship. Stewards should exhibit attributes of accountability, honesty, equality, and no conflicting interests. Budgetary issues essentially constitute conflicting interests between public stewards and companies awarded contracts; it occurs when officials award contracts to particular companies to benefit from them (Simpkins et al., 2021).
Another ethical concern is accountability, where all budgets are thoroughly vetted. Honesty in budgeting is the most vital element as it represents transparency in budget provisions and requirements. Equality stipulates a situation where all stakeholders and their needs remains addressed adequately without bias.
On the other hand, poor stewardship informs the lack of trust in government agencies responsible for supervising and managing public funds. Resultant consequences of poor stewardship include the public being reluctant to repay taxes while others evade remitting their taxes because the government cannot account for available resources. As a result, it becomes difficult for the government to fund its projects, pay public servants, and address pertinent issues such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2020, the effects of government policy inefficiency and the COVID-19 pandemic began to take a toll on American citizens. The US government is responsible for ensuring its citizens are safe and sound while demonstrating good stewardship of taxpayer dollars. Over the years, especially during the Trump administration, millions of Americans have experienced a deep recession wreck and concurrent public health crisis despite remitting taxes to fund the government (Green & Weller, 2021).
Budgets reflect the ethical characteristics of leaders. In 2017, the administration sidelined issues of slow productivity growth and vast economic inequality and instead initiated huge tax cuts through Congress, Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Surprisingly, this move was meant to cover high costs and spending and, at the same time, favored large corporations and the wealthy.
Public stewardship is characterized by the proper management of public funds. It is essential as it reflects how the funds are utilized for the benefit of all stakeholders and at the same time ensure transparency. Leaders, being public stewards, are required to possess qualities of reciprocity, reporting, responsibility, and relationship nurturing as they denote ethical standards required of them (Public Stewardship).
To prevent unethical and poor stewardship, leaders should demonstrate high levels of accountability, honesty, equality, and no conflicting interests with other companies seeking Federal contracts. Finally, poor stewardship results in tax evasion and non-compliance with payment requirements. Therefore, public stewardship should benefit all stakeholders who contribute public funds.
Green, A., & Weller, C. (2021). Economic Stewardship in Times of Crisis – Center for American Progress. Center for American Progress. Retrieved 22 April 2021, from https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/reports/2020/11/02/492703/economic-stewardship-times-crisis/.
Simpkins, L., Beaudry, M., & Lemyre, L. (2021). Can we better define stewardship for public sector executives? A research agenda. Canadian Public Administration, 64(1), 143-159. doi.org/10.1111/capa.12403