- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 19, 2004

Patricia J. Harned has become president of the Ethics Resource Center, leading the Washington nonprofit organization that researches behavior for the workplace and schools.

Ms. Harned, 38, has been acting president for the organization for the past six months. She was appointed to the role from vice president when Stuart Gillman retired as president in 2003.

The center, with a 17-member staff, receives most of its funding from research grants, donations and fees paid for its services. It provides consulting, training presentations and program assessments on ethics programs to businesses and government agencies.

Ms. Harned said she has worked to turn around the center’s “lean revenue stream,” on which she would not give exact numbers, into a $2.5 million annual budget for the year.

Part of that process included cutting projects that were not cost-efficient and moving the center’s focus away from consultations to help clientsestablish ethics codes, said Ms. Harned, who joined the organization in 1999.

Although the resource center still does consulting work, Ms. Harned said, she is more prominently promoting the center’s business ethics survey program, which monitors the success and participation among employees following company rules.

“There are a lot of consultants entering into the ethics field with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act,” Ms. Harned said.

The 2002 corporate reform law requires more oversight and accountability for corporate disclosures and financial reporting. The law also produced new ethics guidelines from the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

“I had to take a hard look at our value in the marketplace, and found our strength to be in our survey program,” she said.

Ms. Harned plans to enhance the feedback program, which entails surveys, interviews and peer groups, by introducing a national survey sometime next year.

“A lot of companies in today’s environment must demonstrate if their ethics programs are having an impact,” she said.

Stephen Potts, chairman of the center’s board of directors, said Ms. Harned’s actions while serving as the interim president helped move the group away from “serious revenue problems,” and focused the organization’s resources in a stronger direction.

“She has really proven herself. Patricia made some reforms and changes that were long overdue and have put us on a much sounder financial footing,” Mr. Potts said.

Ms. Harned lives in Vienna, Va.

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